Tuesday, April 25, 2017

5 Critical Tips for Studying Abroad

My junior year in college is almost over. I had lots of big positive changes that improved my studying abroad experience. I would like to share 5 tips that were critical in my American college life.

1. Professors are always there for you.

Going to college abroad is very scary because you have to take classes in your second or third language and you are away from your home. What if I don't understand what professor is saying? What if I don't hear of an assignment? What if there is a group project? Don't worry. Professors love getting questions and would like to help you. I have never seen any professor who was not willing to help international student. Too worried about taking a class in English? Ask your professor if it's okay to record the lecture, or at least let your professor know you are an international student who will  need lots of help. (But make sure you read the syllabus thoroughly before ask!)

2. Make local friends

This will help you improving your language the most. Once you make local friends, you will speak mostly English throughout the day and learn what Americans say in real life unlike textbook. The more you speak English, the more you get used to listening and speaking it. Then, it will eventually become your language. You will start think and dream in English. In addition to that, making local friends means you are having YOUR people around you.

3. Don't be shy/afraid

This is Asian's endemic problem. I struggled with this so much. Until my sophomore year, I never said a word in class. Nobody cared if I was in class with them. Even one of my professors pronounced my name wrong for the whole semester. I was just a extremely shy, typical Asian girl who looks like she doesn't speak English at all. I tried not to be shy so many times but what do I do? That's how I grew up. So I decided to USE my shyness. I was always the only Asian girl in my classes, and realized that shy Asian girl is my positioning. To build that image, I had to talk and get involved more. But I showed people my shyness. Eventually, people came and talk to me first and became interested in me and my culture. Indeed, people has become more generous and nicer to my mistakes! So if shyness is your weakness, turn it into your uniqueness.

4. Fabulous 4

Studying abroad is a hard experience both physically and mentally. Homesickness and loneliness will continuously make you depressed. You won't be eating well like when you had your home food. Whole new different environment your keep making you sick. Here's what I did called "Fabulous 4."

- Sleep 8 hours
- Eat nutritious food
- Exercise at least 30 minutes
- Meaningful interaction with others

It looks pretty simple but actually really hard to do it everyday. Since you are studying in foreign language, you need to study harder than others so always running out of time. Of course, it's hard to make time for sleep, exercise or interaction with others. Moreover, there are so many junk food in America.

5. Always ask ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑

It's very hard to understand what people say when you are a newbie here. People talk too fast and use lots of slang. Asians, especially, tend to act like they understood even if they didn't. This is the BIGGEST mistake in studying abroad. I know it's embarrassing to ask people what they are saying. But please please make sure ask again or ask them to slow down. Otherwise, you will never learn that expression until you ask. Most people will say it again or even explain what they said unless they are in hurry.

Monday, April 24, 2017

No Rice, No Life

I'm Asian, and I need to have rice for every meal. If you didn't have rice, you can't say you had a meal. Am I not sick of rice? No, NEVER. Rice is must have dish for our meal.

In Korean, meal and cooked rice are a same word. There is also a proverb in Korean saying Korean's energy comes from rice. It means Koreans can study, work or survive only if we had rice.

When I first came to the U.S., the struggle was real. I thought I will never miss Korean food because I  loved Western foods like pasta, burger and pizza. 2 months later, I found myself googling how to cook rice in a microwave.

A year later, I finally bought a rice cooker at Target.

It was okay but totally different from Korean rice cooker. In Korea, rice cooker is not only to cook rice but to keep rice for 3-4 days. The one I bought has keeping warm function but does not work very well. When I first used it, I cooked rice and left it overnight (I did not unplug it). It was rock hard the next day so I had to threw it away.

This is what my Japanese roommate and I came up with. Freeze 'em! All I have to do is to microwave it for 2 mins. One day, my roommate and I were saying that if there is no rice in our freezer that will be the end of the world! Don't worry. It will never happen.



Sunday, April 23, 2017

I'm 24 but also 26(?)

Wait, what?

Yes, I have KOREAN AGE.

When I say that, NOBODY understands. Or if I calculate my age when I'm asked, they also get confused and ask me if I don't know my age.

Here's how Korean age works.

First of all, everyone is one year old the day they are born. Some people say we count fetus as life but I personally think this is not the reason. Secondly, everyone adds one year to their ages on "New Year's Day" altogether.

Then, 90% of Americans ask me "What? So everyone has same birthday?"

No, no, no.

Everyone has their own birthday, and we do celebrate our own birthday. But birthday is only when your International age gets a year older, which is not very important in Korean culture.

I know some of you are still confused. So here's my example:

I was born in 1992. The day I was born, I was one. After then, we counts only birth year. Therefore, I was two in 1993 and three in 1994.

Funny thing is a baby who is born in 31st of December will turn two the next day. This baby is actually two days old but two years old in Korean age. Because of this, Koreans use international for baby until about 36 months.

Koreans uses both Korean age and international age. Korean age is used for mostly social life. Drinking and smoking ages use Korean age, and introducing yourself to somebody. However, most of legal ages are International age. This is also confusing to Koreans so some people insist that we need to stop using Korean age.

Age is probably the most important thing in Korean culture. The word 'friend' applies only in same birth years. I can be a friend with some who was born in different year but I don't call them as my friend.

I just noticed that age in Korean culture is way more complicated than I thought.

So, If you are Korean, already be ready to explain this complication in 3-4 sentences. If you are American, I recommend you to research more about it. Or Studying in Korea as an exchange student is a great way to understand this weird age reckoning system.



Friday, April 21, 2017

Mother Nature Must Be Very Upset with Oklahoma!

The weather has been crazy this week! It reminded me again that I'm in Oklahoma. Living in Oklahoma for more than three years, I can tell you Oklahoma has the craziest weather in the world.

I'm from a city that has clear 4 seasons with smooth transitions between seasons. Yesterday's weather and today's weather are not that much different. Tomorrow will be pretty much same there. 

But not in Oklahoma!

When you feel like spring and fall has begun in Oklahoma, it ends in 2 weeks. Then, you will experience extremely hot in summer and extremely cold in winter. When the temperature hit 105 degree in the summer, I thought my weather app wasn't working properly. Last winter, it was 68 degree one day, and then all of sudden it went down to negative and snowed the next day. 


And My goodness! What the heck is thunderstorm? When it's so sunny out there that you can't even imagine it will rain later, it rains. I mean, it pours. Then, all of sudden, it gets sunny again just like nothing happened. 

This is obviously something I've never experienced before I came to Oklahoma. I'm from a city where the weather doesn't change dramatically. I've also traveled many different places, but there were no place with crazy weather like Oklahoma.

If you are studying abroad in Oklahoma, be aware of that!



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Everyone Loves Present-tations!

UCO American Advertising Federation Competition Team won the 1st place for National Student Advertising Competition District 10 last Friday! And I was part of the team!

As an international student, it was a great experience I can never forget.

Since I don't work, I had more time than others. So I always asked the executives if there is anything else I can do. I think that really impressed the executives and the professor.

Here's how I joined the team and what I did.

The advisor professor was looking for a graphic designer last semester, and I feel confident with graphic design. So I joined AAF team this semester.

I thought I would definitely be in the creative team and working on graphic. However, I ended up being in the research team. I was very confused at first. Research needs lots of writing which I don't feel confident at all. I even asked the execs why I was in research team.

They said they found really good insights in me based on my secondary research. Plus, they thought I would be a why person who always asks why we are doing this, why we need to focus on this, etc.

After research, I thought I could finally work in creative team. Guess what? I was in WRITING TEAM. I was like "Are you kidding me? I'm not even a native speaker!"

So I asked them again. Why the heck am I in writing team now?

It was not like I was upset because I wanted to do graphic design. It was because I was afraid of writing and editing. I didn't want to be useless in the team.

However, the execs and the professor said I really am good at writing because I learned English properly. I don't use any slang. I barely have grammar errors or typos.

So I usually helped with proofreading. If a sentence is hard for me, it meant the sentence needs to be more concise.


I think the Korean culture in me helped a lot this time. I always tried to work extras and be committed.

Also, I learned that I am good at research and writing other than just graphics. I've always wanted to get a job related to graphics because I thought nobody will hire me for something else. It was a really good opportunity to find my talent.

Lastly, I learned how the real industry works. As an international student who hasn't had any internship yet, this was a perfect experience!

If you are an international student, join any kinds of competition team related to your future career. Even if you are not good at it, just go for it and try your best. I guarantee you will learn so many things that you can never learn from regular classes.



Monday, April 3, 2017

Yo-li con Yoni

Due to my major and studying in America, I get lots of interesting assignment.

For one of my classes, Digital and Social Communication, I had to creat a 'how to' video. So my friend, Manny and I teamed up and decided to do a cooking video.

Manny is hispanic, and I'm Korean. We came up with an idea of Mexican and Korean fusion recipe for the video. It was a Mexican burrito with one of Korean foods, Bulgogi (Grilled, thin, marinated beef).

Yo-li con Yoni!
(FYI, yo-li means cook in Korean, and con means with in Spanish.)

Being an international student turned out to be an advantage this time. We could have created a generic recipe video. Thanks to our diverse cultural backgrounds, we were able to create such a unique recipe video.

Shoutout to my partner, Manny Arias!



Thursday, March 23, 2017

Culture Shock Is Real

I got used to most of American cultures so far, but I still remember when I first came here.

I thought I was already Americanized before I came here. However, I was shocked so many times. Culture shock was REAL.

Everyone has a car
America is a huge huge country. Even Oklahoma is bigger than South Korea, so everything is so far away. Besides, since everyone has a car in Oklahoma, public transportation system is not really developed... Because of that, everyone get a car. It's like a cycle. As an international student from a such a tiny country, this was the hardest thing for my first 2 years before I got a car.

No umbrella
When it rains in Korea, EVERYONE uses umbrella. We don't like to get wet. But Americans seem like they don't care. Since almost  everyone has car, they only have to walk in the rain to the parking lot. I assume that might be the reason why they don't use umbrella.

Legal ages
- In America : 16 driving / 18 cigarette / 21 drinking
- In Korea: 18 for Everything. Glad that I came here when I was 21!

Small talk

This is my favorite American culture! On my third day here, I was on the line at Starbucks. It was a long line. Then, all of sudden, a lady behind me said "It's so nice out there, isn't it?" I was like "Is this person talking to me? Why?" Eventually, we had a small talk and found out that she adopted a kid from Korea. It was great! People were generally nice and friendly to everyone, but, in Korea, nobody talks to strangers. If a stranger talks to me in Korea, I would definitely think that person is a weirdo unless that person was asking the direction.

Price not including taxes
Price on menu or price tag is not your final price. In Korea, there is only final price on menu or price tag. So you know what you are paying at the end.

While we don't tip in Korea, American does. Servers here get paid less than minimum wage and mostly make money out of tips. I used to think tipping was a waste of money since employers pay enough to server in Korea, which already includes tips.

Wearing shoes in a house, sometimes even on the bed!

This was the most shocking thing when I first came to America. Since Korean takes off shoes in a house, there is less dirt on the floor (we still wipe the floor pretty often). Shoes are covered with lots of dirt and germs, and some Americans just get on the bed with those dirty shoes! I was literally shocked. Here's the second shock. they walked around in the house with barefoot. Their feet were turning black. In Korea, the place you wear shoes and the place you take off shoes are completely separate. I still haven't got used to this culture and will never get used to this.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

If I can blog, you can blog, too!

Majority of blogs in Korea are about bloggers daily life, reviews of products, or recipes. I did not know that there were so many different kinds of blogs around the world. While I'm blogging, I learned that anything can be blogged. 

At the beginning of my blog, I only thought of some obvious topics about studying abroad like homesickness and the reason why I came here. It turns out that my everyday life can be topics. When it was a holiday back home, I immediately decided to write about it. When I was going through the worst hay fever in my life, I thought that was a unique (but not joyful) experience that I could write on my blog. Then, I started to think about my audience and how to make my blog more interesting to them.

Blogging is very important to my major. I'll be writing a lot like this in my future career. Especially for social media and blog. 

Since I am an international student, I need an extra effort on writing. Besides, I never wrote anything before because there is no writing class or assignment in Korea. Blogging has made me write regularly and finally I feel comfortable with it. I used to be panicked every time I got a writing assignment. But not anymore!

The most important thing I've learned from blogging is being a reader-friendly blog. If your post has big chunks of paragraphs, long sentences or no visual, people won't read your blog no matter how good the topic is.

I even blog in second language.

If I can blog, you can blog, too!



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Blogger or Beggar?

Blogging often seems cool because many blogs make and save lots of money. Famous bloggers get lots of free stuff from various businesses and write reviews of the sponsored products. However, some bloggers abuse their power as bloggers. It has become a big issue in Korea, and lots of Koreans no longer believe in bloggers.

Koreans made a word ‘blogger-ji’ which is a new compound word made up of blogger and geoji (beggar in Korean). Blogger-jis are well-known for getting freebies from cafés, restaurants and other businesses by offering favorable reviews on their blogs or even by threatening to write negative reviews.

Due to this selfishness of some bloggers, there have been already several libel suits between bloggers and businesses in Korea.

According to Hong Seok-chun, a TV personality who owns numerous restaurants in Itaewon, central Seoul, some bloggers asked him for money for writing favorable reviews but he turned them down. Then they began to write scathing reviews of my restaurants. His restaurants are already popular so he did not have to spend money on more advertising. That’s why he nicely refused the offer.

Blogger-ji also refers to bloggers who are paid for reviews. Since bloggers can make money out of their own blog, some blogs are going to a wrong direction. For example, Korean blogs have lots of advertising which look like bloggers’ own posts. Because of this, it has become difficult for readers to find reliable information, and bloggers are losing credibility. Even famous American blogs have so many banner ads that I get lost from the first page of their blogs and feel like I am not on a trustworthy blog.

It is nice to make money by posting something truly beneficial to readers, and it is a big temptation. However, reckless advertisement will eventually destroy the relationship between bloggers and subscribers.

In my opinion, every blog should be honest to the bloggers themselves first. If it is dishonest to themselves, those blogs already lost the reason why they exist. 



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tips for Getting Ready to Go Home

So... I just booked the flight to Korea for this summer! Yay!

It has been 2 years since the last time I went to Korea. I already have a list of famous restaurants to go, what to wear at the airport and surprise plan for my dad (he thinks I arrive later than May 8th).

Booking a flight ticket is very exciting but stressful at the same time. 

Most international students go to their home countries during summer break because that's the longest break they can be with their family. Since most of students fly out in May, the price goes up ridiculously. Besides, there are so many things to take care of before you leave.

I would like to share my tips!

Before booking flights

  • Check out Studentuniverse.com - This website offer flexible date choice.
  • Use all the booking websites to find the cheapest one.
  • Keep checking the price ahead of time - Patience is the key.
  • Fly between Sunday and Wednesday - I recommend Tuesday!
  • Book the flight around 60 days before you leave.

After booking flights

  • Make sure you got all the paper works done - Get your I-20 signed.
  • Choose your seats ASAP - Personally, this is the most important part. Go to your airline's website and see details of your trip.
  • Make a list of what to pack and what to leave - You can only take limited amount.
  • Take a look at maps of the airports you will go - For the next flight, foods, rest areas and shopping.
  • Souvenirs for family and friends - I usually buy something I can't buy or expensive in my country.

When you fly

  • Get a comfortable outfit - NO FLIP-FLOPS! It's comfy at first, but hurts later.
  • Take lotion with you - It gets very dry on airplane.
  • No make-up needed - You are not a celebrity. Don't worry.
  • Don't forget mileage when you check in.

Since I always sleep on the flight and never go to restroom, I want only window seats so that I can lean on the wall. The very first thing I do after booking flights is choosing my seats on the airline website.

I don't know how many of you are aware of this, but I have never seen anyone doing this yet.

Especially international flights take long time. So your trip depends on where you sit. Also, if you have a friend flying with you, you can easily choose your seats next to each other without calling customer center.

I hope this help your trip!



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I'm becoming a 'ZERO-lingual'!

Guys, it's official. I have decided to have a Korean version of this blog so that I can share my stories with my family and friends back in Korea.

I've been working on translating my first post into Korean for THREE days. And I am so panicked right now because I am forgetting Korean faster than I thought!

I thought it would take more than 10 years to forget Korean, and I've been here only about 3 years.

What happened was, when I was translating, I couldn't remember some words, spacing rules and how to use comma in Korean.

Korean has different spacing rule that some words have to stick together and some words have to have space in between. I don't remember most of the spacing rules now so all of my sentences look weird.

Also, since I am so used to use commas in English, I kept trying to put commas in Korean sentences. Then, it also looked weird for some reason. So I looked up how to use comma in Korean. It turns out that we have different rules for that.

However, it doesn't mean that I speak English better than Korean.

I usually speak English more than Korean. But it's not like my English improves so much that I become a perfect bilingual. My English is a little bit better, but my Korean got way worse. Then, I'm in the 'zero-lingual' stage.

I'm sure that I'll become a true bilingual after this stage, but I'm still worried. My Korean is getting worse, but my English has still a long way to go. 

I think blogging in both languages will be very helpful so I'll keep working on it.

Stay tuned! My new Korean blog is on the way!



Wednesday, February 22, 2017

That's Nothing to Sneeze at


If you just came to US, you will notice that you've been sneezing more than ever before. Especially if you are in Oklahoma, don't get me started.

I used to think I got sick a lot in-between seasons because of diurnal temperature range. However, I realized it wasn't really bad after going through Oklahoma's crazy weather.

Plus, carpet and heater. Those don't help me at all. They are so dry and dusty. It totally makes sense that my immune system has been messed up.
*FYI, Korea's underfloor heating is the best heating system in the world. If you are reading this, you should seriously research about it.

I've been allergic to dust and pollen since I was little, but it happen only for a couple weeks. Now, I just live with hay fever every day.

When I went to Korea two summers ago, I barely sneezed and never got congested. My friend, Kalen told me that she didn't have hay fever when she went to California.

Thank you, Oklahoma!

Since I never had or heard of this in Korea, I always thought I caught a cold. Symptoms are very similar so I kept taking flu medicines. Didn't work.

What on Earth Is Hay Fever?

Hay Fever is an allergy caused by pollen or dust in which the mucous membranes of the eyes and nose are itchy and inflamed, causing a runny nose and watery eyes.
*For Koreans, the translation for hay fever is 건초열, but if you search allergic rhinitis (알레르기성 비염), you will find the right information for it.

2 years ago, a Korean lady I know told me that I was having allergy. I was confused. I only knew food allergy, drug allergy and animal allergy.

Then, she said it's a hay fever and I can never get away with it unless I move to other states or countries.

So I started taking allergy medicines and vitamin C, and eating local honey, ginger, turmeric and lemon. I have tried everything that increases my immunity. Unfortunately, nothing has worked yet.

Symptoms of Seasonal Allergy

  • itchy and watery eyes
  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • itching of the nose or throat

Now I'm going through the worst hay fever in my life, and I'm telling you. It stinks.



Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Are You from North or South?

Click image for original size

My phone has been full of notifications about North Korea from AP News, BBC and CNN these couple days. Since North Korea has been a hot topic recently, I would like to talk about North Korea as a South Korean in the U.S.

When I meet new people, they often ask me where I'm from. I just say Korea. Then, the next thing they usually ask is,

"Umm...North or South?"


I either respond like "I'm from South. If I was from North Korean, I couldn't be here lol" or "I'm from North. My last name is Kim, and my uncle is watching you!"

I don't get offended when they ask me like that, but often get upset when I think about it later. I try to think like they were being nice to get to know me. But I feel like they don't care about Korea at all or try to condemn North Korea.

The reason why I don't say I'm from South Korea in the first place is that I believe South and North are one family and will be united soon. 

I do agree that the leader of North Korea is such a horrible person but people there are starving and living without freedom. Some families were divided during the Korean War and never saw each other due to the division of the country. They can't go see their family members or call. They don't even know whether their family members are alive or not. It's a tragedy.

Some people also said North Korea is our main enemy but I would say North Korean "government" is our main enemy. For me, North Korea is like our cousin. Since I know there are lots of people suffering from poverty, dictatorship and violence, I don't feel comfortable with being asked which Korea I'm from.

I would like you guys to listen more about people than government there. Here's a link about North Korean Refugee:




Thursday, February 9, 2017

Living in America Means Jeans That Don't Fit Anymore

Welcome to America, Yoni!

I was so excited to have those kind of foods everyday before I came to America because I loved them in Korea. Burger and steak everyday? It was like heaven! 

But actually every single food I had was very salty, greasy and sweet. It was not what I expected at all. First 2 months when I FaceTimed my friends in Korea, they were always jealous about having western food everyday. I'm telling you. Not good at all.

I was getting used to American saltiness and sweetness. It was too good to resist, and I was definitely getting addicted.

I also wanted to look American so I started wearing leggings and Nike shorts. And they were all small size (they looked medium or larger to me, though) and so comfy that I didn't really noticed that I was gaining a lot of weight.

And then boom, 22 lbs gained in 5 months!

Literally, none of jeans I brought from Korea fitted. I even ripped one of my favorite jeans while I was trying to squeeze them on. Yay...

Then, I bought a car and got an apartment with kitchen. My only walk was from building to car, car to building. Love drive-thru! I cooked anytime I wanted, even at 3 in the morning. Of course, I gained more weight.

Now I put sugar in my tea and pour salt in everything. I have tried so many times to cut sodium and sugar, but always failed.

This is a friendly reminder for new international students. You are probably aware of how salty and sweet American foods are, and it's real. So you better watch out. Otherwise, no more jeans for you!



Friday, February 3, 2017

Oklahoma Is Now My Home

a home away from home
phrase of home
  1. 1
    a place where one is as happy, relaxed, or comfortable as in one's own home.
Translate home away from home to
  1. 1내 집

Google translated 'home away from home' as 'my home (내 집)' in Korean.

Home away from home is not second home to me. It's another home.

I've recently noticed that I call Oklahoma as home quite often. It's been more than three years being away from home. Since I'm trying to get a job in any country outside of Korea, I'm not even sure if I will ever live in Korea again. Some people might say it's been only three years, but I feel more comfortable in American culture, not in Korean culture although I was born and raised in Korea.

I like small talk with cashiers at stores, holding doors for the next person whom I never met before, wearing whatever I want to wear and not wearing makeup every time I get out of my house. Of course, I miss I my people, food and FAST services back in Korea (everything is fast in Korea, such as DMV, customer services, delivery, restaurant, etc.).

But last time I went to Korea, I couldn't really adapt to Korean culture again. I habitually held a door for next person, then I ended up holding the door for like 5-10 minutes because everyone just passed me without saying thank you or holding the door for me. I got very upset and complained why nobody hold the door for each other and don't even thank me. "Wake up. You are not in America now." That's what my mom said. 

And every time I get out of my house just to go to a convenient store, grocery store and bank for less than 30 minutes, I had to put makeup on, or at least wear nice clothes. It was literally so annoying that I couldn't go out with Nike shorts, school T-shirt and flip-flops because it's like home-wear in Korea, and everyone judge each other by how they look.

I had a great time to see my people in Korea, but I culturally struggled so much in Korea. As soon as I came back to Oklahoma, I felt like I came back home. It was weird. Even when I came back to Oklahoma from Scotland trip last summer, I said I'm going home, and that's how I felt.

I'm so grateful that Oklahoma is my home because a lot of international students struggles with homesickness and don't feel like they are home. Without my mom who let me learn English early to feel comfortable with it and all the friends here who told me we are family, I wouldn't be able to feel like Oklahoma is home.
Thank Y'all!



Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Korean New Year's Day!

Happy New Year Y'all! I know, it sounds a little strange to say on January 26th.

January 28th is New Year's Day in Korea, which is 15 hours ahead. Since Korea uses both Gregorian calendar and Lunar calendar, we celebrate both New Year's Day. However, Lunar New Year's Day is more like family gathering and the biggest holiday in Korea. Just like Christmas in America, but Christmas is not a family holiday in Korea.

Since I came to Oklahoma, I've been missing all the family gathering holidays in Korea. While my family is busy with getting ready for big holidays and friends are arranging a reunion during the holiday, I have to go to school and work on projects. I'm telling you. It's not fun at all.

On New Year's Day, we go to either paternal grandparents' house or oldest uncle's house and have ancestral ritual to honor familial ancestors. Then, we have sebae, my favorite! Kids wish their elder relatives, such as parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, a happy new year with a deep bow and saying "receive a lot of luck in the New Year." After then, the elder relatives give them some money.

So, I've gotten nothing since I came here. No sebae money. I used to be the one who got the most money among my friends because I have lots of uncles, aunts, and many of my cousins were already grown up and had a job so they gave me money, too. Thanks to my absence, my sister has been getting all money!

Even worse, when the whole family FaceTime me right before I go to bed. Some people loves FaceTiming with relatives on holidays because they've missed their relatives. Of course, I miss my relatives, but they usually call me right before I go to sleep. It's usually at the end of the day (after surviving one more day in America) so I'm in pajama and look pretty bad and tired. Then, they hand it over each other because everyone says "Let me talk to Yoni!", and I have to say exactly same thing more than 10 times! I'm sorry, guys but I always felt like a monkey in a zoo. So, this year, I told my parents to FaceTime me before they go to family gathering and tell the relatives that I already went to bed. Haha Clever! 

Being far away from family on holidays is one of the few things that I don't like about studying abroad. It's so sad that you miss family gathering, holiday food, traditions and special holiday atmosphere in your own culture. Or being a monkey in a little phone screen!

How I deal with this? I just make some Korean foods and share it with some other friends who miss their family, or binge watching Korean TV shows to make me feel like I'm home. Although I wasn't with my family, I could still make it special in many ways. Don't waste your holiday by just missing them and doing nothing. Try to find out your own way to celebrate your holiday!



Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Getting Out of Comfort Zone

Studying in U.S has always been my dream since I was little. As soon as I read when I was 2 year old, my mom hired an English tutor and let me learn English. She thought I was genius and would go to Harvard! Anyway, I loved English and had a dream living in western country. I begged my parents once in every two years to send me to America or at least the Philippines. They always said we couldn't afford it, though.

Moving 6,725 miles away from home wasn't an easy decision. I never left my country before. When I went to college in Korea, I even chose the one in the city 1 hour away from my home. I didn't like that college from the first day of the school, but I went to the college for 5 semester. Although I knew I didn't like it and was wasting money, I couldn't drop out of college because I was already a junior and afraid to get out of my comfort zone.

Under this circumstance, I suffered from insomnia, depression and alcoholic. I was eventually put under academic probation after the 5th semester in college. I took a year off because I need some time to find myself out. Then, my mom who has no secret told her friend about how I was doing, and her friend suggested letting me go to U.S. for a year. She recommended us Oklahoma. Yes, Oklahoma! I didn't even know what it was. 

I decided to go to America and went to English school in Edmond. Unlike I expected, I graduated English school in 5 months. I thought it was pointless if I go back to Korea after only 5 months, so I came to UCO as a freshman just for a semester to finish a year in America and to see how America teaches Advertising and PR. Guess what? I made straight As in my first semester. Then, I decided to drop out of college in Korea and graduate at UCO. 

Being a freshman again at the age of 21 was pretty scary to me. I wasn't sure if it was smart to drop out of college where I already completed 4 semesters, or if my parents could afford my tuitions for 4 years. But I took a huge step to get out of comfort zone, and here I am. Half way done with my college!

Since I came to America, I have had lots of eye-opening and fascinating experiences that I didn't even expect. I still regret wasting my youth in Korea. It is hard to get out of your comfort zone, but if you are stuck in there, you can never improve yourself.

Get out of your comfort zone and explore! There may be a whole new world waiting for you! YOLO.



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

6,735 Miles Away from Home

My name is Yeonhee Yoo and I go by Yoni because Americans just can't read my name. I am an international student studying Strategic Communications at University of Central Oklahoma in U.S.
My home is 6,735 miles away from UCO.

6,735 miles!

It has been 3 years and 3 months since I came to Oklahoma all by myself. I'm going to blog about what I have gone through and tips for international students.