Hi, I’m pereleal. I started this blog to document my impressions of life in Seoul, where I will be studying Korean in the 2012-2013 academic year thanks to the generosity of the Richard U. Light Fellowship.
Why am I in Korea? The short answer is that my mother is Korean. The long answer is as follows…
Even though I grew up occasionally hearing my mother speak to my aunts in Korean, I never actually learned the language at home – not even words as simple as “Hello.” Eating lots of rice and bulgogi was pretty much the extent of my exposure to Korean culture. For 18 years, I never really thought about trying to change that. But in September 2010, fresh out of high school and into college, I ended up sitting in on a session of Elementary Korean. I joined the class with absolutely no idea how badly I would want to learn Korean (having just spent 6 years studying Mandarin), but the moment we learned 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo, “hello”), I already knew there was no turning back. Things have just spiraled from there, helped along by the addiction to Korean dramas I developed not long afterwards.
I have been to Korea once before, when I studied at the Korean Language Education Center of Ewha Womans University (sic) in summer 2011. I blogged about my experiences there at http://koreafirsthand.blogspot.com. Feel free to check it out if you’re interested.