A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
The Hallym University Summer International Korean Language and Culture Program or H.I.S. for the shortened mouthful version, is a three-week intensive course that takes place in the beautiful northeastern part of the country in the city of Chuncheon (춘천) that is located in a basin formed by the Soyang River and Han River. Hallym University (한림대학교) is a private university located in Chuncheon, Gangwon, Republic of Korea. Hallym University was established in 1982. In 1995 it was designated by the Ministry of Education as one of a handful of universities entitled to receive the financial support of the Ministry for their specialization programs. After that, it continued to be so designated consecutively for five years. In addition, it has acquired the status of "distinguished university," the title granted by the Ministry of Education, three years in a row, and has also been selected for funding by the Brain Korea 21 Project (source: Wikipedia). Since the HIS Program can cost upwards of $2,500 plus, fortunately Eastern Social Welfare Society (ESWS) offers a scholarship available to Korean Adoptees (KADs) that includes all tuition fees, transportation, accommodation, and additional events in Seoul.
• Any Korean adoptee that desires to learn Korean language and culture
• Must be over 18 years old
• Must have minimum of completed high school education with diploma
• Eastern (ESWS) Adoptees will have first priority to be selected and first time applicant as well
*Family members are not allowed to join this program
• HIS Summer Program including Korean Language Class at Hallym University: June 30, 2014 – July 18, 2014
• ESWS Program : June 20 – July 23, 2013
• Arrival date: between June 19 and June 20, 2014
• Departure date: between July 24 and July 25, 2014
Tuition and Scholarships:
ESWS will cover tuition, accommodation and other fees required for activities for each applicant EXCLUDING the round-trip airfare and personal expenses.
• 1 self-introductory essay
• 3 self-photos (size: 4 X 5 cm or passport photo)
• 1 letter of recommendation from the adoption agency
• Copy of either the final Graduation Diploma or Certificate of Student ID
• Copy of passport
*Medical report issued within the past (1) year (including hepatitis & tuberculosis)
While this program was represented by 12 adoptees that received the scholarship through ESWS, the total number of participants was about 40 people that included international students from Japan, China, Malaysia, Austria, two different university groups from the US (Kansas and Taylor University), as well as a handful of Korean students that acted as mentors to smaller groups of us. In the end, I realized that even though this program offered an intensive three-week language course that included three-hour Korean language classes Monday-Friday, I was realistic in my approach and was just hoping to be able to read Korean by the end of the program, especially after taking private Spanish lessons that consisted of 4-5 hours per day Monday-Friday in San Pedro La Laguna, Guatemala back in April 2012 and it still took some time to get my Spanish to a conversational level. There is a reason Korean is listed in the top 10 most difficult languages to learn as a native English speaker.
My inability to be more self-disciplined to keep up with my blogging is a continual challenge as I’m sure you can imagine. That’s why I’m writing this entry almost six months later, YIKES! My apologies in trying to maintain a travel blog after close to three-years of traveling, but it is dedication that I often neglect with much ease in order to live in the moment. I’ve decided in order to try and catch myself up to the current point in my life, I’ve decided that often a story can best be told in a series of photos and that’s what I’ve chosen to do in remembering this great experience, especially in meeting some truly wonderful people.