My name is Heenam Guk. I'm from in South Korea and currently I'm an exchange student in UNK studying journalism. I'm from Chung-Ang University in Seoul majoring contemporary literature. I've been here almost eight months and I will go back to Korea to graduate in this December. It's very soon. Time flies.
Please take time to enjoy my photo-journal throughout this semester!
December 17, 2010
The Best Multi-cultural Campus Ever!
Fun time at the Japanese and Nepalese Festivals. At UNK you get the chance to learn and share various cultures and make friends from around the world!
1. Nov. 14, 2010, there was a very memorable evening, the Japanese festival! They prepared many activities, performances and Japanese food!
Since I came to UNK, I have made a lot of Japanese friends because I feel more familiar with my neighboring countries, China and Japan. However, every time I have conversation with Japanese friends, I realize that we have very different ways of thinking, although Japan and Korea are located close to each other. It is always interesting to hear about their culture and life style, and the 2010 Japanese Festival was a great chance to take a close look at their culture!
I wore Yukata (Japanese traditional costume) in the Japanese festival for the first time! It was Ririko’s (Ririko Ohashi from Japan) Yukata and it was really pretty. Ririko and her friends helped me to wear Yukata. On this day, only two girls (Akane and I) wore Yukata so I was receiving a lot of attention and many people wanted to take commemorative pictures with me. I felt like I became a Japanese princess who cannot speak Japanese!
There were many fun activities such as Chopstick Gun Shooting Game, baseball game and calligraphy, Japanese lecture and so on, but my favorite part was… of course…the dance performance! The photos above were So-Ran dance, Japanese traditional group dance. They performed this So-Ran dance at the beginning of this festival and the end of the festival. They all looked so serious and worked together perfectly in sync.
Ririko also performed a stage dance! It was so called “Ninja” dance. I’m pretty sure that she practiced a lot with her friends because no one made a mistake in this performance!
I really enjoyed seeing my friends prepare their cultural festival and manage the event. I hope next year’s Japanese festival will have even more visitors and be better and better!
2. Nepalese Festival, DASHAIN-TIHAR 2010 by NESAK (Nepalese Student Association at Kearney)
Last Friday Nov. 19, Nepalese students held a event to celebrate Dashain-Tihar night at UNK, a celebration of one of the holy traditional festivals of Nepal.
It was a smaller sized room than Japanese festival but it was packed with a lot of people. After we paid a silent tribute with the national anthem, Nepalese students had a time to introduce and explain about the clothes.
Most of them wore Nepalese traditional clothes. Oh my! They were so pretty! My favorite was a blue dress and it was for a lady who got married.
There was my former roommate!! Purnima performed her solo dance! She said she forgot some steps but she looked really confident and lovely.
The food was wonderful…seriously! Rice and curry chicken, pork and potato, fried peanuts and sweet ball and yogurt and so on. They prepared really a lot of food and it tasted great! Usually I don’t like Indian curry because it smells strong and looks very spicy but, I should have tasted! It is really good. Please give me some more!
It was a good opportunity for me to see Nepalese culture and have great food. I was pretty busy taking pictures but when they played the national anthem, I had to stop flashing because it was a meaningful moment for the Nepalese students.
Currently, the number of total Nepalese students at UNK is 19. They are a smaller group but they are all hard workers and extremely kind people. Their festival was well organized and I was very impressed. All members of NESAK can be proud of this festival and they deserve to be a model for other international festivals. They also stated that Nepalese students at Kearney are thankful to UNK and friendly Nebraskans for providing them an opportunity to stay here and get a wonderful education and experience in this beautiful town. I am also thankful to UNK for giving me a great time to learn other countries' cultures and life.
November 30, 2010
Trick or Treat! Having Fun Time and New Experiences during American Halloween
1. A Pumpkin Party in Shannon’s house
How was your Halloween day? Did you make a scary pumpkin Jack O'Lantern? Or dress up as a ghost or monster? Let me tell you about my first Halloween in my life here in Kearney.
My host family and also my good friend, Shannon Aspen, sent me an invitation for a pumpkin Party in her house. She also invited her American friends, new Korean students plus my boyfriend, Amami (the only guy guest of the evening) by saying "Don't forget to bring a pumpkin!"
Each person chose their pumpkin and went to Shannon’s house. Do you know smaller pumpkins are harder to carve than big ones? I chose small and cute pumpkin but it was not cute to carve it because the skin is very hard!
First, we had dinner together because we needed a lot of energy to carve big pumpkins! The menu was Shannon’s pumpkin soup, corn bread and salad. After having dinner, we had short tea time and prepared to carve pumpkins.
We opened the pumpkin from its top and emptied the inside. It was work, not just fun! Each person made a different face on the pumpkin and we put candles inside. And somebody turned off the light.
Somebody made a smiley face and somebody made a scary face. Somebody made a cat’s face and somebody made a cartoon character. They should be scary but all they looked very lovely and warm.
After carving pumpkins, we decorated pumpkin shaped cookies. We put frosting and tiny candy on it or wrote something on it.
I wrote down my name, Amami's name (in Korean) and "I love Shannon!" because, thanks to Shannon, we were able to spend this great time together.
I really had the time of my life. Thanks to Shannon and thanks to Halloween!
1. A Pumpkin Party in Shannon’s house
2. What's going on throughout the campus in Halloween?
There was Great Pumpkin Carving Contest for day time and ISA Halloween Dance Party for night time!
There was the Art Department's 15th Annual Pumpkin contest on Friday, Oct. 29th. Visitors were asked to vote for the "Best of Show," "Most Creative," and the "Ugliest" pumpkins displayed in the hall of the Fine Arts Building.
Bleeding pumpkin and pimply face pumpkin were very memorable and gross enough to scare people on Halloween night.
However, my favorite was No.45, puking seed pumpkin!! I voted for this one! It was so funny and creative. Besides, other participants also did really great job and I really enjoyed seeing their artwork for Halloween.
Thank God it is Friday Night! And it's Halloween! What do we need to do? Of course, we must dress up and dance! ISA (International Student Association) held a Halloween dance party for international students in Martin residence hall. There were a lot of American students, not only international students. Each student wore a special costume and make-up and got ready to dance!
It was really fun to see various characters and costumes…a "variety of costumes and variety of people!" The dance party started at 8 o’clock and we danced to the music until midnight. Nobody looked tired. Everyone took pictures together and became friends. It was really fun and hot!
Halloween in Kearney was my first Halloween in my life because Korea doesn't celebrate Halloween. It was very new to me. I have already known about Halloween from books or movies but I never had a real chance to experience it! It was a good chance to make a nice memory in my life, at the same time, to enjoy interesting American culture.
October 27, 2010
UNK, Where the Magic Happens "Homecoming 2010" Sep. 23 – Oct. 2
A lot of interesting events are offered to the UNK community during Homecoming week. Check them out and mark your calendar and, get in on all the excitement!
During Homecoming week, I attended the volleyball game on Wednesday, Lip Sync contest on Thursday and Tricycle Race on Friday night. I really enjoyed them. The Tricycle Race was especially memorable. I was the last racer for International Students Association (what a honor!) but I completely botched up the race because I fell down over five times (what a shame!)! However, a lot of students from residence halls, sororities, fraternities and other UNK organizations kept calling my name and cheering for me, so I was able to finish the race. It was a little bit embarrassing, but it was really, really fun.
To be honest, Homecoming week didn't look different from any other school events to me. Even though I joined several events of homecoming and enjoyed them, I really didn't understand the meaning of Homecoming. I just checked the schedules and attended fun activities. What is it about?
Homecoming Parade from Downtown Kearney to UNK Campus
On Saturday morning, Audrey asked us to watch parade together, so Haruna, Soyoun and I went to 27th street. There were a lot of Kearney people sitting on small chairs or the ground. There also were many kids holding plastic bags and Audrey said they are waiting for sweets! People in the parade kept throwing candy to the audience and kids were screaming "candy, candy!", "here, here we are!" and collected the candy.
Actually, I shouted very loudly more than any other kids in there, so I got a lot of sweets! I was pretty popular among kids for collecting candy. Kids started to come to me to get candy I got. Hahaha!
Oh oh, Haruna! That is for kids! Stop eating the candy and give it to the kids!
Before long, I started wondering, "Why are so many old mama and old papas here for a college event?" Haruna laughed out loud and said "Because it is homecoming, Heenam! They are UNK Alumni!"
Oh, I see. That was 'Homecoming.' The older and the younger students have gathered around campus and do something sweet together. That's why I can see many different age groups in Homecoming parade, not only college students. Homecoming is not just a UNK school event. It's more like an entire Kearney community festival. Especially, the parade is for current students to participate, but also it is a great chance for UNK Alumni to enjoy with their kids and to look around their changing campus. By participating in and enjoying Homecoming, the UNK community keeps their traditional events and builds their lasting bond.
Third Thursdays MONA (Museum of Nebraska Art)
Third Thursdays Museum of Nebraska Art is a small gathering which consists of presentations showcasing selections of music, poetry, oratory, and art. It takes place from 7:00 to 8:00pm on 3rd Thursday of each month, August through April, and we can see art samples featuring artists and performers from Central Nebraska. So last Thursday (Oct. 21.2010) I visited MONA for the first time to check out the "3rd Thursday MONA."
Actually, I expected a lot of Corn pictures in MONA. However, there were many kinds of drawings, sculptures and books.
Yeah…there is some artwork that is unsuitable for children but always excites their curiosities! I met a gentleman, Allen Krohn, who volunteered to be my one-day curator. He introduced some drawings and photos of landscapes in Kearney.
He showed me a painting 'Threshing Crew' that shows a typical Kearney bucolic scene with peasants harvesting crops in a field. Allen planned to come to museum on every Thursday but it is hard to every week due to schedule conflicts. So he tries to attend this 3rd Thursdays program at least.
At 7 O'clock, the program started. We had one presentation, 'The Story Behind the Art' by Jeff Montag, and one saxophone performance and talk by David Nabb. I loved his performance! His left arm is somewhat paralyzed, but his saxophone play was immaculate!
It is hard to check art exhibition schedules for myself. And it is also very difficult to choose a good quality exhibition. So here is the “Third Thursday MONA.” The art professionals and local art people organize a great time for art. We only need to go there and enjoy the great time they made for us. We do not just look around at paintings but also we can talk, learn and enjoy music! Just visit MONA in one 3rd Thursday evening. You must like it.
How are your classes going?
Mine are hectic! Especially on Monday and Tuesday,
I am very busy, struggling with many assignments and no leisure time.
How about weekend? Oh no! Weekend is the busiest time for us to hang out with friends!
Then, why don't you use Thursday evening to appreciate some artwork and relax?
There is a regular art program at MONA in downtown Kearney.
October 1, 2010
Let's eat grandma! Oops! Let's eat, Grandma.
Just because of one comma, you can scare your grandma instead of having dinner with her. This kind of mistake in writing frequently happens to me. English punctuation is one of the most confusing parts in English; so today, I want to introduce my big-hearted guides for my academic life in UNK: "Writing Center and Conversation Table".
What are my difficulties in Kearney? Let's see…
Food? Proudly I'm a fan of soft corn here in Nebraska, that's so, so~~~ sweet and soft. I guarantee that Nebraska deserves to get the title, corn Huskers. Also, sometimes I can cook Korean food and share with my friends from other countries. Cultural differences? I'm willing to learn various cultures and to show my culture, too. It cannot be my problem. Then, homesickness? Yes, sometimes, but I have new home and family here and I can talk with my mom whenever I want because we have wonderful communication tool, Skype™.
Undoubtedly, the most challenging part in studying abroad is language insecurity. Of course, including me, most international students are non English speakers. I'm very fluent in Korean so that I can express exactly what I want to say but, in English, I just feel like I became a shy stumbling girl. Even though I studied English over for 6 years, still I am not that confident to say or ask something. What do I do?
This is my first case study draft for Public Relations class. As you see, I got '0%' point… My professor broke my heart! First moment I saw this number, I could only laugh. It was really frustrating. He said even though I have lots of good comments, without right punctuations, grammar and proper vocabularies, it is just zero. He let me go to writing center and I was able to resubmit it. I got 80%!
Now I don't submit assignments before I come by Writing Center. I love UNK Writing Center. They are open every day and tutors are very kind and intelligent. Also, I don't need to feel embarrassed in front of them because they all understand how much I'm struggling to make English sentences. Most of all, I can complete better tasks! Better task means automatically more points!
It's not only the Writing Center which helps my language difficulty. During semester, there is the Conversation Table program at the student union.
Conversation table is literally those tables which are arranged to make people talk! It's on every Thursday 4-5pm and open to anyone in UNK or Kearney. If you are shy or couldn't make friends here, it's still hard to improve your English skill. If you hardly talk, there is no improvement although you've been in U.S. for a long time. So here's a solution. Even if you are not that social, it's totally okay because conversation table provide you the chance to talk with many people in English. Besides we can meet not only American friends but also a lot of friends from the world!
Last week, Amami visited the Conversation table for the first time. He never went there before because he is English speaker so he doesn't need to 'practice' speaking English. I suggested that he can help students who need practice. Fortunately, there were five new students from China. They sit on one table together but they looked like they couldn't find anyone who speaks English. So Amami brought one chair to join their table and began to ask each of their names. All they are taking ELI courses without major so we were able to talk about their majors they want to take. Every time Amami and I couldn't understand what they tried to say, they explained with body gestures or drawings anything they can use. It took more time but as long as we can talk together, it was fun like playing twenty questions.
September 4, 2010
Are you ready for new semester?
My heart leaped with anticipation of a new semester, thanks to a couple of special days!
1. Blue/Gold Day, August 20, 2010
Over 200 businesses and churches as well as UNK departments and organizations welcomed new and returning domestic and international students from around the world during the Blue/Gold Business showcase. Student and their families as well as community members enjoyed the Chancellor's picnic, and receiving gifts of school supplies and souvenirs.
Here is a booth for Chartwells, the campus dining service, as they provide food for the Chancellor's picnic on this very important day.
This is my boyfriend, Amami. He is from Nigeria. You are going to see lots of his pictures, so you better get used to it! During Blue/Gold day, he was very interested in the U.S. Army booth and the ROTC program. He got a cap with the U.S. Army logo on it. He likes yellow!
Here are members of the Alpha Phi sorority having some fun during Blue/Gold. They are so happy to attend this tremendous event. Do you see the Old Navy bags they are all holding? It was quite productive attending this event, due to all the great gifts and souvenirs they received!
On that day, students not only received lots of school supplies, but also received so many kinds of ice cream, soft drinks and cookies for free. Honestly! I had four samples of Jimmy John's sandwiches. What a gratified tummy! One of my favorites was a martial arts booth. I learned some self-defense, and it was really fun.
2. Invitation from Audrey! August 22, 2010
My Japanese best friend Haruna's wonderful host family is Craig and Audrey Bennett and their two sons. They held a dinner party at their house to celebrate the end of a long summer. Also, it was a welcome back party for Haruna because she visited to my home, Korea, during the summer!!
And do you know what? The main dish was not barbeque. It was Korean chicken!! Only I was Korean so everyone asked me how the taste was. Audrey said it's not real Korean style it's more like American style. I just answered “it's Audrey's style” and it was really fantastic. You must taste it! You will also have the chance to enjoy great food with great people.
Audrey invited a new student from Bahamas, Lamar, who plays American football here at UNK. Fortunately, Nolan (Audrey's second son) just got started playing football. After dinner, Lamar, Nolan, Amami and Craig played a little football.
On this happy Sunday, we shared our summer stories that each person had and thanked God for gathering us here. I was able to talk to them about my concerns. I was super nervous about new semester, most of all, because of my linguistic difficulty, but now I feel more comfortable and confident because they all poured their hearts' into me. I feel grateful for every kind consideration from many people to make me start this new semester happily and to encourage me.