Monday, 19 March 2018

Café Olor 카페 올로 ~ 강남 (Gangnam Station) Seoul

Hi from Seoul~ I've decided to make a blog series about cafes in Korea, namely in Seoul. I love coffee, but even if you're more partial to teas or other drinks, you can not skip out on experiencing the cafe culture if you come to Seoul. There are literally endless coffee chains and independently run cafes, and I want to focus my posts on the places you might not have heard of. The first being one I just came back from near to Gangnam station today called Café Olor (카페 올로). 



Atmosphere:

The pink accents are what I really enjoyed about the design of this cafe. It's quite minimalist and bright aside from those. The stairway up greets you with a chic neon sign, a lot of people take their Instagram photos here! Inside is also a similar vibe, which I think generally reflects the feeling you can find at many places in Gangnam. It's spacious and every time I've been it's not crowded, so you can comfortably talk with friends or just study if you're by yourself. Something you may notice in the upcoming posts about cafes is that I tend to seek places that are aesthetically pleasing rather that being famous for the menu or products... in other words if I can't take good photos there I probably won't be going back.

The interior design allows plenty of space for those in groups or coming solo

Special Menu:


You can get your usual coffee and beverages at reasonable prices here, but if you fancy something a bit different the milk tea is served initially in bags, making it a popular on their menu. It may possibly be seasonal, but there are also a couple of new strawberry milk drinks which I haven't tried. In terms of food and dessert they have a selection of waffles and other desserts such as Tiramisu, if you're feeling a little hungry.


How to get there:

It's really quite easy to find this cafe, simply come out of exit 10 at Gangnam station and walk straight for a few minutes until you see it on the second floor. The entrance is on the side of the building, the door is also pink so quite hard to miss!


You can also check out their official Instagram page @cafeolor_official (though there aren't many posts on there at the moment). If you are on Instagram you can also follow me @Emily_Marysia ~



How to Apply to SNU (International Students)

So, you want to apply to SNU? If you've heard about universities in Seoul, you may already know that Seoul National University is the highest ranking University in Korea, followed by Yonsei and Korea University. But don't let that put you off. The application process is incredibly strict and competitive for Koreans, but if you're coming in through the international track, you won't be compared to the Korean students. Phew.

There are two ways you can enter as an international student here: Admissions Track 1 is for students whose parents are not citizens of Korea and have graduated High School (or equivalent). Admissions Track 2 is for students who may hold Korean citizenship but who completed all of their education (primary and secondary) outside of Korea. The majority of International students come through track 2, but since I have no familial links to Korea whatsoever I can give more accurate information about track one.

I highly recommend starting to gather documents and required information before the application period officially opens, in my experience nothing ever goes completely smoothly and if you encounter a problem with one document there will be time to find a solution. Also, if you're not living in Korea you will have to post everything since email copies are not accepted, so please please factor in time for that to arrive before the deadline! Information about deadlines and submission times varies every year but is easy to find on the SNU website.

The documents that you will need to prepare are as follows. Be aware that copies are only accepted for certain items, usually you will need to present the original. Also the list can vary between majors and nationalities, so the university may request extra documents... be warned.

1. First of all you should complete the online application, and pay the fee. Then you can print out the Application for Admission from the website.

2. Personal Statement and Study Plan - You can fill in this portion online, but you have to print it out and include it with your application. It can be written in either English or Korean and consists of three questions.

3. Letter of Recommendation (Counselor and teacher) - I know a few people who faced problems because of this. You can print out the forms online and give them to two of your teachers to fill in, but it must be in English or Korean (if it's a foreign language you must have it translated by an official government organisation). Also if your school didn't have any counselor, you are allowed to use a different teacher instead.

4. Official High School Transcript and Graduation Certificate (Or exam certificates) - if your school gives you transcripts when you graduate, lucky you! If your school doesn't (like mine...) don't panic, you can submit the exam certificates and send a statement by email to the admissions office explaining that your school doesn't provide them.

5. Passport Photocopy - It is possible to use other official documents to prove your nationality but really a passport is the safest and easiest option.

6. Both Parents' Passport Photocopy and Birth Certificate  - For international track 1 you must prove that your parents are not of Korean descent. In the case of a divorce of death, documents proving this must also be submitted.

7. *Additional* Portfolio/Record of Achievement - Some majors such as music or physical education might require some other record of your experience in the field. This information can be found on the individual major websites.

8. Proof of Language Proficiency - You need to prove that you have fluency in either English or Korean. Topik test level 3 or over, or TOEFL, TEPS or IELTS scores are other official proof of fluency are accepted. However, if you come from a country where the native language is English and your parents are of that nationality you do not need to prove fluency. You may be required to take a TEPS test after you arrive though.

There is also some kind of agreement document to sign and submit with your application, you can print this out once you have completed the online application. For the Admissions Track 2 you need to submit the same as above plus any documents regarding your entry and exit in Korea issued by the embassy or immigration offices. There is also an admissions guide available for download on the SNU website with more information regarding official documents and what is accepted, but it may not be updated for your admission semester until the admission opening date so check the dates carefully.

If you have any general questions regarding admissions or SNU feel free to leave a comment here or Email me: emily.marysia.thomas@gmail.com

You can also follow my Instagram for more about my daily life in Korea @Emily_Marysia


Sunday, 18 March 2018

Hi there - I'm a Full Time Student of Seoul National University

Hi. I'm a full-time student at Seoul National University in South Korea. It's my first semester here studying as a regular student majoring in Communications (언론정보학과 for those of you speaking Korean), and I will be here for the next four years or so of my life. However, while I am a new student of this university I am not new to Korea. I've spent time teaching on Jeju Island and also studying Korean language at the Korean Language Institute of Yonsei University. But this is the most recent and biggest step of living out here, and possibly the most daunting... getting to this point had ups and downs, and I'm certain there will be more along the way - so I have decided to try and document my journey and experiences through blogging.

While there are emails in English sent around and groups to support international students, I have found that SNU lacks a lot of English information and resources. There isn't a huge body of foreign students that are here full time, and the majority of those who are come from Korean-speaking backgrounds. I expect exchange students can receive important information from their home universities, but I thought perhaps there are people out there like me who went through the whole process solo and experienced some confusion along the way... maybe the experiences I have can help incoming international SNU students, full time or exchange, or even just those who are interested in coming to Korea for studying elsewhere.

I don't know if I will even be able to keep up with this blog regularly, and I also don't know if anybody is actually interested, but hey it's a record of what I've been through so far. My mum will probably read it if nothing else. I want to start with some of the more informative and useful posts but perhaps later on I'll slip some fun posts about exploring Korea or what it's like outside of school.

Open to questions, comments, suggestions anything really
Feel free to leave comments on this post, or email me: emily.marysia.thomsa@gmail.com

You can also follow my Instagram for more about my daily life here @Emily_Marysia