By: Tuhin, NSLI-Y Korea, Summer 2013

One of the most memorable memories on my NSLI-Y program in Seoul, South Korea was one day when I went hiking with my host mom. Seoul is a very metropolitan city that is highly technologically advanced. The pace of life in Seoul can quite often feel very fast paced. However, the day I went hiking with my host mom was very different and nice. Growing up in the Midwest for most of my life, I never have had any hiking experiences since the land is very flat. The topography of Korea is very different. Along with the modern skyscrapers and the advanced subway system, nearby mountains surround the urban area. I had my very first hiking experience in Korea that day.

Koreans really dress-up when they go hiking. My host mom gave me a mask to wear, gloves, and sticks to go through the trails. Right before we went hiking, my host mom purchased some fruit and water from the nearby small shops that were there.

In the beginning of the program, my Korean was very limited and I was unable to even read and write Hangul. My host parents did not speak much English but we were still able to connect with one and another. The day I hiked with my host mom was very memorable because I was able to carry out conversations with her in Korean. Once we reached the top of the mountain, we were able to dine in a small Korean restaurant and speak with each other. I really enjoyed that day with her, and I miss her a lot. I hope to continue to improve my Korean so I can speak with her more often.

I am lucky to still keep in touch with my host family through Kakaotalk (a Korean messaging app) and continue to have conversations with them while still taking Korean classes. I hope one day to go back to Korea, reunite with my host family, and speak with them again in Korean.