Hannah Baker
2013-14 Outbound to Korea

Hometown: Ponte Vedra, Florida
School: Allen D. Nease Senior High School
Sponsor: District 6970, Florida
Host:The Rotary Club of Seocheon

Hannah's Bio

(안녕하세요, 제 이름은 한나입니다)  Hello, my name is Hannah, I live in Ponte Vedra, Florida and I am fifteen years old. I am a freshman at Allen D. Nease High School. I am a member of the Spanish Club, which is hosted by my Spanish Teacher. In my spare time, when I’m not doing anything school related, I enjoy pleasure reading. I’m absolutely ecstatic to be one of the many Outbounds for the 2013-2014 school year to South Korea; Nonetheless, I know  I will have many difficulties that I will need to face, even before I go and when I go. As the eldest of two little sisters, I know that there will be a lot of responsibility put on my shoulders but I am up for the challenge. I know that not many people get an opportunity like this, and few are chosen; However, I’m up to meet this life changing experience head on. When I get back I know I will return a new person. My only question to you is are you ready to face a challenge head on knowing that it could change you and make you a greater person for the better?

Hannah's Journals

August 23, 2013

It’s been a little over a week since I’ve arrived in South Korea. Today and yesterday, make the begging of many school days to come. An other than me, there are four other exchange students; one from Michigan state and her name is Sarah; one from Germany and her name is Vera; one from Mexico and her name is Olga; and the best for last, Allen who is from Taiwan. Not only that, yesterday had we gotten to meet our district chair, as well as going to the Korean Educational Office.

We even got to go to our Rotary Club, which was sponsored by all men. Afterwards we went to Lottaria which is equivalent to an American McDonald’s. Did you know another name for Sprite products in Korea is cider? They even have flavored packets for your fries. Which I did not know until my host sister Ji-Won, a former exchange student, told me.

Did you know that Korean pizza is way sweeter than American pizza? Or that the high schools are split up to either all boys or girls? How about if you’re under the driving age, then the only way to get around is by taxi or bus?

October 3, 2013

It's been a little over two months since I've been here, in Korea. I have enjoyed korean thanksgiving, to national holidays, as well as exciting outings, and even having the opportunity to wear and own a traditional korean dress (hanbok). All the while, learning how to make tea and serve it.

October 14, 2013

Today was my school’s English Festival. We got to do a scavenger hunt. And some of the questions included; how old I was (me)? Write down the address of the Mexican exchange student (Olga), what’s the full name of the German exchange student (Vera)? What’s the name of Sarah’s high school (Michigan)?

Afterwards we had diner and then continued the festival with a speed quiz, which we exchange students couldn’t take part of because we knew English. Then we did a dance. Then we finally left to allow the thirds years and our host parent (s) talked about high schools. My school is a middle school, because high school wouldn’t be able to give us the help we would need. This weekend I was able to meet former exchange students that went Korea, they were from Indiana and Mexico, and I met another one from Germany.

Mondays and Fridays I have a Korean class; Tuesdays I have hanbok class; where we are hand sewing a vest. Tuesday evenings I have a salmunori (drum) class. Wednesday evenings tutoring the Korean Students, and Thursday evenings we have cooking class. Which have been unfortunately cancelled the last three weeks.

December 18, 2013

 This past Monday I switched to my second host family; they are amazing. Although I still miss my previous host family a lot. I’m glad I can still see them. It’s almost Christmas, and where I am Christmas is not much celebrated; mostly in the big city like Seoul. Despite that, there are a few who do go to church that day.

As of this Friday I will be going to Seoul to see a musical, with the whole school of course. YAY! And for those on winter break already you are so lucky. My break isn’t until sometime next week.

February 6, 2014

Who knew going to a museum could be so much. Other than that they all were pretty much the same. Though I do believe they each had something to make them uniquely different. But it is difficult to tell if anyone else noticed.

For example, how many people can tell the difference between money and an object worth more than any given amount of money? Besides, only a select number can define, understand; and to an extent explain the past experiences of those who came before us. All the while putting those experiences on display and into simple words; for those who are to lazy to try, better yet, wanted to understand.

However, each person different from the simplest of likes like old articles. Each having their own story, from the time it was made, to the many experiences it endured, to it's ending and then finally to its final resting place.

Then again, it would me boring if everything were they same, now wouldn't it.

Just like a snowflake no two are exactly alike; for opposites attract, likes reply; every writer has their own pen; a painting never tells the same story twice. The list could go on and on.

Like ends of time every begging has an end and when one ends another begins.

On the other hand, museums do give us the chance to allow us to see what others could only image what might or could happened. Without getting the option of seeing what has only just been opened. And who is to say evolution truly ever stops. For I believe nothing truly has ever stopped. Although I do not think it ever well. Because there is always change, no matter how acute it is.

February 26, 2014

would’ve thought! Defiantly not me but oh well.

First we had to take a train which was three hours long, and did you know that was my first real train ride ever?! Anyway when we got there the train station was humungous and I mean huge. So we got lunch, then went to where were staying. This was a guest house, with traditional rooms and all, even futons no beds.

After settling in we went to our first destination a famous tourist street; we had to take a metro (subway) and then a connecting line. Once we got there we walked a bit then started shopping, I got an “I love Korea” t-shirt and Starbucks socks.

A little later we went to get dinner and boy let me tell you, I never had Pizza Hut like we did that night. When we were done we went to see a Nanta (drum) performance and I mean it was the bomb; literally!

The following morning, we did our morning routine, and then we went to a famous market that Korean grandmothers and other older women like to shop. After that we went to this famous palace located in Seoul. For lunch we had fried pork cutlet and it was to die for, oh my goodness!

That night we went Namsan Tower, as for dinner we had Taco Bell. Too bad Olga (Mexican exchange student) felt that it wasn’t a taco.

The final day we packed and went to a museum before we left and then had to rush to take a metro back to the train station, have lunch and then take the next train back to Seocheon.

April 28, 2014

It's been a while and I apologize. However, my time in my host country is coming to an end; and I'm trying to do as much as I can. For example, my fellow 교환 학생 (exchange students) made flower pancakes (my self not included). Despite that, I was able to go shopping with my host 엄마 (mom); I bought a nice denim blouse, school shoes, and everyday shoes as well. Afterward we went to the 서천 시장 (Seocheon market); she got 오렌지, 더마도, 백, 물고기도 (oranges, tomato, pear, and fish too). Then home again.

If I think about it, I get sad when I realize that I'll miss everyone that I've come to know so well and got to spend time with. Such as 엄마, 언니, 어빠, 아빠, 할머니도. (Mom, older brother, older sister, dad, grandmother too). Even though I don't fully know or understand Korean, but with what I do understand I try to talk to 엄마 about my day like I would my own mom. Or, when 힐머니 try's talking to me even if I don't fully understand we still are able to make each other laugh. As for 아빠, we may not be as close I still try to have a conversation every now and then but I do hold a lot of respect towards him. On the other hand, 언니는 어빠랑 (older sis and older bro) are AWESOME, though it does help that they were both exchange students to the U.S. 언니는 플리다 갈게요. 어빠랑 미지겐 갈게요. (older sis went to Florida 2012-2013 and older bro went to Michigan 2011-2012). So they both speak English, but I try not to use English as much, unless I absolutely do not understand.

Therefore, knowing all that I know and if I truly wish to see everyone again I'm going to have to do my part to maintain my connections. Connections that not everyone gets to see, know, and have. And with these connections something wonderful is born; a friendship and kinship that transcends far from skin, race, country, age, or other means.

What makes it better is that in my host district a girl will be going to Florida district 6950. And if anyone from that district happens to read this please email me if you wish to know more about the knew student from South Korea. P.S. If you don't mind please help her out. 만니감사합니다 하나 (many thanks Hannah).

Also if there are any other questions pertaining to my experience in 대한민국 (Republic of South Korea).