How to Say Hello in 15 Languages

One of my goals in life is to be able to greet someone in 15 different languages. So here is my list on how to say hello in 15 different languages:

  1. Hello/Hi-English
  2. Hola-Spanish
  3. Olá-Portuguese
  4. Bonjour-French
  5. Hallo/Guten Tag/Servus-German
  6. Hej/Goddag-Danish
  7. Ciao-Italian
  8. 你好 (nĭ hăo)-Mandarin Chinese
  9. こんにちは (konnichiwa)-Japanese
  10. 안녕하세요 (anyeonghaseyo)-Korean
  11. नमस्ते (namaste)-Hindi
  12. Salve-Latin
  13. привет (privet)-Russian
  14. Merhaba-Turkish
  15. مرحبا (marhaba)-Arabic


Planning a Trip to Europe

In a few months, I will be going back to Europe for the third time! The past two times I went to Europe, I traveled to Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Belgium, Holland, and Denmark. This time I will be going to Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Italy, Luxembourg, and France. 

So far, I’ve traveled to 13 countries. After this trip, though, I will have traveled 17 countries in total. Right now, I’m still currently in the process of planning the trip. Some of the places I’ll be revisiting and some of the places are going to be completely new to me. I’m not going to say exactly where I’m going just yet. I’ll leave that for after I come back and can post pictures. 

The Berlin Wall

It’s been almost 2 weeks since my departure from Germany. So far I’ve been really busy with appointments, studying, watching the World Cup, and readjusting back to American life. Now that I have a little bit of time, I would like to tell you one of my favorite highlights in Germany.

One month ago, my host family and I took a trip to the capital of Germany-Berlin! We walked around the city for a bit, went to tour the dome at the Reichstag, took a city bus tour, and saw the one thing I wanted to see most-the Berlin Wall!





I remember that I’ve always wanted to see the Berlin since the 6th grade, when I learned it in my Social Studies class. And coming across the Berlin Wall that day was actually pure luck. I knew that most of the wall was torn down, and probably wouldn’t be able to see it still standing. We were actually looking for a parking spot, when we suddenly find a part of the wall still standing.


Some history about the wall:

After WWII was over, the German Reich was taken over by the Allies and split up into four zones: (Western Germany) American, British, French, and (Eastern Germany) Soviet. And Berlin was split up into the same four zones. On August 13, 1961, the communist party of the German Democratic Republic began putting up barbed wire and a protection wall between East and West Germany. The people of East Berlin were basically deprived from the western world. They were not allowed to leave East Berlin, and if they try to escape-they were shot by the border patrol. However, Germans from West Berlin and West Germany were allowed to go to East Berlin by going through Checkpoints, such as Checkpoint Charlie (pictured above). At least 136 people died trying to escape, and over 5,000 people have successful escaped from the East to the West. Communism began to falter in 1988 and 1989 in countries like Hungary, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. And in 1989, an announcement from the East German government official Gunter Schabowski came-the borders between East and West Berlin were open. There was a huge celebration afterwards. People began hammering the wall down. After the wall came down, East and West Germany were finally reunited as one single state on October 3, 1990.

East and West Germany

East and West Berlin

First Two Weeks

Tomorrow is the two week mark since I’ve been in Germany. Before I came here, I thought the German culture and American culture/lifestyle were at least a little bit similar. Well, I was wrong. The food/meals, school, transportation, etc. are a lot different.My life here is completely different than my life in America.

Food/Meals: The meat and other foods are a lot larger here than I expected. The food is always fresh, and almost always prepared-unlike in America where we seem to just grab something out of the freezer and cook in the microwave. For Fruhstuck (breakfast), I normally eat muesli on schooldays and eggs or bread with meat, cheese, and meat on weekends. During school, I’ll have Pausenbrot (bread or a sandwich eaten during breaks). Then after that is Mittagsessen (lunch), which is the largest meal of the day. Lunch for me is always something different: Maultaschen (my favorite), spaghetti, pizza, cordon bleu with french fries, sausage, doner, etc. And then is Abendsessen (dinner), which is usually just bread or brezel with meat, cheese, butter, etc. German food is delicious, especially the desserts.


School: The school I am attending is called a Gymnasium. In the Gymnasium that I’m attending, there are Grades 5 through 12 (I believe). My classes change everyday, and each class (or lesson) is 90 minutes long. 3 days a week I have 3 classes (or blocks) and I get to leave at 1 pm. In between each period is a 15 minute break. On Monday, I have 4 blocks and I get to leave at 3:30 pm. After the third block, there is a 30 or 45 minute break for lunch. On Thursday, I have 5 blocks..which means I don’t get to leave school until 5 pm. Leaving at 5 pm isn’t actually all that bad. The class subjects are almost all the same like in America except for Religion. All my classes (except for English and Spanish), are taught in German (of course). The first couple days, I didn’t understand at all. But everyday, I learn more German and understand more and more. Something else that is different is that we are allowed to leave the school during the breaks (well, not leave leave), to enjoy the fresh air or go into town to get food.

Transportation and Punctuality: I go to school everyday by bus, however, not a “school bus.” Every school morning and afternoon, I get on the public bus and it is always packed of school kids-so it seems like a school bus. But on the bus are kids from different schools and can get off wherever they want to. Public buses here are really convenient, you can pretty much go anywhere by bus-but you have to wait sometimes awhile for them to come. The cars here, I was told, are mostly manual and not automatic. And the trains and subways..can’t say anything about them yet because I haven’t been on any so far. As for punctuality, when the bus is scheduled to come at a certain time-it will be there exactly at that time. If you have plans to meet someone, always be there at the schedule time.

Environment: The Germans definitely care about the environment. The streets and sidewalks are always clean, and never littered with trash. They recycle and have individuals recycling bins for paper, glass, plastic, etc. And they conserve water. I really wish we did this in the United States. I never really realized how much we’re wasting until coming here.

So far, I like my new life in Germany. Like I said, it is definitely different. Sometimes it can be a little difficult being in a new culture. So far, I made a lot of mistakes and mispronounced a lot of words. But it’s from these mistakes, that we learn the most.

Below are some pictures of Wertheim, two of the castles in my area, the Main and Tauber rivers, etc.





Study Abroad Update: YFU and CIEE

Last week, I finally heard back from YFU. I received a letter, and I found out that I am an alternate for the Skylink Travel House scholarship (which is a scholarship to go to a Latin American country for a year). However, I’m only an alternate for that scholarship and not for any of the scholarships to go to Japan for the summer. I found out that the Skylink Travel House scholarship is actually not that popular, which surprises me. I guess it’s just me thinking, “Who wouldn’t want to study abroad in Latin America (or Europe or Asia or anywhere else)?” 

I also heard back from CIEE…again…A couple months ago, I came across the CIEE Leadership Academy. This particular program is brand new (not CIEE, CIEE has been operating for quite awhile now). Anyways…I applied for the CIEE Leadership Academy to go to China, and I was offered a partial scholarship of $1575 out of $6300. I was gracious that they even offered me that amount of money, but I ended up declining the offer. Now this happened about a little over a month ago. I recently received a phone call, and they increased their previous offer. I couldn’t say no to that offer! Which means…중국에 갈 거예요! I’m going to China!

Life can not get any better. In less than a month, I’ll be graduating. Then, I’ll be going to China for a month. A few months later, I’ll be going to Germany for a year. Sometimes I wonder to myself…is this really my life? 

*Knocks on wood* Don’t want to jinx myself!

Struck By Wanderlust

Last Saturday night, I attended the local AFS Potluck Social. I was amazed when I first walked in. There were exchange students from all over the world: Italy, Thailand, Japan, Iceland, Belgium, Pakistan, Germany, etc. It was so fun to be able to meet these students and even meet returnees, volunteers, host parents, parents of students currently abroad, and several of my fellow Speedwell recipients.This night was an eye-opener. One day, I’ll be attending an event just like this in Germany. I’ll be meeting other foreign exchange students from all the world in Germany, and perhaps meet future German exchange students. And maybe, I’ll be giving advice to those nervous and excited exchange students.This night also was a reminder of my passion for foreign languages, culture, and travel. Speaking of travel, meeting everyone the other night made me think of my memories of traveling..
global flags

For as long as I could remember, my family and I would always go on vacation for two weeks in the summer. That’s when my love for travel started. The two states that we usually vacationed in was Florida and New York, because my relatives lived there (and we would always stop in North Carolina to visit more relatives when we drove down to Florida). For the past 17 and a half years of my live, I can remember at least vacationing or being (for whatever reason) in 16 states/districts: Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington D.C., North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Nevada, Arizona, California. 

us map

However, it didn’t stop there. I also went to Canada (for about 2 hours), and my family and I had ice cream. Last year, I was fortunate enough to be able to go to South Korea and Germany during the summer. I left school about a week early (I had to finish my finals a week early), and my family and I (excluding my dad) boarded a flight to Japan. After we arrived in Japan, we later departed again to South Korea. I was so excited last year to go to South Korea. I remember counting the days down since January. Going to South Korea was all I would talk about. I never met my Korean relatives before, and it was the first time I met them. I spent two weeks in South Korea, and absolutely loved it. I went to Lotte World, Oeyeondo Island, Itaewon, Gyeongbokgung Castle, Namsan Tower, the beach, the Korean Folk Village, and quite a few other places. 


After I came back from South Korea, I had about ten days before I departed to Germany. Those ten days, I became even more excited for Germany. When it was the day to leave for Germany, I was completely stoked. I was exhilarated by the feeling of traveling again. I said my goodbyes to my parents and left for the airport with my German teacher and several of my German Club members (it was a school trip). We boarded the plane (about 8 hours later?) and headed to London. Then, we boarded another plane and headed to Germany. I spent about a week and a half in Germany. Two of those days, we stayed in Switzerland (we spent an hour in Austria and Liechtenstein since we had to drive through the two countries). All in all, we were in Frankfurt, Rothenburg, Munich, Heidelberg, somewhere in Austria and Liechtenstein, and Lucerne. Some of the places we visited were Munich’s town hall, Olympic Stadium, Dachau, Neuschwanstein Castle, Nymphenburg Castle, the Black Forest, the Rhein River, and Lake Lucerne (which was absolutely beautiful).


When I returned from my trip, life wasn’t the same to me. I missed traveling around, experience these cultures that were foreign to me, hearing the foreign languages everywhere, the delicious food, the people…I so badly wanted to return or go somewhere. That is when I realized that I was struck by wanderlust-a strong desire to travel. I also realized that I want to travel the world. I want to travel to all of the countries in the world. There are 196 countries in the world, however, and I only have so much time to live. Is it possible? Perhaps. But my goal is to visit at least 98 countries before I die-I would die happy if I accomplished this goal.

So far, I have only visited 9 countries. 89 more countries to go!
However, I still have plenty of time to travel around. Right now, I’m just going to focus on Germany. Oh the excitement of returning to Germany once again!

AFS-Germany Acceptance

Today at 1:25, AFS-USA emailed me to tell me that AFS-Germany has accepted me. Which means, I will be going to Germany for a year. Ich werde nach Deutschland für einen Jahr gehen! Everything is now starting to hit me. It was only three weeks ago when I found out I received the Speedwell Foundation Study Abroad Scholarship. My application was sent to Germany a week afterwards, and I was told that I would hear within four to six weeks. Well two weeks later, my acceptance came. 

To be honest, I was actually getting quite nervous after my application was sent to Germany. I was told that I had a strong application, but a few days after my application was sent-I saw that AFS-Germany was full. I was hoping I was one of those already accepted (and I am right). Even if AFS-Germany rejected me, I would have been completely satisfied with going to Ecuador or Paraguay (my second and third choices). 

Anyways, I am absolutely stoked. When I checked my phone during study hall, I first saw the words from AFS-USA, “You have been accepted…” and I automatically knew. I started to become emotional and I felt the (happy) tears coming. All my hard work has paid off. Hours and hours of filling out applications, writing tons of essays, getting teacher recommendations, and getting physicals has finally paid off. There was no greater feeling than those two moments: finding out that I received the Speedwell scholarship and finding out AFS-Germany has accepted me.

Last year, I went to Germany for a week and a half as a tourist. In September, I will be going back as a member of society.

Ever since I was younger, I was hit with the travel bug. My family always went on vacation every summer for two weeks, and I always loved it. I loved to travel, I loved visiting new places, and I loved seeing how different each state was from another. After going to South Korea, Germany, and Switzerland last summer, I acquired a strong case of wanderlust. I wanted to study abroad and experience life in a foreign country as if I was a citizen, and not just tourist. And I will get that chance.

Festivals. Schnitzel. The many types of sausage. The many types of bread. Karneval. Oktoberfest. Christmas markets. Living with a host family. Going to a German high school. Immersing myself into the German culture. Speaking German. Challenging myself. Becoming an exchange student. These are just some of the things I’m excited about.

Germany 2013-2014! Deutschland 2013-2014! Ich freue mich dass ich werde eine Austauschschülerin sein!



Today is Easter. Heute is Ostern. 오늘은 부활절이다.

It is the day of the Easter bunny, Easter candy and chocolate, Easter egg hunts, and dying and decorating Easter eggs.






However, Easter is also the day Jesus resurrected from the dead. The true meaning and purpose of Easter is to celebrate his resurrection.

Easter also is the end of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, repentance, moderation, and spiritual discipline. Lent starts Ash Wednesday and ends Easter Sunday. Easter is always celebrated the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon.

On Easter, most Christians go to Easter church services. Families also often have Easter dinners or lunches. For example, my family had an Easter lunch (since my dad has to work in the day). We had ham (actually it was turkey ham), mash potatoes, and carrots. For dessert, we had dutch apple pie topped with rocky road ice cream (which was delicious by the way).

easter dinner


Happy Easter everyone! Frohe Ostern! 부활절을 잘 보내세요!

The German Flag

Since I received the Speedwell Foundation scholarship, Germany has been on my mind. Let’s learn about the german flag in a nutshell.

The German flag (die deutsche Flagge oder die deutsche Fahne) is a tri-colored flag that consists of three equal horizontal stripes of Germany’s national colors: black, red, and gold.


The German flag was first introduced in 1848, when the German feudal states united. It was used until 1871, when Bismarck seized power. The flag used then was colored black, white, and red. The black-red-gold flag was re-instated again in 1919 when Germany became a republic, but went away when the Nazi’s seized power in 1933. The Nazi party flag was then used until the end of World War II. After World War II in 1949, the black-red-gold flag was used again in West and East Germany, but East Germany added the coat of arms (which was removed in 1990). The black-red-gold flag has been the national flag of Germany (die Bundesflagge) since the re-unification of West and East Germany in 1990.

The origins of the colors black (schwartz), red (rot), and gold (gold) have been said to be associated with Germany since the middle ages. The current German flag’s colors are traced back to the early 19th century, when the German volunteer soldiers fighting in the Napoleonic wars wore black coats with red braid/designs and gold buttons. The colors represent freedom and unity. It is believed that black, red, and gold are the colors of freedom, meaning the freedom of Germany and the German people.

Study Abroad Scholarship Update

During this school year, I applied for multiple study abroad scholarships. When I first created this blog, the only study abroad scholarships I was planning on applying to were NSLI-Y and CBYX (I’ll go more in to detail about what these scholarships in a different post). My ambition is to be a German, Mandarin Chinese, and Korean linguist for the military or the government. So I thought these two scholarships would be perfect for me. My top choices for NSLI-Y were China and South Korea, and for CBYX-Germany.

However, I was rejected for the NSLI-Y scholarship. I didn’t receive the scholarship, I didn’t even receive an interview. But instead of crying about it, I strove to do my best for the CBYX scholarship. And that’s exactly what I did. I submitted my CBYX application and received an interview. It didn’t stop there though.

I also did some more researching on the internet, where I came across the YFU scholarships. I applied for 3 YFU scholarships-2 scholarships to go to Japan this summer and 1 scholarship to go to Ecuador, Argentina, or Uruguay for a year. I also received an interview for YFU.

Then, I came across a local scholarship, the AFS Speedwell Foundation, to study abroad for a year and the CIEE Leadership Academy scholarship. So I applied for the local scholarship, and picked my top 3 choices: Germany, Ecuador, and Paraguay. For the CIEE Leadership Academy scholarship, my top 3 choices were China, Spain, and Dominican Republic.

Moral of the story is to never let one rejection get to you. Sure, be sad and cry for a little while. But be sure to pick yourself up and strive to do your best. This was my last year (it was also my first) to apply for these scholarships. If I would have given up, I wouldn’t have received a partial scholarship for the CIEE Leadership Academy…or a FULL scholarship to study abroad  for a year (the local scholarship-Speedwell)!-(which is contingent upon my acceptance to my host country-Germany)

I’m still waiting for the results for CBYX and YFU, but I will most likely be going abroad regardless if I get rejected to these scholarships. Like my teacher said after I told her of my NSLI-Y rejection, “Things happen for a reason.” Yes. Yes they do.

I’m going to be an exchange student. I’m still in disbelief and shock (I found out last Thursday, March 21). But I am also so grateful. Ich bin sehr dankbar! Dreams really do come true.