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

hello

Gedanken und Meinungen

Ich wohne schon in Deutschland seit twei Monate. Ich habe viel Unterschiede zwischen amerikanischen Kultur und deutschen Kultur gemerkt, und unten steht meine Gedanken und Meinungen von meiner Beobactungen.

I’ve already been in Deutschland for 2 months. I’ve noticed a lot of differences between American and German cultures, and below are my thoughts and opinions from of my observations:

  • Germans are more direct, and they don’t beat around the bush like Americans do
  • Chocolate and cakes taste 100 times better here than in America, especially chocolate.
  • German food is delicious. Schnitzel, Maultaschen, und Bratwurst, oh my!
  • German fashion is more stylish
  • It’s completely normal for guys to wear scarves, and nobody judges them for wearing scarves
  • Some guys seem to care a lot about how they look, the same way girls do
  • It seems like I’ve seen more people with blue or green eyes than brown eyes
  • German TV shows are longer than American TV shows, and the commercials are longer too (but instead of having multiple short commercials, they have only 1 or 2 long ones)
  • The meat is bigger, and products are bought locally
  • It’s okay to wear the same outfit for a couple days in a row
  • Germans care less about sports than Americans (except for soccer)
  • Not everything is made in China
  • Clothes and some other products (like soda and water in a restaurant) are more expensive to buy here than in America
  • Deutsche Sprache, schwierige Sprache” (German language, difficult language…it sounds better in German, but absolutely true)

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.

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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.

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On the Road to Fluency

I’ve been speaking two languages ever since I was born-English and Korean. Of course, my English was more dominant than my Korean since I lived in the United States and I was spoken to more in English. I did, however, learn a little bit of Korean when I was younger. Simple things like, “grandma,””let’s go,””I’m hungry,”etc. Unfortunately, I lost a lot of my Korean knowledge when I grew up. After I became serious about learning foreign languages, I gained it all back and more.

For anyone who hasn’t ready any of my posts before, I’m currently learning German, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, Latin, Italian, and a little bit of Japanese. I’m currently the strongest in German and Korean.

Learning foreign languages can be difficult, but becoming fluent is definitely worth all the effort. Right now, I’m on the road to fluency. 5 years of German has definitely paid off. I can understand German conversations, novels, etc. (for the most part). I can converse, read, and listen pretty easily. Of course, I don’t understand exactly everything. And I definitely write better than I speak. 

After a year and a half of intensively studying Korean, I can understand when my mom is speaking to me and watching Korean children shows (like Pororo)-without the subtitles! The past year and a half, I’ve been studying on the internet, conversing with my mom, watching Korean dramas every night, listening to Kpop, reading some Korean children’s books…Anyways, I still have a long way to go when in comes to Korean. But I can get by. And I’ve definitely improved my skills throughout the years.

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When I go to China and Germany, my Mandarin Chinese skills and German will definitely enhance since I will be immersed into the culture and forced to speak the languages. Until then, all I can do is study, practice, and more studying and practicing!

Easter

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

CBYX Interview

I originally created this blog to talk about the CBYX process, but I haven’t really been doing that…so here’s the first! You can pretty much tell that I received a CBYX interview just by looking at the title of the post. First thing that most people are wondering is what did you wear? What should I wear to the interview? First of all, relax. It’s just an interview, and it is really laid-back.

Females: Skirt/nice dress pants/slacks/nice jeans and  a blouse/blazer/sweater/some sort of nice top. To be honest, don’t stress over the shoes. You can wear flats, heels, or any type of nice shoes. I wore these brown plain ankle boots with a black sweater type shirt and black pants. Your probably thinking to yourself brown ankle boots? Yes. I wore brown ankle boots, because we had inches of snow where I was from and plus I’m sick. I had this whole nice outfit I was going to where, but I decided I would rather be warm than make my illness worse. The interviewers are interviewing you for your personality, not your outfit. Just try to look nice and show them that you care.

Males: Nice shirt/collar shirt and dress pants/nice jeans (I’m not a guy, but this would be acceptable for this type of interview). If you want to wear a suit and tie or a dress, knock yourself out. But, I wouldn’t go over the top. Like I said, you just need to look nice and show them that you at least care.

The interview: My interview was held today at a church, and there were three other applicants there with me (for the morning session). The four of us and our parents sat in a waiting room and we chatted as we waited for our individual interviews. One by one we went into a separate room to be interviewed by a panel of four volunteers. They asked numerous of questions. I’m not going to give out the questions they asked, but I’ll just say that they will be asking hypothetical questions. They ask you all these hypothetical questions, because they want to see if you have the characteristics of a successful exchange student or not and how you would handle these difficult situations. The only question I will give out is the most obvious: Why do you want to go to Germany? Anyways..after all the individual interviews, the other applicants and I were brought back into the interview room. We were told that we had to create a tower using different objects. Sounds easy, but there was a catch. We could not speak any English. It was actually quite fun and interesting. Oh I almost forgot-there were snacks there also! Normally I wouldn’t pass up free food/snacks, but I was sick and already breakfast at McDonald’s so I was already full..oh well!

If you’re a CBYX applicant reading this (and didn’t have your interview yet), my best tips are to stay calm, relax, be confident, friend the other applicants, and just enjoy yourself. There truly is nothing to be nervous/worry about. The other applicants and volunteers will be super nice, friendly, and helpful. Also, do not regret anything after your interview. You can’t change what happened in the past. No matter how bad you think you did, it’s probably not that bad. We all probably feel like we did terrible, but that’s just how us humans are. The more you regret, the more you will stress yourself out.

There are 250 scholarships available in the United States, 50 in your region, and only a couple in your state. There are a lot of deserving applicants, but not everyone will get a scholarship. I wish everyone who applied would receive a scholarship, but the world doesn’t work like that. The best you can do is be happy, keep yourself busy, and pray for the best.  Most importantly, think positive.

Well..now all there is for me to do is wait until March (yes-they told us we would hear in a few weeks: early-mid March). Good luck to my fellow applicants (and future applicants)! 화이팅! /Viel Glück!

Meine Ehre heißt Treue

So earlier today, I had the privilege to help out with the Battle of the Bulge re-enactment. I was walking through some of the German barracks and other German buildings, when I noticed a sign that read, “Meine Ehre heißt Treue.” I became very curious about this (of course), so I decided to look it up.

*Note-the ß in heißt is NOT a capitalized b (B). The ß is the German letter eszett, which is used for the double s (heißt=heisst).

Meine Ehre heißt Treue means My honor is loyalty.  Literally, Meine Ehre heißt Treue means My honor is called loyalty. However, this is actually an idiom that non-native Germans will not understand (myself included.) If my honor is loyalty does not make sense to you, think of it as For me, my honor is my loyalty or my honor is my dignity.

Meine Ehre heißt Treue was the motto for the German Schutzstaffel (also known as SS), which was used to pledge their oath to Adolph Hitler. Brief background information: The Schutzstaffel was a special (and elite) military unit that was formed in April 1925 (in Germany) by Hitler and the Nazi Party, so Hitler could use the men as his personal bodyguards.

I’m not going to go in depth about this, because World War II is a huge topic to talk about. There’s a lot of history with it, and it’s history that we all ought to learn-even minor things like the meaning behind words. Go out and explore the world, you never know what you will see, who you will run into, what you will experience, or what you will learn.

Saint Nicholas’ Day/Der Nikolaustag

Today, December 6th, is St. Nicholas’ Day/Der Nikolaustag. So here’s some brief information/history about St. Nicholas’ Day.

St. Nicholas’ Day is celebrated annually in Germany (and other European countries) on December 6th. St. Nicholas/Sankt Nikolaus is portrayed to be the Bishop of Myra and it is said that his companion is (dark, scary-looking) Knecht Ruprecht. Knecht Ruprecht would wear a tattered robe and carry around a large sack. A legend has it that he would stuff all the naughty children in the sack.

St. Nicholas was the patron of children, students, teachers, bakers, merchants, and sailors. He is also credited with performing miracles on December 6th and also, he was known for his gift-giving to children. German-speaking countries celebrate and feast these miracles to honor him.

Saint Nicholas’ Day Tradition-The evening of December 5th, kids will put their shoes outside their doors (or windows) and St. Nicholas will come put chocolate, goodies, & small toys for the good children and coal for the bad children. Then on December 6th, the little boys and girls will discover their presents (or coal).

I remember back in 2nd grade, my 2nd grade teacher did this with us. I can still remember the little brown bear I found in my shoe and the excitement I felt afterwards. Culture is all around us and you never know how much cultures will intrigue you, unless you take time to experience them.

Life’s Aspirations

For the longest time, I had no idea what I wanted to be.  I’m good at giving advice, maybe I should be a psychologist? I once thought. Maybe a teacher? A veterinarian? How about an anthropologist? But the more I thought about it, the more I knew I couldn’t see myself doing any of these careers for the rest of my life.

Junior year came and I was still undecided. One fateful day came and I had my annual meeting with my guidance counselor. She asked me once again if I had any idea what I wanted to do and of course, I still didn’t know. So then, she plainly asked me, “What’s your favorite class?” I automatically thought, “German, of course.” Then, it hit me. Foreign languages.I always had a love for foreign languages and cultures. Why couldn’t I think of this before?

Foreign languages and cultures have always surrounded my life. I would have to say the biggest influences on my passion for foreign languages are my parents. I was fortunate enough to have a Korean mother who teaches me Korean and gives me a glimpse of the Korean culture throughout my life. Not only has my mom influenced my passion for foreign languages, but also my American father. The main reason why I wanted to study German out of the 4 languages offered at my school was because of him. I still remember the times he would use his limited German (which he remembered from his days in school) and would randomly ask me questions or just say simple phrases like Sitzen Sie in dem Stuhl! Ja! I wanted to learn and understand these random sentences/questions and to one day speak better German than him (which I do now :P). Es tut mir Leid, Vater! 

So what’s my aspiration? I am an aspiring linguist. I am currently studying German, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, and Latin. The feeling of conversing in a foreign language, assimilating foreign cultures, and experiencing different customs ignites a desire within me. My goal is to one day work for the military or the government and use my linguistic skills for the good of my country. Why? Nothing would bring me greater joy than serving my country while pursuing my passion and exploring what the world has to offer. No matter what path life leads me, there are 3 things I’m sure of..First, I wish to always continue studying and one day be fluent in German, Spanish, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Latin (and perhaps others like Japanese and Russian?) Second, I want to fully assimilate the different cultures of the world and truly view life in a foreign country as if I was truly a native. Lastly, I wish to one day help teach why knowing foreign languages and cultures are important (especially in today’s society).

If you don’t know what you’re looking for, it may be difficult to figure out your aspiration in life. However, it could be as simple as searching deep within. Deciding what you want to do with your life shouldn’t be just simply finding a career that pays the most money. Instead, it should be something that you love and can be truly happy doing for the rest of your life.