Sunday, November 30, 2014

KGSP - NEAT and Stuff

As opposed to the action packed week I had last week, this week wasn't as exciting. For the most part it was just class as usual. However on Wednesday we had to do an English proficiency test. Don't ask me why, but the Korean government wanted all the KGSP students to do it.

So we went and did NEAT, which is a new English test made by the Korean government. I have a feeling they wanted us to trial it for them, so we did. As a native English speaker, it was fairly easy. I'm not sure if I got perfect though. I zoned out a few times during the listening portions since it was so slow.

Neat (NEAT).

It was actually harder than I thought it would be. A lot of the answers had to be deducted from the question based on the context, rather than just hearing keywords and marking them down. But yea, it was English so I finished 20 minutes early.

Despite that though, a lot of people didn't finish, even if they were a native speaker. It was actually really long. The last few questions took up a full page to answer a single multiple choice question. One of my favourite questions was an email to a British guy saying how they got used to living in England, especially after almost getting run over by a bus.

My friend took this picture. But I'm assuming these busses are dangerous.

And there was another question that was like, a mail from a restaurant owner to a customer. Then one of the questions was like "so what is the food item that the customer most likely ordered?" and there were four pictures of food.

I was like what. How is this English. Why is this on there. But it was.

Speaking of food, I had this today. Yum.

But yea, other than that it wasn't super exciting. Did some shopping downtown and stuff. Still doesn't feel like winter. It's practically December but it still feels like October. Sigh.

Monday, November 24, 2014

KGSP - Geojedo, New Semester and GSTAR

Man, after a few weeks of not really doing too much, I had like an overload of stuff this past week. Since our semester ended last week, we had a few days off for our "semester break". Part of that was a government sponsored field trip to Geoje.

We were supposed to go to Jeju, but apparently they didn't have enough funding for that so we went to Geoje instead. I was ok with it though, because I would never go to Geoje normally, so it was a free trip to a place I wouldn't have gone to.

It's an island you can drive to because of that bridge in the distance.

That was a surprisingly fun trip. On the first day we went to a famous cliff by the ocean and got to take in some of the natural beauty in that area. That was a pretty cool spot to go to because it was literally a rock cliff by the ocean.

So not only was the view really cool, but it was pretty fun to just like, climb around the rocks and try not to die. We ended up skipping some rocks by the beach they had there too, which meant I was sore for like a week because climbing rocks and throwing rocks are a type of physical activity.

Cool view from a windy cliff.

After that we went to a stone beach, which is pretty much just a big beach that has rocks instead of sand. Wasn't super exciting, but it was still kinda nice to walk around there and look at stuff.

We went to the hotel afterwards. And since this was a government funded trip, we didn't have to pay for it. We were all super surprised when we pulled up to the hotel and it was actually a really fantastic hotel. It was super fancy and super awesome. Wish we could've stayed there for more than one night.

Our view in the morning. Beats our dorm room any day of the week.

The next day we went to do more naturey sightseeing. We went to Tongyeong and took a cable car up a mountain to get a view of the ocean and the city. There, we just did a small hike up to the peak and again there was a lot of climbing rocks and trying not to die.

Super fun time was had. It's just nice to get out of the city and do things you wouldn't normally do you know?

There's me in the middle there.

The final thing we did on that trip was go into the city and check out some of the street art they had there as well as some of the historic old ships they had by the harbour. Overall pretty cool as well, but I enjoyed the nature stuff more I think.

So normally this would already be a blog post worth of content, but wait, there's more! The semester started on Thursday so I had a new class. Despite that, we just continued with the stuff we were learning from before anyways. The most interesting thing was that on the first day we went and made kimchi.

Super random. Kinda gross.

All we did was slother kimchi sauce onto cabbages, so it wasn't that exciting. Super weird though. That was also around the day when I found out that there was going to be a special StarCraft event going on at GSTAR in Busan.

GSTAR is an annual gaming convention that's held in Busan, but I wasn't planning on going since I wasn't sure if it would be worth it. But after finding out that there would be StarCraft, I grabbed some friends and planned the trip.

We waited in this line for an hour to buy tickets to get in.

It wasn't just a regular StarCraft match. It was Brood War. I've never watched Brood War live, and they had Bisu playing, who is a really awesome and famous player. I really wanted to go watch because of that.

We managed to get our tickets in time for the pre-show to start, and I was already really hyped for the games. The games ended up being fairly awesome and they were saying how they were going to do a quick signing session. I ended up being first in line at the cutoff, so I was kinda bummed out about that.

The four players.

We found out afterwards that we could totally walk backstage, so we did. It actually turned out better than if we made it into the signing because they were rushing people through. But backstage there was no rush, so we could actually talk to the players and get pictures with them.

So overall it was really awesome. Got to talk to Bisu and get his autograph and a picture with him, which is fantastic. Made the entire trip worth it right there.

When my friend said she was from Hungary he thought she meant she was hungry.

Afterwards we walked around the convention a bit. StarCraft took up most of the afternoon for us, so we only had like an hour and a half to walk around. As a result we couldn't really line up for anything, and a lot of things were wrapping up.

It was still pretty cool though. Overall the event was a lot bigger and more legit than I thought it would be. Definitely would go again next year and the year after. Probably for at least two days. Need the time to check out the games, get free stuff and network with people you know.

Mostly Korean games, but still really cool.

And yea, that was my week haha. Long post for a fun filled week. Definitely one of my favourite, if not my favourite week of my stay in Korea so far. I doubt this week will be as fun haha.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

KGSP - Level 1 Complete

Earlier this week apparently there was an unofficial celebration event day thing called Pepero Day. Pepero is essentially Korean Pocky. But on November 11 instead of remember the end of World War I like the rest of the world, Koreans buy Pepero and give them to people.

It's supposed to be similar to Valentines Day or something. People are just supposed to hand out Pepero to people they like, or to just give it to friends because why not? For me, it just means I get free snacks haha. I'm always down for free snacks.

Giant Pepero for breakfast? Awesome.

I've also finished the first semester of my studies. It doesn't really feel like a semester since it's only been like two and a half months, but whatever. I wrote the exam for my level 1 class on Thursday, and even thought I haven't gotten my marks yet, I know I passed.

That pretty much means I get to start level 2 on Thursday, which is kinda exciting. It's cool to kinda experience an objective measure of progression. Everything still needs more work, but I can already feel my Korean improving with each passing week.

Our class with two of our teachers.

We had to dress up in Hanbok as part of like, the end of semester celebration. I thought it was kinda silly, plus mine didn't really fit well. But whatever, cultural exchange and all that stuff right?

Yesterday I went skating for the first time in Korea. The lounge here had an activity that foreigners could sign up for, so I signed up for that because the occasional skating trip is pretty fun. As usual it's fun seeing people skate for the first time.

I noticed a disproportionate female to male ratio for this event.

Aside from all that the week wasn't all that exciting. Our "semester break" technically started on the Saturday, but in reality we only have the weekend off and three days. Two of those days are for our field trip so we only really get one additional day off.

Regardless, free time is cool. Finally got back to some programming today. Hopefully I'll be able to get more done in the next couple of months. I wanna actually get back into game deving so I don't get rusty. But that will have to wait until Wednesday, because tomorrow I'm heading to Geojedo!

I have no idea what's here, but hey, free trip (Wikipedia).

Should be fun I think.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

KGSP - Trees and Stuff

So considering how it's fall, the leaves are changing colours here. To make the most of the season, me and some of my friends decided to go to the arboretum here to check out the trees and stuff. You know you're running low on things to do when you decide to go look at that stuff.

It was actually pretty cool though. I didn't really know what to expect, but it turned out that it was pretty much a park that had a bunch of trees, flowers and greenhouses for people to look at.

Flowers arranged in the shape of horses and dragons.

It was a pretty nice park. Unfortunately we went maybe a week or two too late, so half of the trees were already bare or bareish. If we went a bit earlier I think it would've been really nice. But since the arboretum was actually pretty ok, we might go back in the spring.

In the greenhouses, they had a bunch of stuff too like a cactus exhibit and a tropical fruit exhibit. That was kinda cool. I don't normally see that stuff often, so it was cool to see random things like cacti.

This greenhouse reminded me of the pterodactyl cage in Jurassic Park.

After that, we went and watched the movie Interstellar. That was a pretty cool movie. I really enjoyed it. It was definitely one of those movies that made you think a bit. It was also really nice aesthetically so I appreciated that too.

Aside from that, this week was pretty standard. Blizzcon was this weekend so I set my alarm for 3:45 AM to watch the opening ceremony. Was totally worth it. I expected expansion news for Hearthstone and StarCraft, but I didn't expect them to announce a new IP.

Pixar level cinematic. Blizzard is just completely next level on this stuff.

I'm normally not a big fan of this genre, but I was hooked from the trailer alone and would probably give it a try. It's been 17 years since Blizzard released a new IP so I'm really interested to see what they do with it.

It's definitely a smart move. It's a completely different genre than what they're used to so they're expanding their portfolio. In addition it's not the most developed genre so they have a lot of room to experiment as well. Really excited to see what comes out of this game.

Have I mentioned how much I love the art style? (Blizzard)

I have an exam this week. Assuming I pass I'll be put into level 2 for my Korean classes, which should be exciting. It's also exciting because I get a few days off afterwards as a break, which is appreciated.

I really need to start studying though.

Monday, November 3, 2014

KGSP - Sick Halloween

I'm fairly certain like most of my entries at this point have been posted not on a Sunday. I've been complaining about them at the beginning of every entry too, so it's pretty noticeable I'm sure. Anyways, another Monday entry >_>

So this was a relatively relaxing week since I didn't do much. I think I got infected with something on my trip to Busan because I started feeling kinda off the few days after that and I ended up with a cold in the middle of the week, which sucked.

This bastard (Wikipedia).

As a result I didn't really feel like doing anything. Weather has also been getting kinda colder now too, which I'm not too happy about. I was gonna go buy a coat or something, but due to my cold I decided not too go out shopping.

It was also Halloween on Friday. As usual I didn't dress up because I'm just not that type of person, but I went to the International Lounge's celebration event. It was alright, some costume contests, some food, some socialling. Ended way too early though.

I didn't take any pictures, so here's their poster.

It was overall a pretty cool event. Kinda wish it was longer than 2.5h though.

I also went and watched the movie Gone Girl this weekend with some of my friends. It was an alright movie. Definitely not what I expected, but it was good. Surprisingly enough it wasn't that expensive to watch it in theatres. 9000 KRW normally, but we had a coupon to bring it down to 6000 KRW.

I expected a movie more akin to "Liam Neeson finds his daughter". That's not this movie (Wikipedia)

But yea. One of my less exciting weeks I guess. Reflected in this blog post by the lack of taken pics too.