Preparation Guidelines For A Swim Meet

With some solid base training, now is the time for KIS Varsity swimmers to show what they’ve got.

With the realization that mid-spring season is just around the corner, KIS Varsity swimmers from coast to coast are getting their goggles ready, priming up for one of the biggest meets of the year. KAIAC A/B Tournament at Chadwick International School will occur for the span of two days, from March 10th to 11th. As important as the competition is to the swim team as a whole, the swimmers have likewise shaved and tapered off their times to get prepped for the big race.  After weeks of investing all of the after school practices and those seemingly impossible routine sets, the opportunity to garner the rewards of the hard work is up to the students themselves. Now, it is the matter of how each and every swimmer is going to pull this off.

All swimmers are aware of the basic prerequisites needed to keep in mind before any race: rest, nutrition, gear, warm-up, and focus. It is clearly a given that double-checking on the essentials in a swim bag, consisting of a racing suit, goggles, cap, and any extraneous items such nutrition bars and dry towels, is crucial to do at least several days in advance. Along with a well-rested body and a positive, determined attitude, the swimmers would be able to get some of that pre-race anxiety off – the psychological and physical well-being in check. However, what other additional series of checklists do swimmers follow besides the very basics? After asking some of the fellow KIS student athletes, a wide array of responses revealed a lot more secrets to a good swim.

1. What do you do few days before a swim meet in preparation for the race?

“To be honest, I am the type to pack up everything the night before a meet, instead of doing it several days early. Few things I do before the race is of course carbo-load, such as whole-wheat pasta and lots of fruits and vegetables. I also learned recently that listening to music helps me get rid of the pre-race jitters as well, something to pump me up with a heavy, fast beat.”

– Matthew Lee, Sophomore

Girls getting ready for the next event (PC: Ashley Kim)


2. What do you do on the day of the swim meet?

“Nothing much. I just try to sleep early the night before, and on the day of the meet, I basically try not to eat anything. Maybe I’ll allow a banana or two, but nothing else because if I feel too full, I can’t swim as fast as I want to. It’s also important to drink some water in between breaks.”

– Sarah Hong, Junior


Only a few seconds away from jumping off the diving board (PC: Ashley Kim)



3. How do you deal with peer pressure and unfamiliar environments during a swim meet?

“Although at times I am caught under unfamiliar environments, especially as the only freshmen girl on the swim team, I often try my best to ‘adapt’ to such conditions by beginning conversations with other swimming team members or speaking to other school swimmers. Referring to peer pressure, I don’t think I am necessarily uncomfortable in new conditions; however, it is true that I attempt to ‘flow with the crowd’ by cheering on other team mates or by preparing for my own strokes.”

– Jennifer Kim, Freshmen 

Members having fun after the relays (PC: Ashley Kim)

The best swimmers in the world have techniques that help them perform to their utmost ability, and they consider these strategies as they prep for tournaments. Obviously, the central objective of a swim meet is to see who can swim the fastest – to bring swimmers together and have them compete against one other. But the competition is only a part of the swim meet experience. Regardless of the outcome, good sportsmanship and enjoying the sheer participation of events are included in the sport that students work so hard to be part of.

A key point to remember about tournaments is that it is also supposed to be fun, full of cheering each other on and bonding with other school swimmers. Alongside these mental side notes, months of swimming and planning with intent always lead to a successful swim meet.

– Ashley Kim (’18)

5 Reasons Why Change Is Necessary

Change is paramount in some situations.

Let’s face it, change always sounds so nerve-racking. We were often told to establish ourselves into that commonplace phrase, “go with the flow”, we are subject to question how transformation is such a natural part of life and the human evolution. This is a given; it is something inevitable, yet very manageable at the same time. However, how come many of us tend to digress more towards the behavior towards resistance, while not even realizing that change itself is constant? So are unexpected changes essentially bad? What if all of the so-called changes cycling throughout life were deemed good by default?


Many people like to stay within their comfort zone, and for good reason. Even something as little as taking up a small daily challenge stirs up that feeling of disruption, alarm, and uneasiness, whereas our bodies naturally yearn for soft spot of security. But in the end, change happens to all of us, a logical part of life that everybody goes through. When we take time to reflect upon the natural environment, we begin to observe very complex patterns going through stages of transitions in life. So while some change may indubitably be acceptable, sometimes we end up with disruption-type adjustments that certainly don’t feel welcome.


On a much happier note, embracing change is not as difficult as people may perceive. Once you start looking into the inherent nature of change itself, you’ll be able to notice the many benefits that follow.


  1.    Change triggers growth

Each change is a turning page, the closing of one chapter and the opening of another. They may force us to adapt to conditions we’ve never set foot in before, but it does also bring new beginnings and excitement to life. It also acts as a major impetus of personal, social, psychological, and professional development.


  1.    Change challenges your values and beliefs

Embracing change involves the steps of re-evaluating your beliefs and virtues. Although this might sound a little scary at first, if you’re open to accepting new challenges, you may find to take away something important. Otherwise, change might just be able to strengthen the currently existing belief system, instead of a whole new transformation. Either way, you would feel more empowered.


  1.    Change unveils your strengths

If you force yourself to avoid changes at all cost, you might never be able to recognize youre true strengths and weakness, as the measure of your own capabilities will be inaccurate. It is true that not all changes are necessarily pleasant ones, but it’s life – life is prone to sad things that occur daily as well. Yet, it’s the overcoming tough times that will help you gain a stronger sense of self.


  1.    Change disintegrates routines

Routine really depends on how someone interprets it. It may be an everyday regimen like brushing your teeth and making your bed, or things that can leave you in a helpless rut, a potential cause to depression and immense stress. By disbanding some of the routines that take place in your daily life, the changes that will pursue remind your brain to stay active and channel your inner thoughts to refocus on more positive thought arrangements.


  1.    Change leads to new opportunities

Mutability in the way you live your life, even in the slightest method ever dreamed possible, can present new surprises that ultimately lead to the domino effect. This provides more options, which in the end, creates a broader perspective of seeing the world. Altering the main life pattern might seem something terrifying at first, but it is important to keep in mind that with these newly established assets, you can be satisfied with a more fulfilling, authentic lifestyle.


In a nutshell, people who believe they have achieved some security by doing the same, familiar things just might be living in denial. Even those who think they are pushing away change will finds themselves unable stop the world from constantly shifting form. Of course, like any new skill, learning to accept change takes some time. However, it is, after all, handy to keep in mind of all the powerful impacts that change could bring – not only on your own life, but on the lives of those around you as a whole.


– Ashley Kim (’18)

Featured Image: Celine Yoon (’19)


Taiwan’s Jerry Taxi Scandal: What Victim-Blaming Reveals

Jerry Taxi rape is unveiling the grim chain of rape culture – and a little something else.

Rape. It’s what nightmares are made of, a fear that we harbor at least once in our lifetime, the absolute loss of control, terror grasped at hand. The exact devastation occurred recently in Taipei, January 15, when a taxi driver was detained Sunday for sexually assaulting one of three female South Korean tourists who hired him for a day trip around northern Taiwan.

The driver working under the Jerry Taxi tour company, professedly identified as Chan (詹), slipped in a knockout drug into a probiotic drink he gave the three women before sexually attacking one of the two who passed out in his vehicle. The third woman, who was not entirely unconscious because she only had a sip of the spiked drink, was suggested to have a tour around the Shilin night market while Chan allegedly harassed the two remaining friends.


Photo credits to Wikitree

The bigger problem surfaces, not directed towards the incident itself, but more to the significance behind it. Amidst the flurry of encouragements sent from the Korean netizens consoling the tourists, a few minority comments were found pointing out things ranging from “why did the girl decide to drink the yogurt without any suspicion” to “it’s her fault for trusting the taxi driver”. This brings up a sad but inevitable truth often understated in the public. Including but not limited to rape-free alarms and anti-molestation jacket, the message is evident: people should try harder to not get raped.

Victim blaming is not entirely universal, but it still seems to be a natural psychological reaction. People today live in a culture that not only places sexually harassed victims as the scapegoat but also preaches potential targets, especially women, that it is their responsibility to take care of themselves. However, rape survivors frequently turn to a more intimate source of blame: they end up reproaching themselves for what had happened. So why, in spite of the clearly obvious fact that the perpetrator is to blame of all crimes, does victim-blaming never cease to take place in society?

In order to stop the self-blame, the person must will itself to overcome the fear of the wrongdoer. Of course, that would not be an easy task, as the victim would be ultimately powerless to face the reality. Strictly speaking, there are things in the world that people just cannot restrain from happening — and rape victims especially want to believe that running away from existence will solve the problem. It is little wonder that these subjects blame themselves, bearing in mind that people have been raised to believe that sexual assault, in essence, is bad.


Photo credits to Women Under Siege


Despite all, the societal misogyny, stereotypes about male and female sexual character (“it was just his natural human instinct” and “she was asking for it”), and fallacious misconceptions about rape (“if she didn’t say ‘no,’ she’s the one to fault”), all manifest contributions to victim-blaming, should be put to an end. At any rate, if a person is subject to being questioned what the victim could have done differently to avoid the crime, he or she is still somewhat engaging in the practice of victim-blaming. In fact, from a downplayed perspective, one may not always realize that they’re participating in it. The act can surely go unnoticed in the everyday life. Even something as little as considering the options of the crime scene in the victim’s point of view, trying to take the sensible approach, is actually one of the mildest yet most potent forms of victim-blaming. Without realizing, all of these can potentially lead to rape itself — and taking a step to genuinely solving them would be way more productive than worrying about what women should wear, conforming to the socially “acceptable” standards.

As one acknowledges that sexual violence can happen to anyone at any time, one does not need to speculate upon the reasons that the victim conjured to deserve the consequences, but begin to think about why the offender decided to commit such acts. Admittedly, rape is never the victim’s fault; hence, the victims should not be ashamed of what they have gone through. The society’s moral outlook sway many people’s view of perceiving things in the world, and it is time to stop the chastisement of supposedly provocative attire or late night walks and focus on what is really important. That is the only way one can seize control around life, yearn and yield the “just community” everybody wants to take part in.
– Ashley Kim (‘18)

Header credits: Isstime

How to Transition Your Wardrobe Effortlessly From Fall To Winter

Is it too cold yet? Is it only a little chilly? It’s a good idea to pay attention to this guide for f/w wardrobe transition.

Even state-of-the art weather forecast apps aren’t accurate enough for Mother Nature’s whims, just like every one of you who probably stepped out in a lightweight fall ensemble the very day it decided to switch to winter. Without warning, a silk scarf, a skimpy corduroy mini skirt, and a denim jacket wouldn’t cut it — even if the combo is #OOTD gold. Because thin, barely-there layers won’t stand a chance against the thick sweaters and fur coats as we start plowing through the chilling months, it’s time to bulk up your arsenal with winter-proof upgrades, and ditch the classic fall standbys. Once you start incorporating these seasonable wardrobe changes, you’ll be ready to face winter’s most frigid days while still being able to remain chic as ever. And fortunately, it only takes a few key pieces of clothing accessories to easily make that fashion transition. Who said change is hard?
Out with: Thin pullovers
In with: Chunky sweater
Leave light layers behind in favor of lush, chunky sweaters – it’s now cold enough to stash all your sheer, thin clothing in the back of your closet. If cotton frocks are your go-to, consider swapping in the dresses with a more substantial texture, like velvet or corduroy.


Out with: Flimsy sandals
In With: Chelsea boots
It’s time you put away your thin, sleek ballet flats for lace-up oxfords or even better, black ankle boots that will prep you to deal with slick, icy street grounds. They can range from thick Doc Martens to clunky steppers – everything that you own from the autumn season already!


Out with: Warm Earth Tones
In with: Deeper Color Palate
The warm earth tones of fall are typically replaced during winter with deep indigo, crimson, shimmery gold and crisp iPod-white to complement the season. Add a charcoal gray wool tunic, a navy blue peacoat or a pair of orchid-purple pumps to your wardrobe to represent the current color trends and to get through the winter blahs.


Out with: Single-piece Cardigan
In with: A Staple Statement Coat
Much of your wardrobe works for both seasons, but your winter coat is your statement piece and serves as a canvas for broadcasting your personal style, so take full advantage of it. Unlike fall when you can get away with donning a lightweight knitwear or cardigan on colder occasions, you probably need a proper coat that is wearable everywhere even in the coldest months. Opt for a neutral shade that goes with everything, such as matte black or slate gray, or take this chance to sprinkle some color over your normally muted winter wardrobe, such as indian pink or a toned down mustard.

2013 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Whenever the seasons shift, the vast majority of us find ourselves fumbling through our closets, plagued by confusion, not sure whether we should dress for the current season, the upcoming season, or some weird hybrid of the two (if that is even possible). Because transitional seasons are always so difficult, we always come up with a series of questions: do you dress for the weather or the season? How do you look fashionable and timely when the temperature and season of the year seems to be clashing? Don’t sweat it, mind your fabrics, work those wool, and say goodbye to fall. After all, a smooth transition to winter comes down to identifying how you want to spend your time and creating wise new style habits for the next four months.

– Ashley Kim (’18)


The Pho-bulous Emoi Review

Indulge in some pho-nomenal Vietnamese cuisine found in the Emoi Restaurant.

In recent years, a deluge of Vietnamese restaurants have surfaced, bringing delicious Pho, a spice-filled broth served with rice noodles, to the public. For gourmands like me, I couldn’t be happier. Lemongrass and herbs, rice and noodles, all fresh and remarkably healthy – how could one resist such delicacy?

Recently, news happened to travel into my ears that a new pho restaurant opened in Garosougil, a tourist hot-spot bustling with trendsetters, fashionistas, and foodies. As food and passion go naturally hand in hand for me, I was psyched to see if the rave behind the idea extended to the food itself.

Located just around the corner of the massive School Food building was a little establishment with bright yellow-and-orange lights flashing its name: Emoi.

A little side note: the restaurant is open for 24 hours. (PC: Yoo Bin Shin)

The interior was nice and cozy, with wooden walls and interesting looking lamp lights giving off a warm glow all around the atmosphere. As expected, almost all tables were occupied, the whole place humming with the sound of servers scurrying around and the delightful chatter of people filling the air. I was lucky enough to grab a table just beside the window.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get hold of any pictures of the menu itself, but it was very simple and only consisted of six dishes: Pho Bo, Premium Pho, Bun Cha Gio Tom Nuong, Fried Rice, Nem Chua, and Stir-Fried Water Spinach. Within the Premium Pho, the dish was further divided into three different phos – Smoky-Flavored Pho, Beef Brisket Pho, and Tender Beef Brisket Pho. They all looked absolutely delicious, but due to the shortage of ingredients, I had to order the Smoky-Flavored Pho instead of the regular Pho Bo, along with Beef Brisket Pho, Bun Cha, and Fried Rice.

very traditional looking tableware giving off a nod towards Southeast Asian culture (PC: Yoo Bin Shin)

After about ten minutes, the first two dishes arrived: the Smoky-Flavored Pho and Beef Brisket Pho, Hanoi style. One interesting thing I noticed was that unlike other Vietnamese restaurants, Emoi did not provide the regular double-sauce condiments but rather, just a little side-dish of sliced cayenne peppers. Customers could separately ask for sriracha, but I decided to leave the broth as it is and taste its untouched flavor. The Smoky-Flavored Pho did live up to its name; the beef was cooked on fire, which made the broth heartier and generate a deeper, savory taste. On the other hand, Beef Brisket Pho had a clearer broth, and as I sipped it I could definitely detect more of the spicy flavor coming from the peppers that the Smoky-Flavored Pho concealed. I personally preferred the Beef Brisket Pho, which best resembled the original pho itself, although both were very pleasant.

Smoky-Flavored Pho (PC: Yoo Bin Shin)
Beef Brisket Pho (PC: Yoo Bin Shin)


Next up was the Fried Rice. The dish consisted of a lovely mix of thin jasmine rice, little spring onion chunks, sliced carrots, egg, etc, all stirred well together to create a scrumptious combination. No other words were needed – I promptly dove in and ended up finishing it in less than twenty minutes. So pho, so good.

The anticipated fried rice that made me fall in love all over again (PC: Yoo Bin Shin)

Last but not least, the pièce de résistance arrived at the table: Bun Cha. When the plate showed up, it was like peering into a gift box – lots and lots of nice things to discover. The fat wonton-style meatballs were nestled in with raw vermicelli rice noodles, tender pork belly, and fried Nem Chua rolls served alongside a handful of nose-stinging cilantro and a special type of nuoc cham sauce. The sauce had a sweet and sour taste, rather piquant, with ground garlic and carrots that could either be tipped over the whole dish or eaten separately. The beef stock itself was especially rich, had multi-layered flavors, and was overall wholesome and comforting.

a pho-togenic dish (PC: Yoo Bin Shin)

Worth the hype? Word of mouth? Intrigue? Whatever. This restaurant is perfect for a meal for two, a crowd of friends or a solo lunch with the kitchen for minimum company. As always, pho is a welcome and very affordable addition to the Garosougil dining scene. Emoi is a must-go.

– Ashley Kim (‘18)

The Impact of Anti-Graft Law on Jeong (情) in Korea

Anti-Graft Law stirs up wariness all around Korea as it strives to curtail collusion between businesses, stemmed from the public concern.

Wining and dining, gift giving, and personal solicitation have long been part of an everyday regimen in achieving successful social life in Korea. At what point does bringing gifts to show gratitude turn into a sign of illicit solicitation? In the midst of the sparking controversy over Kim Young-ran Act (an anti-graft law drafted to address rampant bribery and corruption issues), this question helps understand many reasons for public confusion that came from the clash between a notion of gift giving as a tradition and a call for generating a more just society.   

According to the ruling of the Constitutional Court, public officials, school teachers, and any civic individuals are capable of being arrested, should they receive gifts in any form that exceeds 1 million won. Also, persons convicted of accepting such endowment or the equivalent monetary value will be sentenced to up to three years in prison—a legislation that sets KRW 30,000 as the maximum value of one meal in work-related environments, KRW 50,000 for gifts of any kind, and KRW 100,000 for gifts dealt with personal events such as weddings.   

Students providing handmade snacks for the teachers and other students during last year’s KIStival (PC: Joey Park)

Many ordinary individuals in Korea are experiencing sweeping changes in their day-to-day lives. Students and teachers are no exception. As anti-graft law affects a small student community in the Korea International School, the entire relationship between the faculty and students are experiencing drastic alterations. Even stricter regulations are enforced in KIS, meaning gifts of the lowest value such as a KRW 1,000 worth cup of coffee are prohibited on school grounds. Expressing their personal concerns, teachers and students alike broached their opinions on the anti-corruption law coming into effect from October 2016.

“Bribery is constantly taking place in Korea. Teachers were frequently solicited by parents to write good recommendations for their children. They are exposed to opportunities for being bribed. This unjust social practice must be reformed. So the anti-graft law is an appropriate measure for the country. This should be welcome in KIS as well.” Minoo Yun, a fellow junior noted.

Mr. Reschke, who is an AP Economics teacher, stated that the school community should be exempted from the act. “As one who coaches a sports team and writes letters of recommendation, I understand the students’ passion to lead and succeed. Small gifts should be allowed as a token of gratitude. We teachers are professionals after all and clearly use discretion when receiving gifts at a reasonable price. Therefore, I don’t believe bribery is a serious issue here in KIS.”

Students enjoying each other’s company in Chinese class (PC: Joey Park)

 According to the students, the main point that many are struggling to adapt to is expressing jeong (: a strong sense of emotional attachment). Korean society is characteristically relationship-oriented. With its long history within the psyche of the Korean people, a prominent sense of compassion and empathy (온정주의, 溫情主義), which underlines showing reciprocal appreciation and gratitude in creating a strong attachment bond, lies at the heart of the senior-junior relationship. In this manner, swapping gifts, sharing food, and cooperating with one another have regularly been viewed as a natural component of any relationship building even among young students in Korea.

Jeong is extremely difficult to be completely removed from Korean society because it is engraved in the hearts of the people as a vital element of their traditional culture. Thus Korean society has but a single solution: becoming adapted to the new situation that the new act brought about, but never forgetting the essence of its customs that teaches us how to appreciate one another.

– Ashley Kim (’18)

Featured Image: Joey Park (’18)

Meet the 2016 Emmys Best Dressed

Here are some of the best and brightest Hollywood styles that simply blew us away.

This just in: Hollywood’s leading TV personalities have officially brought on the heat. The awards season is approaching, which calls for primetime perfection and an ideal excuse for the biggest stars to flaunt their best looks down the red carpet. From sequined, sheer, tiered, vivid, draped, and ruched, the 2016 Emmy Awards brought out some of the top-notch fashion on the red carpet, thanks to the nominees from respectfully acclaimed and celebrated programs such as “Empire”, “Game of Thrones”, and “Orange Is the New Black”.

Some celebs opted for a classic and demure look, while others spiced theirs up with slightly more risque silhouettes. Judging from the outlook, the 68th Annual Primetime Emmys not only brings together television’s best and brightest to celebrate their hard work and success, but it also motivates the entertainment industry to show off their style A-game. As the floor-dusting gowns and textured tuxedos constantly captured people’s hearts, it is time to seek for the stars who totally owned the red carpet. After all, there is nothing wrong with honoring those who put their Jimmy Choos forward and impressed everyone with their eye-catching looks.

Take a look at the five stellar ensembles of the night that instantly made jaws drop.

  • Tom Hiddleston
PC: E! Online

Tom Hiddleston was one seriously sexy sight to see when he hit the red carpet that night, looking absolutely dapper as he posed in a fitted Gucci suit, flashing his baby blue eyes at the cameras, which in turn, caused many girls’ hearts to beat just a little faster from that sultry eye-lock. His minimalist look paired with a simple slicked-back hairstyle were more than enough to be qualified as “dashing” among the many preened actors.

  • Priyanka Chopra
PC: US Magazine

The Quantico actress showed up looking resplendent in a crimson one-shouldered Jason Wu number, the smoldering presence completed with Brian Atwood heels and a swipe of ruby red lips to match. Lets face it: everybody loves to twirl around in their favorite dress when occasion allows, and Priyanka has the every little right to sashay down the red carpet with her daring ensemble. Even so, her bright, confident smile does seem to add the final accessorizing touch to her look, as she flashes her pearly-whites in front of the cameras because well, she knows she looks that good herself.

    • Kristen Bell
PC: IB Times

With the plunging neckline, intricate floral details and a billowing skirt, Kristen Bell effortlessly captured the right-out-of-the-fairytale look with her stunning Zuhair Murad gown. To top it all off, she paired it with natural blow-dried honey blonde locks, neutral makeup, and Harry Winston jewels. The audience cannot suss out what more they are taken aback from: the curvy silhouette or the sexy-yet-elegant backless demeanor.

  • Emilia Clarke
PC: Tom and Lorenzo

Amidst the flashy beaded frocks down the A-list runway, Emilia Clarke clearly stole the show in a nude strapless Atelier Versace floor-length gown with ruched detail at the bust and delicate diamond jewelry. Keeping things to the bare minimum, the British star sported a tied back chignon and taupe lip color which heightened her glamor-level to something off the charts. Perhaps it’s the way the star carries herself — confident and exuding power, just like a queen — which made her look extra-regal, to the point of seeing her Game of Thrones alter ego Daenerys Targaryen come to life.

  • Millie Bobby Brown
PC: Vanity Fair

If stepping onto the red carpet and turning heads was a challenge, Millie Bobby Brown of Stranger Things (aka Eleven) would forever be unobstructed, always rising to the occasion. The night was all about the razzle-dazzle and she brought a hearty dose of it in an embroidered Valentino Red sheer gown. She managed to pull off an age appropriate look while still staying on-trend with the metallic bird appliqués to express her adorably chic style- making her first major award show appearance a massive success. If there is anyone worthy of looking up to as an epitome of a style icon rocking the fearless buzz cut, it would be Millie – something that even adults can’t get right sometimes.

In short, wherever the red carpet is concerned, the spirit and courage is what packs a punch. Each position along the crimson path, where on-camera reporters await to flatter and wolf-whistle, render a shining new moment to make an entrance and strut down the catwalk in an outfit best suited for endless posing. The attendees can’t all be Emmy winners, of course, but for those who boldly decided to go where few would tag along, they’ll have a victorious marking on the best-dressed lists in the end. From sleek, gilded column dresses to handcrafted jewels in the most imaginable collection possible, a handful of celebrities stood out from the rest thanks to their styling choices — and often, their sartorial risks scrutinized by panels and critics paid off in a sizable way.

What looks were your personal favorite, and what do you anticipate for the next year’s Emmy Awards?

– Ashley Kim (‘18)

Featured Image: Vanity Fair

A Memorable Experience At Aikangwon

The juniors reflect upon their experience at the Aikangwon Social Welfare Foundation and the new discoveries about the disabled individuals from their second Experiential Education trip.

As the buzzing atmosphere among students exchanging welcome-back greetings slowly died down after the first few weeks of school, the juniors embarked on an adventure to Aikangwon Social Welfare Foundation at Geoje Island for their second Experiential Education trip. Composed of a wide array of pastime projects specially coordinated by the faculty members, the three day journey was centered on volunteer service for the mentally and physically disabled at the Aikangwon headquarter. While taking a much needed break and reducing stress related to school work, the Class of 2018 were able to spend quality time and share many unforgettable memories with the handicapped individuals.

The juniors were presented with a variety of arduous physical activities ranging from hiking to kayaking in the ocean, not to mention taking an uncountable number of selfies as well. After the exhausting set of events, students were soon greeted by warm embraces from the fellow residents at Aikangwon. Although some people took a longer time to get adjusted to the new environment, it only took a matter of minutes to completely blend in with the atmosphere and enjoy the residents’ company. Proceeding through various different team-building exercises such as dancing to music, struggling through an egg race, and even a phenomenal marimba performance, the students gradually broke down their walls and fully interacted with the Aikangwon locals. Another bonding activity accompanied by a special piggy-­bank making period was given as well, tightening their bond even further. Bodies completely drained but hearts full, the entire faculty staff and rest of the students ended the day with a series of mini games as an advisory, short sessions to commemorate the entire experience at Geoje Island as classmates. It was overall a perfect time to reflect upon what have been done and felt on the EE trip – a chance to build more intimate relationships with each other.

The teachers and students enjoying the crisp air as they hike up the mountain (PC: Joey Park (’18))

Several students volunteered, voicing their opinions about the entire trip as a whole and expressing their honest views. While diverse reactions to the trip were apparent, the overall feedback by students, despite some downsides, was highly satisfactory and positive, especially towards the Aikangwon experience.

1) Was it your first chance to interact with the disabled? If so, how valuable was the experience? What lessons did you learn from it?

My trip to Aikangwon was the first time I interacted with the disabled. At first, it was uncomfortable not being able to communicate with the disabled. I tried to talk to a middle aged man with disabilities, but he did not respond no matter how many times I tried talking to him. But I soon learned from this experience that verbal communication is not the only way to form and strengthen bonds with others. By simply smiling to them, I could create a sense of connection with them, which was a deep and meaningful joy.

– Daewon Hong (‘18)

This was not my first time interacting with people with disabilities, but it certainly was the first time I interacted with them so closely and individually. As typical as this may sound, it was honestly an eye-opening experience that broke down prejudice. Now I feel really connected with persons with disabilities. They are really enthusiastic about everything. In the first place, they are not so different from us.

– Suahn Hur (‘18)

Yes, this was my first time interacting with people with disabilities on this trip. It was an absolutely wonderful experience because even though I have done community service before, it was nothing of this sort. Never in my life did I spend time with people with disabilities such as Down Syndrome or Autism. As stated, we realized how lucky we were. Every single person, who went on the EE trip, won the birth lottery. We are seldom reminded of it. We are all human beings, no matter the physical characteristics we were born with. We should not forget that.

– Sean Choi (‘18)

Matthew Kim (’18) smiling next to one of the Aikangwon locals (PC: Joey Park (’18))

2) In the world today, there is no denying that individuals with mental or physical handicaps tend to be discriminated or even shunned by society at large. What do you feel about this? How should this problem be alleviated?

I believe that discrimination against persons with mental or physical disabilities is morally wrong. Although those with mental or physical disabilities may seem intimidating at first, they are no different from us. They have the same emotions! They laugh, they smile, and they cry. Treating them with contempt is not acceptable.

– Daewon Hong (‘18)

I am worried that such barriers never cease to exist within our society, but I think it is inevitable. The best we can do is educating ourselves to truly understand the different actions of others, of their emotions and intentions.

– Suahn Hur (‘18)
I honestly think that it is impossible to solve this problem. I believe that prejudice is genetically programmed into the human nature. With misjudgment comes people’s tendency toward speaking their mind and taking action without deep consideration of others. Of course, we also have a sense of guilt. I am no exception. I felt uncomfortable when I did wrong to other people.
– Sean Choi (‘18)

A group of friends posing for a photo on the shore before kayaking (PC: Ashley Kim (’18))

3) What was your favorite activity of the trip? Did you face any difficulties or uncomfortable situations that you wish would be solved for the juniors next year?

My favorite activity during the trip was going to the beach. It was fun simply relaxing on the beach. However, I would like to point out that our hostel should have offered quality food. I wish the rising juniors would enjoy cleaner and better one for their next trip.

– Daewon Hong (‘18)

My favorite activity during the trip was kayaking! Our activity group decided to cross the ocean and visit a little island. It turned out to be quite scary and physically difficult on the way. But I realized that teamwork between friends is one of the most important factors in overcoming challenges.

– Suahn Hur (‘18)

My favorite activity was the talent shows we performed on the first day and the last day of our trip. This showed how talented we all were. All of us were capable of demonstrating athletic skills, musical skills, and dancing skills. I would like to leave one message: “No one is disabled. Instead, everyone is differently abled.”

– Sean Choi (‘18)

Claire Yoon (’18) and her partner share a tearful embrace when it is time to say goodbye (PC: Joey Park (’18))

For the first time in a long while, both the juniors and the faculty were able to temporarily release their stress and forget the social burden attained by the start of a new semester. As they detached themselves from their daily routines, the fresh air and time out in the wild served as a respite to the minds of the students. Although the opportunity to come in contact with the disabled was a completely new experience for many members, it certainly proved a pivotal point that irrevocably changed their lives by new lessons obtained through reaching out and collaborating in different ways. As it is important to demolish the initial emotional barrier between disabled and non-disabled persons, one also should remember that the ultimate aim of mutual understanding should be considered the most important objective in relationships. One thing all students can definitely take away from the experience is that this trip will be a memoir one will never forget.

– Ashley Kim (’18)

Rio Olympics in a Nutshell: South Korea’s Achievements

From archery to golf, South Korea earns some of the biggest successes of Olympic history during the 17-day span.

The once-buzzing two week session of the summer Olympics has finally come to a close, and South Korea was not an exception for bringing a wide array of national sports heroes into the country’s frontier. Standing proudly in front of the podium facing hundreds of journalists and fans, the athletes attended the press conference on August 24th, celebrating the end of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and South Korea’s outstanding accomplishments overall.

Placed eighth out of 206 countries, South Korea managed to stay rooted in the grounds of Top 10 for four years straight, all the way back from Athens 2004 to Beijing 2008, London 2012, and today at Rio 2016. Also, out of 28 sports categories with the two recent additions of golf and rugby, South Korea was able to bring home 9 gold medals, 3 silver medals, and 9 bronze medals overall. Their solid effort clearly evident, the athletes never ceased to amaze the audience with their hard-earned achievements shining brightly on a string of green around their necks.

Athletes rendering respect to South Korea’s national anthem

First off, South Korea danced all over their rivals to complete a clean sweep of all four titles in the Olympic archery event yet again in Men’s Team/Individual and Women’s Team/Individual.

Continuing their effortless domination in the venue, the female team has now won the event every time since its introduction in 1988 Seoul, proving themselves a cut above all other opponents. The trio of Bobae Ki, Misun Choi and Hye-Jin Chang came in by unstoppable storm, shooting brilliantly to ease to a 5-1 victory over Russia in the final round and sent the crowd into euphoric hurrah. In addition, the seamless threesome of Woo-Jin Kim, Bon-Chan Ku and Seung-Yun Lee roared to a 6-0 win to garner South Korea’s fifth team title and fourth in the last five Olympics, which also paid back for the grief of their failure to make it to the final in 2012. These consecutive medals definitely served as a notable evidence that archery is the country’s most successful event ever in the summer Olympics.

Republic of Korea’s archers broaden their Olympic reign

Unprecedented success followed too, however. The audience failed to hide their amazement when fencing newbie Sang-Young Park reeled off five consecutive points to claim the unlikely comeback of South Korea’s third gold medal, just on the verge of defeat by 14-10 against Geza Imre of Hungary. It only took a matter of seconds to crush the seemingly insurmountable match for Park to secure his 15th point of his miraculous victory. After his remarkable performance, Park is officially the second South Korean man to win an individual Olympic gold in fencing, and the very first in the Men’s Individual Epee.

Park cries out in glee after his first gold in the Olympics

Another round of medals was brought in by star shooter Jong-Oh Jin, when an unexpected miscue was not enough to hinder his goal for a third straight gold in Men’s 50-meter Pistol competition. Also, Korean Taekwondo players revved up their game by winning 5 medals for all 5 participants, with 2 proud golds attained by Hye-Ri Oh and So-Hee Kim as well as 3 bronze medals to top it all off.

More legendary Olympic records were engraved into history in Rio, including the return of golf back into the Games for one of its 28 programmes. This time, LPGA star In-bee Park won gold in women’s golf and defeated world’s No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand, marking the very first medal in history after 112 years of non-inclusion. Park has won 7 majors, including the career Grand Slam, and earlier this year became the youngest golfer in history to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame. Now she has the first gold medal awarded in women’s golf since Paris 1900, the only time women previously competed in golf before at the Olympics.

Park smiles standing on top of her first ever Olympic podium

Amidst the flurry of outstanding accomplishments and world records, several disappointments were inevitable as well. South Korea had to face a devastating defeat against Honduras by 1-0, failing to advance to the semifinals of the men’s soccer tournament. Furthermore, South Korea bowed out of the quarterfinals in women’s volleyball, unable to pursue its first Olympic volleyball medal since the team’s bronze in 1976 in Montreal 40 years ago. Rhythmic gymnast Yeon-Jae Son also failed to seize her dream of earning a medal by finishing fourth in the individual all-around final by merely 0.685 points apart from third place Ganna Rizatdinova of Ukraine. However, among the traditionally strong Russian competitors, Son’s Olympics record was by far the best out of all the other Asian gymnasts.

Son is unable to hide her tears when landing just below third place

Now it comes to question what significance these accomplishments actually carries to the medalists themselves and the nation. The Olympics urges athletes to get higher, faster, and stronger, pushing them to reach the peak and even beyond the human potential accompanied by their intense training and hardcore dedication. However, one needs to realize that the Games is not all about earning a gold, let alone any color of the medal. For an athlete, the Olympics is everything, four years of his or her life to prepare for a tiny hole, and once it closes, there is not much time for re-qualification. Despite the media frenzy motivating the contestants to perform at their best, the chances are that they might not be so lucky this year round. This brings to a conclusion that the Olympics is really all about trying your best, creating memories, building new experiences, and most of all – having fun.

– Ashley Kim (’18)

Back to the Future: iPhone SE

Big phones may certainly be in, but Apple is making “compact” and “palm-friendly” the new cool. Several media analysts have duly reported that Apple has been working on a new 4-inch iPhone, its first device since the launch of the iPhone 5S in 2013. The company introduced the 4-inch iPhone SE on March 21, 2016, with the official launch following on March 31. Described as the “most powerful 4-inch iPhone ever,”, the iPhone SE features the design of the iPhone 5S with many of the internal components from the iPhone 6S, resulting in the latest and greatest mobile processor that is available in a smaller package than the previous model.

Basically, this time around, Apple did not come up with a new design for the smaller iPhone SE. Instead, they’ve recycled the old iPhone 5S model with multiple new components, which is basically reusing the same looks of a phone model three generations in a row. It’s definitely an odd move, witnessed for the first time in the technological industry.




First thing’s first –  the breakdown of the device. The new 4-inch iPhone is fundamentally a mixture of the iPhone 6 and 6S but in a body resembling an iPhone 5 (with the availability of the new rose gold color as well). The iPhone SE has the 4″ Retina display of the iPhone 5s, its first-generation Touch ID sensor, and an identical frame. However, in the internal aspect, it comes with the new Apple A9 chip with 2GB of RAM, the new 12MP main snapper, and a slightly bigger battery capacity.


These are the key advantages for the new iPhone:


  • 4″ 16M-color LED-backlit IPS LCD of 640 x 1136px resolution, 326ppi
  • Apple iOS 9
  • Dual-core 1.8 GHz Twister 64-bit CPU, PowerVR GT7600 GPU, 2GB of RAM, Apple A9 SoC
  • 12MP F/2.2 camera with True tone LED flash, phase detection auto focus, 2160p@30fps, 1080p@30fps, @60fps and @120fps video recording, 720p video recording @120fps and 240fps
  • 1.2MP F/2.4 front-facing camera, HDR mode, 720p@30fps video
  • Comes in 16 and 64 GB of built-in storage
  • First-gen Touch ID fingerprint sensor
  • 4G LTE Cat.4 (150Mbps); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; Bluetooth 4.2; Lightning port; GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS; NFC (Apple Pay only)
  • 1,624 mAh battery, Power saving mode


However, as usual, several disadvantages follow the phone as well:


  • No 3D Touch
  • No microSD slot
  • Lacks optical image stabilization
  • NFC functionality limited to Apple Pay
  • No wireless charging, an infrared port, or FM radio
  • No enhanced resistance to liquids or dust
  • No user-replaceable battery


Of course, these supposed limitations are a no-brainer to every Apple customers out in the world. Apple’s restrictions have been around for years, so they shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, although one can still capture Live Photos with the new model.




As for the meaning of the device’s name, Apple’s Phil Schiller told the mass that “SE” stands for “Special Edition”. Also, in the personal aspect, it is also an homage to the Macintosh SE.

In terms of the price, Apple is currently offering the iPhone SE in two compositions: 16GB of storage for USD $399 and 64GB of storage for $499. Also, it is planning to launched initially in countries including Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, US Virgin Islands and the US, with a plan to expand availability to additional countries starting in early April (hopefully Korea as well).

Critics have come up with two reasons to interpret this move, one being that Apple is trying to take the easy road. Basically, they have concluded that the company is striving toward the main goal of reusing an existing design to produce a lower, cost-effective iPhone without having to hurt margins. Another possible interpretation that they have come up with is that Apple is attempting to revive the much-anticipated iconic iPhone 5 design in an effort to appeal to a group of users who not only want a reasonably-priced alternative but would also prefer the smaller size. After all, about one-third of all Apple users are still using older 4-inch models, refusing to move on.

The verdict is out: iPhone SE has a nice nostalgic feeling of the past, back to the days of the smaller iPhones when they were dominating the smartphone market – its compact size and powerful hardware appreciated by many. Given the recycled design, it may hardly attract any new users to Apple’s platform, but will definitely cater to those who are stuck in the past to level and open up to the added features.


What do you think about the new iPhone design?