Dear Pen Pal #1: Hello's

Dear reader, 

We're so excited to welcome a new feature to the magazine. A really amazing writer lives halfway across the world and is willing to share her life with us. Our little hub is expanding, and we can go far beyond even oceans!


Hi! my name is Kelly Park (or Jihyang Park), and I live in Seoul, Korea; to be more specific, I live in the famous Gangnam—from that song, you know what it is (think PSY). In March, I will start attending Daewon Foreign Language High School as a freshman. You’re probably all wondering why a random girl from halfway across the world is writing a letter to you. See, I lived in California from 2nd grade to 7th grade, and there, I befriended Angela, who you all know as the editor-in-chief. We have been contacting each other ever since I came to Korea, and I couldn’t reject her offer when she asked me to be a part of this.

So now I’m WOKEN’s pen pal, here from halfway across the world, and I’m just going to talk about my life. As a teenage girl, living in Korea. Right now I’m on winter break, and after winter break in Korea, a new school year starts, unlike the U.S. 

More differences: almost every student in Korea goes to “hakwon”, academies. Hakwon usually end at 10 p.m., because it’s illegal for them to have classes after 10. Naturally, as a student in Korea, I go to hakwon too. I attend it 5 times a week during break, averaging five hours a day. It’s a boring cycle, really. I don’t have time for hobbies. One interesting thing in life right now for me is that I’m currently learning Spanish, which isn’t a very common second language in Korea. But because I’ll be majoring in Spanish during high school, I get the special opportunity to learn it, and I’m so excited. But look: life in Korea in general is so boring to me that even these kinds of things are fun. I am one of the average students in Korea who studies almost 10 hours a day, just to get into the university I want. It’s miserable. 

But there are good things to look forward to. Once I enter high school, I get to join really interesting clubs, like the Jalisco or Flamenco club, a Korean traditional band club, model UN club, and so much more! Also, we have a really cool orientation camp with all the seniors of the school. The little things in life are the best for us here, which is why I can’t wait for high school and all its open opportunities.

So this pretty much sums up my current life. I have so much more to tell you all about in the coming future. Until then, bye!