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4 posts categorized "Newsletters"


Spring 2018, Issue 1


DMZ tunnel cropped

CIEE Seoul Welcomes Spring 2018 Students

This semester we have 65 students from 44 different schools across the United States. They have settled in nicely following a week-long CIEE orientation to help them adjust to their new environment. Orientation included a number of info sessions and workshops to introduce the CIEE program, academic policies, safety and security and the like. It started with an interactive workshop to introduce students to Korean etiquette and various other aspects of Korean culture and society, including Korean traditional clothing. Orientation also included a photo scavenger hunt to help the students learn how to get around the city as well as various tours of the campus and surroundings. Some of the activities involved CIEE Seoul Mates (Korean buddies). To wrap up our orientation, we had a 2-day excursion to introduce the students to other parts of the country as well as many of the elements that make up the Korean cultural fabric and psyche. We stayed overnight deep in the mountains, visited a Buddhist temple and a Confucian academy, made paper-crafts, learned mask dance, hiked in the mountains, and more.

The first Saturday after classes started we had our first CIEE day trip—an excursion to the DMZ that separates the two Koreas. It included visiting an infiltration tunnel, a military observation post, and the Joint Security Area (JSA). And, this past weekend we had our always popular K-Pop tour.

The following are some photos from our CIEE orientation and our last two weekend activities.

Scenes from Orientation


In addition to introducing Korean history, customs and traditions, the Korean Spirit and Culture Workshop included information about Korean etiquette such as how to wear the Korean national dress, sit properly and bow to elders as well as some things about Korean food and modern society.


Bowing 3333


CIEE orientation also included a briefing by U.S. Embassy officials (below)


Scenes from Overnight Excursion


During the excursion, students made a colorful box out of traditional handmade paper (above) and learned about Korea’s long tradition of mask dance dramas and some of the dance moves (below).

Mask dance

Dance moves

Day Trip to DMZ

In jsa

Some students pose alongside a guard in the conference room at the Joint Security Area (above) and some take a group photo with the conference room and North Korea’s pavilion in the background.

Tunnel DMZ

Scenes from K-Pop Tour

Btts kpop

Students pose with a statue honoring the group BTS

Dance class

Students learn K-Pop moves from a K-Pop choreographer

Indie concert

The K-Pop tour ended with an Indie concert.




Fall 2013, Issue 3

Farewell greetings from Seoul!

Happy holidays! Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. It’s hard to believe that the fall 2013 program has come to a close. It seems like only yesterday that we were doing orientation, yet final exams ended Friday and students began departing over the weekend.

To help our students prepare for re-entry into their home culture, the previous Saturday we had a reverse culture shock workshop led by three professionals in the field.  It was a great opportunity for the students to share their feelings about leaving Korea and their new friends as well as their concerns about returning home. Later that day, we had a farewell dinner so that the students could spend one last evening together before hitting the books for final exams.

Our CIEE Korean Language Study Hall was so popular during the last two weeks we had to extend the hours and offered it daily as many students sought help preparing for the Korean language exam.  The CIEE staff helped with vocabulary review, pronunciation, and such. It was also a time for saying goodbye.

The following are some photos from some of our last CIEE activities.

Max leah mandu  final
Max and Seoul Mate Leah showing their handiwork at our cooking class.

  Paper students
Students with lamps and pencil holders they made in paper-crafts class.

A scene from our CIEE farewell party



Fall 2013, Issue 2

NewsletterBannerSeoul686x101Greetings from Dynamic Korea!

안녕하세요!  Annyonghaseyo!  

Just a few days ago, we had our first snow. It was lovely but it didn’t stick. It’s very early this year—the trees are still in their multi-colored coats of red and gold. And it’s cold. Fortunately, we have no more events or activities taking place outdoors.

To look back on what we’ve done since my last posting, October 6-8 we had a 3-day CIEE excursion to the port city of Busan on the southern coast to attend the 18th Busan International Film Festival, which screened nearly 300 films from countries all around the globe including many Korean films. To help students see more of the city, we had a scavenger hunt to introduce some of Busan’s historic sites and other attractions. The excursion was very successful and many students suggested it be made a regular fall event.

Scenes from the Busan International Film Festival

     BIFF pics
Students after a movie, posing with a film director, and with a movie poster

October 19, we had our excursion to the DMZ that separates North Korea and South Korea. We usually do the excursion during orientation, but this semester we had to reschedule the excursion. The day began with a lecture about the Korean War and the state of the armistice. We then boarded a chartered bus to travel north to the DMZ. Following lunch, we visited an observation point, toured an infiltration tunnel made by North Korea, and, the highlight of the day, visited the Joint Security Area where the armistice talks are held.

 Students with the armistice buildings and North Korea behind them

In early November, we had a half-day hike to the top of Mt. Inwangsan, one of Korea’s most sacred mountains, which is only a few bus stops from the CIEE Study Center. The mountain is dotted with historic and sacred sites and is well-known for its shaman shrines. We were lucky to happen upon a shaman ceremony.

Shaman 1

Shaman 2
A shaman prepares to walk on knives (top) and walking on knives (bottom).

Last weekend we had a field trip to a photo exhibition about the introduction of photography to Korea and its development up through modern times with a focus on sociological studies.

Photo exhibit
Some students and staff pose at the entrance to the photo exhibition.

Our CIEE Seoul Mates and students harvested rice at an island in the Han River and they also had a K-Pop dance class together. These group activities are in addition to their regular individual meetings.

Rice harvesting
Students and Seoul Mates harvesting rice

We have been having a night of Korean movies in the CIEE lounge every other Friday night since the first week of October. And, we have a paper-crafts class that is also being held every few weeks in the CIEE lounge.

Scenes from Paper-crafts Class

Papercrafts 1

Papercrafts 2

Thursday we celebrated American Thanksgiving early with turkey, ham, and all the trimmings. 


 Spotlighting a Student

Check out the following links to a newspaper article and YouTube video by CIEE participant Young Kim from Northeastern University. Young is interning at DailyNK, an online newspaper focusing on North Korea and North Korean refugees, defectors, and other related issues.





Fall 2013, Issue 1


Welcome to Seoul! Fall 2013!

안녕하세요!  Annyonghaseyo! Greetings!

Fall has arrived and is a time of change. And it’s noticeable everywhere.  The hot humid days of summer are slowly giving way to the crisp days of autumn. The sky is high and blue.  The rice fields are turning gold.  The lush green foliage is starting to change. And, our fall students have settled into the school routine, having attended classes for four weeks. They have been busy with schoolwork and various activities, from exploring Seoul and meeting new friends to getting involved in CIEE community engagement projects and university clubs.

To help them transition into Korean university life, we had a 2-week-long orientation.  In addition to discussions about health, safety, security, and academic policies, it included lectures on Korean pop culture, Korean cinema, and life in North Korea, a culture shock workshop, a photo scavenger hunt to help the students learn how to get around the city, and more. Some of the activities involved CIEE Seoul Mates. To wrap up our orientation, we had a 3-day excursion to introduce the students to other parts of the country as well as many of the elements that make up the Korean cultural fabric and psyche. We stayed overnight in Korean traditional style houses, visited a Buddhist temple and a Confucian academy, made pottery and did literati painting, hiked in the mountains, and more.

Here's what one student wrote about orientation and settling in:

SF 11 




Sarah Fewell, University of the South

Coming in to the program as the only person from my university and not knowing anyone, I was pretty nervous about coming to a foreign country where that lack of relationships would be even greater. But from the time that I arrived, I quickly started to get to know everyone in the program through the many activities that the CIEE staff had prepared for us; from the Seoul scavenger hunt to the three day excursion, we all were getting to know the people that we would be sharing this program with, while simultaneously learning about the country we are going to be calling home this semester and in some cases year.  We had talks on Korean media and even heard a lecture from one of the top North Korean experts in the region. But my favorite event that we have had so far would have to be the three day/two night trip to the central Korean Mountains. It was so much fun going outside of the city and to see the countryside and to see how life is outside of the capital. Plus the food was really good!

 When I talked to some of the other international students here and have heard their experiences about applying and adjusting to life here in Korea, I am so glad that I decided to apply for the CIEE program. I could not even imagine trying to apply for all the proper paperwork and trying to navigate the ins and outs here in Seoul by myself having never been exposed to living in a large city, especially when the city is in a different country and works by different cultural norms. Suzanne, Tina, and Boram really take good care of you and are always willing to help you out with any question you might have. They really try to cater to the interests of the group by organizing lectures, activities, and trips that the group seems interested in. I am really looking forward to the future programs that CIEE has prepared for us; from trips to the DMZ and Busan to the cultural workshops, I am looking forward to my upcoming year here in Korea!

Scenes from Orientation

Korean Spirit & Culture Workshop

Ksp saebaeLearning the proper way to bow Photo bowing
Learning how to receive bows Ksp girls

Ksp malesDressing in hanbok, Korean traditional clothing, is always fun

Scavenger Hunt 

A team at Gwanghwamun Gate

At the end of the hunt, a team poses with some CIEE Seoul Mates

Scenes from Explore Korea Excursion

Picnic 2 - Copy

Picnic 1

We stopped for lunch at a stream and waterfall in Soebaeksan National Park (above) and then traveled on to Buseoksa, a renowned Buddhist temple.


248 (2)
A brief lecture before ascending to the main temple halls.

Buseoksa 2
Learning about one of the temple's many structures and iconography

Crossing a stream after visiting a Confucian academy

Fan making 1
Students show the fans they decorated with traditional paintings favored by Korean literati.

  M gate - Copy
At the first Mungyeongsaejae Gate

Girls as queens
"Queens" for a day at the film set at Mungyeongsaejae

Making pottery

Scenes from Other Activities

Rice cakes 2
Students and Seoul Mates with teacher during class to make rice cakes for Chuseok, Korea's harvest moon festival.

Rice cakes 1
Making rice cakes

Kpop 2
Some students at a K-Pop exhibition

Community Engagement

Senior citizens 1
Two CIEE students teaching English to senior citizens

Sarang school
CIEE volunteers at a school for students with learning disabilities