Planes, Trains and Automobiles – 비행기, 기차와 자동차.

Planes – 비행기

So the big kahuna. The 11+ hour mode of transportation. The plane journey. I can’t lie to you, the journey from the UK to South Korea is loooooooooong. I looked at so many different sites and airlines, not only to find a cheap-ish ticket but also, to find a journey that wasn’t insanely long.

The ticket I bought with KLM went from Manchester to Seoul via Amsterdam in about 11 hours 45 minutes. This was actually a pretty good find. Flights were cheaper if you were willing to have more than 1 change, or a long transfer wait, but I wanted as stress free a journey as possible.

It was also cheaper to no reserve a seat. HOWEVER, I am around 6ft tall (180cm) and I can’t sleep unless I have leg room. So I did spend a bit more on a seat reservation. The price of reservation for the longer commutes from Amsterdam/Seoul and Seoul/Amsterdam were triple the price of the seats from Manchester/Amsterdam and Amsterdam/Manchester, but at least I will have the comfort of knowing that I will be far more likely to sleep on this journey.

In order to make the journey slightly less horrific I have also made sure to pack everything I need in my hand luggage and my carry on, and everything else I want in the bag in the hold. I also included a few items to make me feel less gross and stuffy as I travel, as well as keeping me as entertained as possible. These include:

  • sheet masks
  • under eye patches
  • travel size dry shampoo/deodorant/body wipes
  • toothbrush
  • at least 2 books
  • downloaded Netflix shows and films
  • phone charger
  • notepad and pens
  • Korean flashcards
  • Colouring therapy book
  • sleep mask and headphones.

These were things I felt I would like to have with me in order to enjoy my plane journey more. If you are planning for a long journey, I’m sure you have things you like to take with you so that you feel less claustrophobic and bored. I will be sure to keep a log of my journey so you get a sense of what the trip is like.

Seoul Trains and other ways to travel – 서울 지하철 기타교통수단

The subway system in Seoul is, I’ve been told, one of the best in the world. Easy to navigate, punctual, clean, not too noisy, cheap and very safe. In fact, if it wasn’t enough that you can download an app (KakaoMap) that helps you find the subway nearest to where you are, what subway you need, when the next train is running AND where to get off, the announcements in the stations are all in Korean and English. Which will really help me cause taking routes that are unfamiliar really stresses me out sometimes and I know I will get lost at least three times over the next few days.

In regards to other modes of transportation I actually know relatively little thus far but I will pass on what I have been told by my friends (Korean and otherwise) who live in Seoul:

  • Busses: Mostly fine. Sometimes if you’re standing and the driver brakes hard or drives like a maniac you will be thrown across the bus once in a while, but its mostly all good fun. Reliable, clean, gets you to a lot of places. Cheap.
  • Taxis: Again, mostly fine. Clean, reliable, gets you where you need to go, cheap and can be very helpful and friendly. However there are always a few who ruin it for everyone else. There have been cases where drivers feigned not knowing English to try and scam more money off tourists, or who refused to drive people somewhere because it was too close/too far. But mostly fine.
  • Trains: Not great for travelling around Seoul. Brilliant for going to other cites. Fast, clean, reliable and affordable. A great way to see the rest of South Korea.
  • Cars: Scary. Not so bad that you can’t manage if you are an experienced driver. However traffic incidents are the second highest cause of death in South Korea…
  • Bikes: Fantastic for going around pedestrian areas, parks or up and down the Han river. Terrifying on roads and around cars. Cheap and easy to rent everywhere though.

Do you have any questions you want answering about travelling to Korea, or what it’s like travelling around Seoul? Please leave a comment and I will try to find an answer for you.

한국 여행이나 서울 근교를 여행하는 것에 대해 질문이 있나요댓글을 남겨 주시면 해결책을 찾아보겠습니다.

follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Connienkiga

Do you ‘₩on’ some money? – 돈을 원하십니까?

Money makes the world go around, well according to Liza Minnelli that is. In any case, it is very difficult to do anything at all without any money. So in order to do all the things I want to do while I am in Seoul I have planned out a budget for the 11 days I’m there, and I’ve tried to calculate how much each day will cost me. I thought I would share with you what I found out about daily costs and expenses in and around Seoul.

To convert my pounds into won I needed to give my local Bureau de change a weeks notice of the amount of money I wanted to convert. In order to do that, I had do do some maths… oh goody…

Getting there – £710+

So I had been keeping an eye on plane ticket prices since December, because I know how ticket prices fluctuate depending on the time of year and events at the destination. For example, just before the winter Olympics in Pyeongchang tickets were higher than usual because of the demand for tickets. I waited until the tickets were at their cheapest, and when I had at least a month to earn back the money I had to spend. The tickets I ended up getting cost me just over £500, and my seat reservations cost me around £180, so the total cost was around £680.

On top of this, I used compare the market to get some insurance for my journey. After looking at all the options available I chose to go with the Post Office’s policy, as it was the cheapest and had the widest coverage. This cost me about £30 days for 11 days coverage. While not vital as part of my journey there, I would always recommend that you get insurance for any journey you take. Especially if like me you are prone to clumsiness and accidents.

This meant that overall, the cost of getting there safely was about £710.

Accommodation – £190

Seoul is a pretty huge city, and what you want to do while you’re staying there should influence where you stay. I want to be able to walk or hop on a subway to get to local historical landmarks, cafes and places to eat, as well as the places I might see regularly when I move there. Taking these factors into account, as well as the fact that I will probably work as a teacher in a university for at least a year at first, I wanted to stay in Hongdae as that is where most student live and hang out. After figuring the rough area I wanted to stay in I used a comparison site to find my accommodation.

After this I had to decide what it was that I needed my accommodation to be or have. I wanted either a hotel or an apartment, for space and security. I wanted it to be near a subway station and for me to have internet access in my room. And, obviously, I was wanting to save as much money as possible. I set my budget at £30 a night, and managed to find a hotel in Sinchon for £16 a night for a standard double room and £17 for a deluxe double room. I know its frivolous, but I thought I’d splash out and go for the deluxe room.

This hotel had everything I needed and was very budget friendly. If you look around I’m sure you can find a great deal that fits your trip style. My hotel ended up costing me £190.

Daily spends (Transport, food, etc…) – £29.65 a day

After consulting with friends who either live in Seoul or who know Seoul well (thank you 동동squad) , I was able to calculate the average costs of each day. Three meals should cost around ₩10,000, transport about ₩8,250, and miscellaneous spends at  ₩10,000 – ₩15,000. This means that for each day I will need at most around ₩33,250. While you might think this is a lot for one day, ₩33,250 equates to about £21.67. Google it if you don’t believe me. However, I’m going to be setting aside around ₩45,500 (£29.65) each day, with the intention of only spending ₩35,000, which leaves me ₩10,500 in case of an emergency.

All together, the total cost of 11 days of activity will be about £327

The Grand total cost : £1226.15

When you add it all together, it seems like an awful lot of money *laughs nervously*. HOWEVER, considering the distance I am traveling, the amount of time I am spending there and how expensive many of my other options were, this is actually a very small amount of money to be spending. Especially since I might be buying a £1000 plane ticket to Seoul in October when I travel with a group.

So, to conclude. Making a budget is hard! I really struggled to try and calculate everything and make sure that I was traveling and spending within my means. However, now that its all planned out, I feel so much more relaxed about it. I can now take it easy, knowing I have everything sorted and it means I will be able to really enjoy my first taste of Korea.

Oh, and one final piece of advice. I was told that the ₩10,000 bill (the green one) will be the one I use most when in Seoul. So, if you guys need to convert your money try and get as many

For more money related information I’d check out a video by Korean Unnie  which explains it far better and far more thoroughly than I do.

How do you save money on Holiday? Do you have any tips? Leave a comment below and share your ideas.

휴일에 돈을 어떻게 모으니? 뭐 좋은 방법 없을까요? 코멘트를 남기고 당신의 아이디어를 공유하세요.

follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Connienkiga

My 5 Korean Phrases to know for your first trip to Seoul – 당신의 첫번째 서울 여행을 위해 알아야 할 5가지 한국어 문장.

Hi Guys, and welcome to d-5 of my countdown to my first EVER trip to Seoul. I’m very excited and while I have been preparing for many months, I wanted to share with you the final 10 days before I head out. Starting with, 5 useful phrases to know while you are in South Korea.

For this post I will be assuming that you already know how to say ‘Hello’ (안녕하세요), ‘Bye’ (잘가요), ‘Yes’ (), ‘No’ (아니요) and ‘Thank You’ (감사합니다) (고마워요), so these are not included in my list. I will also be talking about manners and etiquette in later posts which are more focused on particular elements of your trip. So, now that I’ve explained all this to you, without further ado, here is my list of 5 useful Korean phrases to know for your first trip to Seoul.

1) 실례합니다! – ‘sil-rye-hab-ni-da’ – ‘Excuse me!’

Imagine this. You’re by yourself in the Mapo district in Seoul, you are in Seogyo-dong and you want to get to Gyeongbokgung Palace. You don’t know how to get there and your phone has died so you can’t look at a map. You need to ask someone for directions. How do you get someones attention to ask them where to go? You say “실례합니다!”

This is a polite way of attracting attention that should get who ever you want to ask know that you want to talk to them. It’s also better manners than tapping someone on the shoulder or on the arm, and is far more respectful than talking to a stranger without introducing yourself. But, by starting with 례합니다 you can then introduce yourself and ask for help.

2) ‘— 어떻게가나요?’ – ‘—e-o-ttoh-ke-ga-na-yo?’ – ‘How can I get to —?’


‘—가려면어떻게해야하나요?’ – ‘—e-ga-ryo-myon-o-tto-ke-hae-ya-ha-na-yo?’ – ‘How do I get to —?’

Okay. So you got the attention of a friendly ajumma (아줌마). Now to ask how to get to Hapjeong-dong. You would say “경복궁에 어떻게 가나요?” or “경복궁에 가려면 어떻게 해야하나요?” which means “How do I get to Gyeongbokgung?” or “How can I get to Gyeongbokgung?” Either of these are fine and should be clear enough for you to find out where you need to go. And, if you need to ask to go somewhere else you simply change the destination at the beginning of the question. For example, to ask how to get to Sinchon you would say “신촌에 어떻게 가나요?” If you needed to get to the closest subway station you would say “지하철에 어떻게 가나요?” (지하철 = subway station).

If you don’t know the Korean for left, right, ahead and back then it may also be useful to know that  ‘left-ways’  is ‘왼쪽에’, ‘right-ways’ is ‘오른쪽에’, ‘ahead/across the street’ is ‘건너편에’ and ‘behind’ is ‘뒤쪽에’ or ‘뒷쪽에’.

3) ‘이것은얼마인가요?’ – ‘i-gos-eun-ol-ma-in-ga-yo?’ – ‘How much is it?’


이것은 몇원인가요?’ – ‘i-gos-eun-myod-won-in-ga-yo?’ – ‘How many won is this?’

When you finally get to Gyeongbokgung Palace and you get to the ticket office, you don’t see any signs telling you how much a ticket costs. In order to make sure you pay the correct amount you need to ask how much you need to pay. You can do this either by asking “이것은 얼마인가요?” or “이것은 몇원인가요?”.

4) ‘—-주세요.’ – ‘—-won-do-ju-se-yo.’ – ‘—- won more please.’

If you go to Gyeongbokgung Palace wearing Hanbok you can enter for free. However, if you need to buy a ticket an adult costs 3,000 won and a teenager costs 1,500 won. Imagine if once you asked how much a ticket costs you only had 5000 won. You pay with your note and the person in the office only gives you 1000 won back. For those of you who are maths whizzes you can probably tell that this isn’t the correct change. To ask for the remaining 1000 won you can say “1000원 더 주세요” or (chon-won do ju-se-yo). You can also use this phrase when at a restaurant, in a shop or in a market.

5) “–어를아세요?” – “—o-reul-hal-jjul-a-se-yo?” – “Do you speak — ?”

And finally, in my opinion, the most useful phrase for me to know. If all else fails, you can ask if they can speak your first language. If I wanted to as if someone spoke English I would say “영어를 할 줄 아세요?” Below I have listed as many languages as possible in Korean so that you can learn what you might need to say:

영어 = English

독일어 = German

프랑스어 = French

이탈리아어 = Italian

중국어 = Chinese

일본어 = Japanese

스페인어 = Spanish

As I mentioned before I will be talking about lots of other elements of a trip to Seoul, including money, transportation, food and many other things. So if there is something you wanted to know that hasn’t been included it might be included in the next 9 days.

Let me know if there is anything that you want me to include in my trip. If you have any questions leave me a comment here or on my Instagram feed, or send me a tweet.

여행에대해무엇을알고싶은지알려주세요. 질문이 있으시면 여기나 인스타그램 의견을 남겨 주시거나 트윗 보내 주세요.

follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Connienkiga 

Tidy Space, Tidy Mind – 정돈된 공간, 정돈된 마음

“Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”

Albert Einstein

I have never been someone who is hugely organised. I used to find it so hard to find enough time in the day to include everything, and when it came to work I often procrastinated up until the point I was pulling all-nighters in order o meet my deadlines which often meant my work wasn’t the highest quality.

But when my mental health was at its worst, this lack of organisation spread. My room was a mess, I left dirty dishes in sinks or hoarded used plates and glasses in my room. It even got so bad that I’d find it hard to even do the basic things to look after myself like showering or brushing my hair. Even getting out of bed was a challenge. And wasn’t this wasn’t laziness, as is often misunderstood by those with no understanding of poor mental health. The best way I can describe it to those who haven’t experienced it is that I cared so little, thought so little, of myself and my everyday life, and assumed others didn’t care either, that I didn’t see the point of doing anything to care for myself or my environment.

This led to a damaging cycle of self observation and opinion. My space was a mess, so I was a mess. I had no grasp of order, accomplishment or pride in myself or my space.  Studies have shown that clutter and mess can drastically affect ones mood. Around 90% of Brits feel that a messy environment makes them feel unproductive, or worse still, unhappy. An untidy house can also impede our willingness to socialise, which in turn can cause loneliness, and increase the likelihood that you argue with those you cohabit with. Mess breeds mess, whether that’s physical or psychological. If we are surrounded by an environment that looks unorganised, unattractive and unwelcoming, this can feed into how you think about yourself, how you think about others and how you assume people think about you.

Those who described their living spaces as “cluttered” are more likely to be depressed and fatigued than those who describe their homes as “restful” and “restorative.” Cluttered homes also lead for higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol for those who live in them, and the visual cortex can be overwhelmed by clutter, making it harder to allocate attention and complete tasks efficiently. Mess can stop you from finding ways to feel better.

However, there is also evidence to suggest that a messy environment encourages creativity. I began with a quote from Albert Einstein at the beginning of this post, championing organisation. And yet Einstein also said “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” Einstein had a notoriously messy work space, but he was undeniably creative in his work. If you want a more modern example of clutter breeding ingenuity, look at Steve Jobs, his desk and office were both disaster zones, and yet his creativity made him one of the most successful business men in history.

2018-02-04 14.52.36This doesn’t mean you should trash your living and working spaces in order to be successful. Neither do the statistics I mentioned earlier mean that you should become obsessive about the neatness of your home or desk. Neither of these mindsets will help you feel better, neither is an entirely healthy alternative.

What I suggest is that you find a healthy medium. Don’t become so that your spaces become impossible to navigate, and don’t become so clutter free that you don’t clutter free that you have nothing that you need. Too much or too little is stifling. What I suggest is if you are finding yourself feeling unhappy in your environment, try to figure out why, and establish a new habit from there.

If you feel like you have little or no control over the things happening in your life, or your over your thoughts, try keeping your spaces more tidy. People who make their beds every morning are 19% more likely to feel well rested, and therefor happier. People also reported benefits from having clean sheets — specifically, 75% of people said they sleep better in fresh bed sheets because they feel more comfortable. The physical act of cleaning can provide great mental health benefits, because of the endorphins that are released by working up a sweat. Tasks such as vacuuming, ironing and gardening can burn between 150 and 300 calories – that’s about the same as a Zumba class!

If you feel trapped by your everyday life, and you desperately want a bit more freedom and choice, I suggest doing something spontaneous and messy for fun, but don’t go too wild. Leave a wet towel on your bedroom floor for a day. Try a new recipe where you get your hands (and your kitchen) dirty. Try and exercise what I call organised chaos, for example if you don’t want to hang all your clothes up at the end of the day, place the clothes you know you want to wear again on a chair, or in a specific spot in your room. Find a creative, messy outlet where you can effectively give a metaphorical middle finger to the things making you feel you need to fit a certain mould.

For me, I find that keeping a structure and a routine gives me piece of mind when I feel27718315_10215657011608512_919096536_n I have little, to no, control over the other aspects of my life. Having a sense of reliability, comfort and order helps me to feel rooted and like I fit in the space. I feel ready for the day once I make my bed, and I feel more organised and productive with a tidy (but certainly not empty) desk. I also try to actively have more messy periods too, I cook and get the kitchen messy, or I sketch or draw using chalk pastels and get my hand all colourful and dirty. I also make sure I exercise and get all gross and sweaty, and then when I shower and change afterwards I feel so strong and accomplished. I try to find a simple, harmonious solution to a problem I face or a struggle I feel. But these are that work best for me. I encourage you to try finding new ways to make your environment improve and strengthen your mental well being.

Who knows? You might end up becoming as productive as Einstein.

Do you prefer a neat and tidy space, or organised chaos? Is there anything you might try to see if your mental health improves with a new environment? Please comment below.

정돈되고 정돈된 공간을 선호하나요, 아니면 정리된 무질서를 선호하나요? 새로운 환경으로 인해 정신 건강이 개선되는지 보려고 하는 것이 있나요? 아래에 코멘트해 주세요.


List of international mental health support hotlines 


Sources used

Psychology of Cleaning –

The Powerful Psychology behind cleanliness –

Psychology Behind Messy Rooms –



Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Connienkiga


Surviving a Masters – 석사 학위를 따는 방법

In early summer 2017 I decided to apply for a masters. This was not something I had planned to do when I finished my undergraduate degree, as I am not the most academically inclined. Writing my dissertation for my undergrad was a real challenge, and I have never been great at exams or essays. But after a year of trying to find work and struggling to get hired, I realised that there was something I wanted to learn and specialise in. So, after advice from many of my peers, I decided to apply for my MSc. I’m now halfway through my masters course and its been interesting and fun, but it hasn’t been easy. It’s been a struggle at times. I know I am not the only person to feel this way so I asked some of my friends who are also doing, or have done, a masters course, in various fields, for their best pieces of advice for anyone considering or starting a masters course.

“My biggest piece of advice would have to be: be willing to push yourself and make mistakes, its hard work but definitely worthwhile!”

“Make sure you do something regularly that isn’t work to keep sane. I started playing water-polo and the regular sessions meant I got some exercise, had to leave my room and made friends with people outside of my accommodation and course. I’d never played it before I did my Masters, so it was nice to have something completely different to do!”

“I agree. Find a hobby or society and try and break the monotony. Post grads, especially research ones, can be isolating so push yourself out of it”

“My advice would be to back up your essays, dissertation and lecture notes on an online storage unit (Microsoft One Drive, Google Drive, Dropbox etc ) – or better yet, save your work directly on the online storage unit. Stop thinking your computer is invincible!

Don’t rely too heavily on your computer. Back up your work!

That shit is going to crash on you, and you will be left with nothing to submit to turnitin!! (With student subscription of Microsoft Office package, students get 1TB of One Drive storage unit. Make use of it). Personally I am not a fan of USB or external hard-drives as units for backing up because they can break or get lost – or stolen. I use them for the memory of my computer, but they are not my ride or die kind of storage, if they are lost I have the online storage.” 

“man we had a whole lecture on that…”

“Listen! I know people who have literally failed their degree because their computer containing their dissertation was stolen and had no thesis to submit! People need to stop playing! It’s not even a master’s thing, just life thing. [laugh]”

Keep up with your social life, remember to have fun

” I’d say, keep up your social life or you will go insane. Make sure you go to your lectures and don’t be afraid of the impending breakdowns… bring tissues”

“and coffee”

“Umm probably get into a routine. Have a set time you wake up everyday and go to bed every day. I really struggled because my days were a big old blur unless I had to go somewhere. So make sure you go somewhere everyday too [laugh]”

Thank you if you gave me some of your masters advice. You guys are da best!

So I guess all that’s left is for me to give you my own tips, from my own experience. Here goes:

1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you need a lecturer to repeat something ask them to. If you want someone to check your essay sounds right, ask a friend or classmate. If you are struggling or you’re having a hard time, ask your tutor what you can do. Most Universities now have systems in place to support their students in whatever way they need whether that be writing skills, financial issues or problems at home. Ask someone for help and you will find it.

2. Take regular breaks. It might feel like you have so much to do and barely any time to do it in, but taking breaks will not only help you not to get to stressed, but will actually make you more productive. Engage your brain in a different way, avoid looking at screens, and then you can get back to work feeling refreshed and alert.

3. LOOK AFTER YOURSELF. Get plenty of sleep. Drink plenty of water as well as coffee/tea/gin. East healthily and do regular exercise. Have time to wind down and relax. Looking after yourself looks after your mind, which benefits you and your academic work.

4. You don’t have to be best mates with everyone on your course, you don’t even have to like all of the teachers. If you do, wonderful, lucky you. But if not, find the people who help you feel happy and comfortable and know that you have them when you simply have to deal with that person who frustrates you. That’s being a grown up I’m afraid. You will have to spend time with people you might not like that much. It’s an opportunity to learn professionalism and resilience.

5. Know you can say no. You don’t have to volunteer for everything, do all the jobs and go first in every presentation. Saying no is healthy, mature and it shows you know how to keep on top of things. You don’t want to end up juggling too much at once.

6. Be proud of yourself. You’re doing a masters degree. That means you are pretty darn smart. You have achieved a lot to get here and you are working at a very impressive level. Well done you!

7. If it’s all too much, you can stop if you need to. Whether you need to stop completely defer a year, or even change your course, it’s fine. A masters isn’t for everyone, you’ve done great and worked very hard to get here. Take life at your own pace. It isn’t a competition.

Be proud of what you have achieved.

A masters course is meant to be hard work. It shows that you are a ‘master’ of your specialised area, and is unique to you. No-one will have a masters degree like yours, as no-one will specialise in exactly the same area as you. It is as unique as you are. So keep going, continue to work hard, but rest hard and play hard just as much. A masters degree is a great investment into your own development, but it doesn’t define who you are entirely.

Keep it up, well done so far.

Let me know what you think in the comments! 당신의 의견을 저에게 알려주십시오. 코멘트해 주세요!

follow me on Instagram and Twitter @Connienkiga