back street seoul south korea
Profile picture of author, Emma Potts, standing in front of Lake Michigan in a green dress--looking off to the side

Emma M.

Arts + Sciences
Hometown: Chicago-ish

      Emma Potts belongs to Columbia University’s class of 2023, completing her undergraduate degree later this year in December. A QuestBridge scholar at Columbia, She is double majoring in political science and East Asian languages & cultures (EALAC) with an emphasis on Korea. As recently as last April, Emma completed a senior thesis entitled “Militarized Modernity’s Enduring Scar: the Process of Remasculinization in the Anti-Feminist Movement of Contemporary South Korea,” under the tutelage of Professor Jungwon Kim and Professor Theodore Hughes.


      Believing herself as a part of an emerging cadre of young Americans preparing to make differences in cross-cultural understanding and eventually foreign policy making, she hopes to pursue a future career in international education, non-profit work or diplomacy. She credits her fostered passion for an interconnected global community in part to her participation in a U.S. Department of State scholarship program: The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y). After spending a summer in Seoul, South Korea and later a year attending a Korean high school for complete language immersion, Emma returned stateside with a revitalized passion for diplomacy at all levels, including citizen diplomacy’s people-to-people exchanges.


Taking the Topik (Korean Proficiency Exam) in Korea

By Emma M.

Today I want to speak on the Topik Test--(the only official) Korean language proficiency exam administered by the Korean government. Taking the Topik exam is a great way to gain a formal gauge of one’s Korean language abilities since it is standardized, although the score is only valid for two years after taking the exam.

Visiting Damyang Bamboo Forest (담양대나무숲)

By Emma M.

Today I will be recounting a little trip to Damyang Bamboo Forest in South Korea! For one weekend in early December, a couple friends and I took a short trip to Gwangju City--leaving Seoul for the last time before the weather got too cold!

Nami Island: Micronation on the Han River

By Emma M.

One of the perfect fall getaways from Seoul (Its proximity to Seoul makes it perfect for a day trip!) is that of Nami Island--a micronation on the Han River located... keep reading

Speed Run: Showing Off Korea to my Best Friend

By Emma M.

During my first month in Korea, I was lucky to have my really good friend Clara come visit me in Korea! This is big for me as this is the... keep reading

Going to a Traditional Korean Wedding

By Emma M.

When I say traditional Korean weddings, I don’t mean the usual ceremony couples have these days. I am talking about a traditional ~Confucian~ Korean wedding in which the bride and... keep reading

An Atypical Chuseok Holiday

By Emma M.

This semester, from September 28th to October 3rd, we had no classes due to the Chuseok (Mid-Autumn Harvest Festival) long holiday as well as National Foundation Day on October 2nd... keep reading

How To: Picnic at the Han River

By Emma M.

One of the BEST ways to relish good weather in Seoul (especially before it gets too cold) is to picnic at the Han River. Now, I wouldn’t say that I... keep reading

Observations (First Few Weeks in Korea)

By Emma M.

Observations (First Few Weeks in Korea) Inspired by travelers’ journals of the past, I am writing this blog post to record some observations I have made during my first few... keep reading

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