JWU Student Blogs

46 days and counting...

Hello all!
We are a little over a month until the 2013-2014 school year begins. It shall be my senior year, so expect lots of cliché, sappy college farewell pictures.

Almost at the end.

This week flew by.

Marksburg Castle Tour and Jean Stodden Winery

This week was the last week of tasting and winery tours for this trip. I am sad that this wonderful experience is reaching the end. The closing blog will come Saturday morning after I have said my goodbyes. On the other hand, I have had a great last week. On Tuesday we went to Marksburg Castle and an awesome winery in the Pfaltz region.


Germany Update

This week in class we learned about pairing wine and food, the wine regions of France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, and the United States. It was a lot to take in! We tried so many wines that I couldn’t even try to count.

Class this week!


La Escuela

Today we went to one of the local schools to spend time with the kids and help to paint one of the classrooms. The kids were very excited, and we all had lots of fun. I spent time with the fourth graders who were practicing a poem about Sarapiqui, the region they live in. They were glad to have an audience, and we had a great time together.

Leave No Trace

Hi everyone! It’s been a very eventful past few days! This weekend, we did the trainer program for Leave No Trace, where we learned how to implement different sustainability techniques for backcountry travel. As a result of fulfilling the program, we are all now LNT certified, and as a firm believer in sustainable tourism, I am very pleased.

Career Explorations 2013

Hello all!

Back in class at the Wein School.

Once we returned from France on Wednesday, we sure did not skip a beat as far as schooling is concerned. We had full class days on both Thursday and Friday, tasting many wines each day. Thursday was taught by a sparky lady from America named Kerry Brady. She did a whole day of lecture on German Wines and wine regions. It was fun and interactive. I felt like I got a better grasp on how to properly pronounce, how to properly interpret and how to properly read a German wine label.

7/14/13 Austrian Dinner

Thursday after class we all went to an Austrian dinner and wine pairing to get us ready for our lecture on Friday. I have a new love and appreciation for Austrian food and wine.

A little bit of France!

Okay, so sorry about the delay! I had some computer cord problems and some bad Internet but I am back in Koblenzs at the wine school and hotel finally.

So we were in France from Thursday to Wednesday. We’ve visited quite a few wineries here. At least two a day! We traveled all over southern France and experienced a big traffic jam on Saturday which caused us to have to cancel two tastings but we were able to make up one on Sunday morning! The bus can be brutal spending hours a day on it traveling but you get your own two seats which helps and I’ve been taking a French type of anti-car sickness that works amazing! It is totally worth it once you see the beautiful vineyards and the views along the way.

France Grand Wine Tour

We went on Grand Wine Tour to France for 6 days total. All the wineries that we visited, 2-3 per day, different regions and styles were all memorable.

Back in Germany after a week in France

Wow, Amazing, Breath-Taking, Historic, Eye-Opening, Mind-Blowing: These are just a few adjectives that come to mind after this whirlwind trip. We just traveled hundreds of miles to visit 12 wineries in 4 different major wine growing regions of France. Starting at Alsace, then to Burgundy, then the Rhone Valley and lastly Champagne. Being able to see and experience first hand the difference between each and every soil, facilities and background of the wineries was amazing. One of my favorite things was being able to see and experience the difference between the newly established and very old wineries.

Pura Vida!

Mmmmm… my chocolate tour was delicious. Though I did fall and skin my knee… oops. Anyways, back to Tortuguero…

Monday, July 8, 2013: Saying our "good-byes" from Bangkok, Thailand

We woke-up at 3:30 a.m. to make our flight from Chiang Mai to Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok where we said our “good-byes.” Some of us remained in Thailand for a week or two on our own, others flew to Australia, France and England, the remainder returned to Los Angeles or New York before reaching their final destinations.

Last week spent in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Monday, July 1, 2013 - Cooking class and tour at Mandarin Oriental kitchens, Thai silk factory, Thai massage, and Khantoke dinner and show

Second Morning of the Grand Tour

Good Morning!

Leaving For France in the AM

I have finally hooked up my Tumblr to JWU! Tomorrow the group and I leave to go on our “Grande Tour” of France. Words cannot describe how excited I am for this!!! Our first stop is Alsace. I am very interested to compare the Rieslings and other white wines there versus what I have tasted here in Germany. Pretty much everywhere we are going in France I have dreamed of going to and soon this dream will be a reality.

Seoul Life

Throughout the three and a half weeks spent in Seoul, the students often found that the nightlife in South Korea plays a major part in everyone’s life. Whether it be recreational based, used as a source of business meetings and enjoyment for major business executives or just a way to release stress, the city of Seoul ‘comes alive at night’.

Shinhan Bank

After 3 1/2 weeks in South Korea we finally got to visit Shinhan Bank. When we arrived we were greeted by 2 gentlemen that walked us through the history of their company and the products that they offer. Shinhan Bank, together with its subsidiaries, provides a range of commercial and other banking services to retail and corporate customers in Korea and internationally. It offers corporate banking and treasury services to corporations, including small or medium sized companies and businesses related to investment banking; internal asset and liability management; trading of securities and derivatives; and investment portfolio management and other related activities.

The company also provides retail banking services to individual customers, wealth management customers, and institutions, such as hospitals, airports, and schools. In addition, it engages in international bank services, as well as administration of bank operations and merchant banking account. The company’s product portfolio includes various deposit products, such as saving accounts, time deposits, and installment accounts; loans, including mortgage and personal credit loans; investment options; foreign exchange; and retirement pension products, as well as Internet banking, ATMs, and fee based services. As of December 31, 2012, Shinhan Bank operated 846 branches, 103 depositary offices, 23 premises, and 7 overseas branches. The company was founded in 1897, is based in Seoul, South Korea and is a subsidiary of Shinhan Financial Group Co., Ltd.

After our meeting we could tell that Shinhan Bank has a very solid background and continues to work for their customers to offer the best banking services possible. It is clear that they will continue to grow and set an example for the banking industry so to remember the occasion we took picture with one of the gentleman that gave the presentation.

Career Explorations Next WEEK!

Whoa crazy.

Food In Korea

There are many different famous foods in Korea; some are Bibimbap, kimchi, and many varieties of soup. Bibimbap is one of the most traditional type of Korean cuisine. In Korean food culture, people are particular about the “five colors and tastes” when they are dining. Bibimbap has many elements which can directly exemplify one of the “five colors and tastes”. There are five kinds of vegetables in five different colors on the top of the Bibimbap. After mixing the ingredients with hot sauce, vegetables, and rice, it will bring people many different tastes. It serves in a hot stone bowl, which can keep the heat of the food. In addition, Kimchi also can be commonly seen on Korean tables. In Korea, Kimchi is a must have for every meal. Kimchi is a pickled vegetable for side dish. It can be eaten as an appetizer in some western countries. It is an indispensable food in all the Korean people’s life. Nowadays, Kimchi has become much spicier than in 16th century. Actually, Kimchi was salty before the 16th century. At that time, Korea was lacking in vegetables in the cold winter. Therefore, people would store the vegetable in the salty water and put it into jars in order to spend the cold winter. As people’s taste changed, Kimchi becomes spicier than it has been in the past. If we say bibimbap is the symbol of Korean food. Soup is the soul of Korean food. In traditional Korean culture, they always offer the soap as sacrifices to the spirits. There are a wide variety of soups; it is mainly stewed with meat, fish, mushrooms, vegetables and seaweed. At last, I have to say, we spend a good time in Korea.

Hyundai Heavy Industry

We could never fathom the size of a shipyard… until now. The realization that we are so small doesn’t kick in until we drive past all the huge container ships Hyundai is building. Over 400 meters long and 20 plus stories these ships make you appreciate how far as a society and race we have gone. In 40 years Hyundai has transformed the coast of Ulsan from a small fishing village to a massive shipyard. Driving through the yard we saw colossal cranes and sections of ships. This one shipyard has the ability to build 5 ships at a time in each of the 11 dry docks. So at maximum capacity the yard can build, repair, and construct 55 ships at one time. If that fact isn’t crazy enough, Hyundai built the shipyard from the ground up all while constructing their first contracted job with Britain. The company averages 63 contracts per year with a turnover on these contracts being about 12 months. We realized that these are the reasons why this is the number one shipyard and shipping company in the world. The sheer size and the capability of it all is still mind blowing.

Hyundai Motors: The Visit

Before we got to experience what the Hyundai Motors factory is really like, we assumed Hyundai was just another South Korean car company. The ocean side Ulsan Plant, located in the south- western part of the country is a sprawling complex with dozens of different buildings all incorporating everything from management to basic parts production. The buildings were not very unique, just a simple gray colour, but the factory area is beautifully covered with trees and flowers surrounding the buildings.

A Trip to POSCO

On Thursday, June 27th our group got the opportunity to visit POSCO Steel, our assigned company for our trip to South Korea. We visited their corporate office and their Pohang Steel Works. Upon arrival at POSCO Steel we were given a tour of the POSCO museum. This Museum tracks their history and success from the start of their company in 1968. One of the most amazing things we learned was why they started. After the Korean War the South Korean economy was struggling and the country needed to build themselves back up. The founder of POSCO set out to create a steel work that would launch South Korean into the industrial age. The museum held a small model of a furnace. After walking inside we watched a video to commemorate the first groundbreaking of the steel mill.

Seoul Survival Challenge

Having spent almost four weeks in Seoul, we had seen a lot of the city, but we did not realize what we were seeing. Seoul is a very large city and each subway stop reveals new treasures. In the Seoul Survival Challenge, we were asked to find and take pictures of different historical and cultural treasures of Seoul. Among these treasures, we visited Namdaemun, Seoul City Hall, and the Korean War Memorial. This experience was quite fun and exciting despite the overwhelming humidity of the Seoul summer.

Seoul Survival Challenge

On Sunday, June 30th our group set out to complete the Seoul Survival Challenge. This challenge was meant to test our knowledge of everything we have learned about Korea in the past three weeks. We were given a list of 12 clues written in Korean. Each clue led to a place in Seoul we had to visit and take a photo. Each group left early Sunday morning in a race to see who would be the first ones back to the school.

Seoul Mates

Walking throughout the city of Seoul, you can easily spot couples holding hands, wearing matching/similar outfits, and the like. Things such as food and drinks come in “couple sets” on menus catering to these lovers. With so much romance in the air, where else but the Seoul Tower should these lovers go visit for some romantic time with one another.


Sunday, June 30th, 2013 - The challenge of a life time. The day we had to put everything that we had learned together and go out on our own.

Germany- First Day of Class

We got to spend our first two days in Koblenz tour, relaxing, walking around, and hanging out. Today was our official first day of class. Our school is located inside the hotel that we are staying along with the lecture room on the 4th floor.

Welcome to the Future!

As our time here comes to a close we are continually shown how technologically advanced South Korea is. Today Brittney, Jenny and I visited our assigned company SK Telecom which is just one of the many subsidiaries under the chaebol (Korean word meaning conglomerate) know as SK Group. Although we have already had the chance to present on SK Telecom to our professors the opportunity to really see all of the technology that SK Telecom is creating first hand was unbelievable. Upon entering the building we were given hand held devices and asked to take a photo of ourselves and enter our name, age and email. The phone then created an avatar with our name that would continue traveling with us throughout the tour.

The museum was separated into various sections, a few examples being U.Home, U.Shopping as well as U.Fashion. For instance U.Home allows you to change your wallpaper from a city view, to a beach, to a meadow filled with hot air balloons all with the swipe of a hand. It also offers the option to call friends, check emails, and view your schedule from the comfort of your couch, basically eliminating the need for all home desktops and computers. U.Home also comes with an interactive coffee table that allows you to instantly share movies and music with other devices and with a simple flick of the wrist you can send your movies to the walls turning your living room or office into your very own IMAX theatre.

U.Shopping on the other hand allows stores to know basic information recorded from your purchasing habits and consumer demographics, for example Brittney’s avatar took note of her age and her love for photography and the system choose a Polaroid Camera and allowed her to try it out on her phone, purchase it as well as send it to an address.

We were then brought over to U.fashion which is yet another leap in technology. A body scanner similar to those that you would find in an airport but much cooler. Once inside it takes a scan of your body and searches the world database of retail picking out specific styles of clothing that would suit your exact body. This technology would eliminate the dread most women feel when purchasing jeans or bathing suits as you would never try on the wrong size or cut again!

Although most of the things we saw today are still not our reality, the fact that they are close enough to have produced prototypes and even commercialized a few of the products we know we aren’t that far off. The above technologies are just a sliver of what SK Telecom is planning to launch in the next decade, it was a pleasure to be able to get a rare glimpse into what our future will be.