About Me

My name is Kristen O’Brien. My Korean name is Bang Narin (방나린). I just graduated from Marist College and it’s so sad to be saying goodbye to such an amazing college experience, but now I am looking forward to a new adventure! I majored in English Writing with a double minor in Music and Global Studies.

I’m a Korean adoptee, and I was born in Seoul, South Korea. I have a twin sister named Allison, and the two of us were adopted together at 4 months old. We grew up on Long Island, and began exploring more of our roots during college. We studied abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea during Spring 2013 of our Junior year. It was the most amazing time of my life, and I miss it everyday. While studying at Yonsei we managed to meet our birth family, while experiencing Korea and its culture. I instantly fell in love.

Fulbright is my chance to pursue my love for the English language, while also having the invaluable opportunity to work with kids! I’m working at an Elementary School (Gumi Osan Elementary School) in Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do. It’s right next to Daegu.

Some Facts About Me:
– I was adopted from Seoul, South Korea with my twin, Allison
– I’ve been playing piano since I was four, and violin since I was eight.
– I loveeee K-Pop and Korean Dramas. It’s an addiction.
– I really like Korean make up and skin care products!
– I like to shop!!!!

Reading, Shopping, hanging out with friends, watching movies,video games, animals, tea, coffee, Korean food, Italian Food, anime, K-Pop, Korean Dramas

Math, Seafood/Fish, Running (I suck at it, I truly do)

17 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I’m not sure if this is a weird place for this question or not, but you mentioned traveling and exploring. I come from a very much middle class background where on my own I wouldn’t be able to afford such but of course would love to if I get into Fulbright, so my question is whether or not Fulbright gives grantees money to explore and such?
    Also, fellow Kpop fan here! Who’s you’re favorite?

    1. There is no money for exploration. Everything you do for pleasure is out of your own pocket, but again, if you spend your stipend wisely you can save up or have plenty for travel.

      My favorite group is Lunafly but they are considered to be kinda Indie. Other groups I like a lot include CN Blue, SHINee, BTOB, and Sistar~

  2. Stipend? How much do grantees get for that and how often? I can manage money well maybe… If I don’t give in to my Kpop obsession too much… >.> I’ll choose not to mention how many Kpop CDs I bought while studying at Yonsei >.>

    I like CNBlue, SHINee, and Btob, too~ I don’t really knwo Lunafly or Sistar, though. Other than f(x) and the occasional AOA, 2NE1, or Wonder Girls songs I typically prefer boy groups and solo artists. My favorites are GOT7, UKiss, f(x), Kim Jongkook, Eric Nam, and Royal Pirates…. In no particular order except that GOT7 is number one 😛

  3. Oh and can I ask just one more question? Having previous knowledge of the Korean language, do you think it gives more of a chance of getting in to Fulbright, less of a chance, or the same as with no knowledge? I just ask because when I was at Yonsei I took the level 2 and 3 classes and am still continuing my studies at my uni (though I’m losing confidence in my speaking by the day with no real chance to use my Korean and a really poorly organized Korean language class where I easily have the most knowledge aside from maybe the 3 heritage learners). So if I got in I feel like I would definitely be in the advanced class during orientation, but I worry that it might make me less likely to get accepted…

    1. Previous language experience has no influence as far as I know. Everyone is at different levels. I believe it even says on the Fulbright Korea page that no language knowledge is necessary. Though, I think having some knowledge is helpful. Either way, it shouldn’t have any affect on your chances.

  4. Hello there! I am applying to the ETA Korea program and was wondering if you have any advice on applying or any advice for the classroom! I have been following your blog and find it great! Please comment or email me a choffman@gm.slc.edu

    1. Hi Chris,
      I’m so sorry for the late response. I actually went to comment/email you, and thought I had, but I just got caught up with the Chuseok holiday. Anyway, I’m sending you an email right now!

  5. Hi, lovely little blog you have here! After reading your About, I’m just wondering, what is Fulbright?
    Btw I also lovee Korean skincare products; they’re just so much more fun to use ^^

    1. Hello there~
      Glad to hear you like my blog!
      Basically, Fulbright is a grant for US citizens (usually within a few years of graduation), to either teach ESL, engage in research, or to earn a graduate degree while in another country.
      There’s a lot of countries Fulbright is offered in, but my grant is in South Korea! I posted a section about Fulbright here: https://shadeofjadeblog.wordpress.com/about-fulbright/

      I should post more updates about Korean skincare/make up. I posted a companion blog, but I haven’t been updating…

      1. Wow, sounds like an amazing opportunity for you! Too bad I’m not American, can’t take advantage..LOL. You should keep posting about all your experiences as a Fulbright scholar though, it’s pretty cool 😀

      2. Thanks! I wasn’t much of a blogger until I came to Korea to teach, and felt like I should consistently blog. I always had issues posting consistently, but I wanted to do it for my family (so they know what I’m up to), for me (so I can look back on all of my experiences and see all that I did while here), and to help other future Fulbrighters~ Even though you can’t do Fulbright, there are many other ways to come and teach in Korea! EPIK is another program offered through the Korean government! My sister is here through EPIK.

  6. Hi Kristen!

    I’m planning to apply for the Fulbright in Korea this year as well and was wondering if you had any specific advice on applying or on your experience in Korea in general as well! My email is mahn2@villanova.edu, and I would really appreciate and love to hear anything you have to say!

    1. Hi Michelle!
      Thanks for your comment. If you have any specific questions that you want to ask, (like about the application process) that’d be helpful for me, so I know what points I should address.
      Feel free to send me an email at krobrien7@gmail.com and I’ll reply to you~

  7. Hi Kristen,
    I am so happy to have found your blog! I will be joining the Fulbright program in Korea this coming July. Your posts gave me a lot of insight into what to expect. I know it must be a busy time for you, but if you have time, I would greatly appreciate any advice/ tips about teaching in Korea / the Fulbright program in general!

    1. Yes! This appears to be the new rule.
      I bought 2 #6 boxes and packed them up, then went to the P.O and was told I need to repack them into #5 boxes.

      When you are buying your boxes I’d ask your P.O! Some P.O’s may allow it, but from what I heard, #6 boxes have been shipped and stopped and returned before.

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