Friday, March 22, 2013

Traveler Talk! Casey

Casey is a student at the University of Iowa, and she chose HI-Chicago for her spring break destination this year!  I had the chance to catch up with her on her last day at the hostel, and she had a lot of interesting things to say about her trip.  She came to Chicago with a friend from school, and while they was here, they thought that it would be a good idea to check out some of the schools in the area, so they spent some time exploring the University of Chicago.  They also mastered the CTA and ventured out to Evanston to see Northwestern University.
Chicago is just the most recent stop in Casey’s travel history.  She’s originally from Tainan, Taiwan, and she has taken trips to Greece and Turkey in the past.  Along with her native Taiwanese and English (which she has completely mastered), she also speaks Korean, Mandarin, and is currently studying Japanese.  This multi-talented girl is a Journalism student, and hopes to use her language skills throughout her career.  While in Chicago, Casey had a chance to see the sights, and one of her favorite places was Millenium Park.  She loved the uniqueness of the Bean, and the overall architecture in the city intrigues her because it’s very different from the buildings in her hometown.
She didn’t get to spend much time soaking up the sun on her spring break because it’s been so cold here lately, but luckily she did get to enjoy some time outside today.  When the sun wasn’t shining, she took refuge in museums like the Art Institute.  She loved looking at all the unique pieces there, especially the artwork in the Picasso exhibit.  The fact that she was able to have an awesome time despite the wind and cold weather is one of the things that she will remember most about her trip.  We are pretty well prepared for the elements here, and she liked that we know how to have a good time no matter what crazy state the weather is in.

Have a safe trip home Casey, and we’re glad that you had a great experience in Chicago!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Traveler Talk! Jisoo Yoon and Soo Hyun Choi

I caught up with Soo Hyun Choi and Jisoo Yoon this morning as they were finishing up their breakfast.  Today is the last day of their trip, and we had a chance to talk a little bit about their experience so far.  Although it was their first time in Chicago, neither one of the girls are new to the United States.  They are studying economics at a SUNY university in New York, and have had a chance to travel to places like Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Boston and Washington D.C.  

Spring break brought the pair to Chicago, and they were pretty surprised that it could be so cold here in March.  Compared to their hometown in Daejeon, South Korea, Chicago is practically a frozen tundra.  But they didn’t let the weather get them down.  They spent time at the Art Institute and took a step out of their comfort zone on the Willis Tower skydeck.  Even though Jisoo Yoon thought that Chicago could sometimes be scary at night because the streets seem empty compared to NY, she agreed with Soo Hyun Choi that a good overall description of the city would be romantic.  They loved the lights and the ambiance that the city and the buildings create.

Glad you're having a good trip guys, and we hope you enjoy the last day of your stay in Chicago!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Traveler Talk! Young and Hanfuk

Young and Hanfuk are here at the hostel for a week-long vacation in the Windy City.  They are both from South Korea: Hanfuk is from Seoul, and Young is from a smaller town just outside of the city.  They came to Chicago for sightseeing, and so far they have accomplished quite a bit.  Everything that they have done, like seeing Millenium Park, UIC, and the Tribune Tower, have been awesome experiences.  They love the architecture here, and are planning on seeing the city from an aerial point of view tomorrow when they visit the Skydeck in Willis Tower.

The diversity here has struck the two of them as the biggest difference between Chicago and Seoul.  It’s very interesting for them to see people of many different nationalities strolling the streets of Chicago.  Young told me that I would definitely notice the difference if I were to visit South Korea because my blonde hair would stick out like a sore thumb.  The variety in cuisine that we have here is also quite different from their hometown.  Hanfuk thinks that it’s pretty awesome how they can have good Korean food here one night, and an excellent burrito the next!

The pair has three more days left for their trip, and all of us here at HI-Chicago wish them happy travels!

By: Intern Sarah Consoer

Friday, March 8, 2013

Traveler Talk! Kat

This afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting Kat here at HI-Chicago.  She’s from Tulsa, Oklahoma and is visiting the city in order to compete in a national poetry competition!  Her team won regionals in Tulsa, so they have come here to go head to head against teams from Canada, Texas and Chicago for the “Louder than a Bomb” poetry championship title.  Last year, her brother won the poetry competition in the individual category, and we hope that Kat’s team will be able to continue the tradition this year!

Understandably, the poetry slam is her main focus, but she has been able to do some other sightseeing while she’s been here.  Kat has already gone shopping down the Magnificent Mile, and last night her group had a chance to see the Second City.  Since the weather is so nice today, the team plans to go for a walk and see the Bean.  Then tomorrow they are going to take advantage of our discount and visit the Art Institute.  Kat said that she absolutely loves Chicago, especially all the opportunities that we have for pursuing art, music, and business.  She sees it as a place where people come to do big things with their lives.

Hopefully you’ll do big things at the competition tonight, Kat!  And thanks for staying with us at HI-Chicago.

By: Intern Sarah Consoer

Friday, March 1, 2013

Traveler Talk! Ross, Grey & AJ

Ross, Grey, and AJ were enjoying a bit of Friday afternoon pool when I caught up to them in the HI-Chicago lobby.  Grey is a Chicago native, AJ lives in Holland, and Ross is from Scotland, but currently living in Amsterdam.  After talking to them for a bit, I noticed that their different backgrounds led to some interesting differences in their opinions of the city.  Since Grey has had a while to notice the finer details about Chicago, he’s decided that the architecture here is what he really loves.  “Even if you’re walking down a single block, there is always something new and interesting to look at,” he said when describing how our architecture really contributes to the feel of the city.  For AJ, the Shedd Aquarium stood out as a great place to spend the afternoon.  He was able to see the dolphin show there and really enjoyed his time.  Ross, on the other hand, said that the Wiener’s Circle was definitely his favorite place in Chicago.  Well, that and the shop that he went to in order to get his most recent tattoo.  Apparently he’s not bothered by physical OR emotional discomfort.  

Late night partying isn’t the scene for any of these three gentlemen, but Ross did go to the Hard Rock CafĂ© here since he works at the one in Amsterdam.  He had a great experience, and said that a worker there was able to guess his exact age (27), and that is pretty ridiculously impressive.  One of the biggest differences that stuck out to Ross between Amsterdam and Chicago was the size.  “Chicago is at least ten times the size of Amsterdam,” he replied, and AJ agreed.  He elaborated by joking that the state of Illinois is most likely bigger than all of Holland.  They also think that there is way more variety in things like food, art and music here in Chicago than there is in Amsterdam.  Grey shares this belief, and if he were to describe the city in one word, it would be “Diverse.”  He really enjoys how you can walk down the streets and go from Chinatown to Greek Town to the Ukrainian Village all within the same city.  When Ross chose a word to describe Chicago, he decided on “Crazy.”  He swears that he’s seen multiple people on the street talking to themselves.  I suggested that maybe they were just using a Bluetooth, but he’s sure that we’re all just a little bit crazy.

By: Intern Sarah Consoer