There is only two weeks left in this semester and it is going by really fast! So much things have happened the last 3ish months I have been here but there is still much more things that I have to still do. Almost every weekend I find myself going to Seoul to explore new places that I haven't seen. One weekend I was invited by my club to do an MT (Members Training) where we all go to a pension and stay there for 2 nights, 3 days. It is a good way to get to know a lot of Koreans and see their daily life. We played dodge ball in a shape of a square where those who were called 'out' is still able to participate and support their team, Yutnori; a Korean game similar to America's 'Sorry', and Test of Courage where pairs will go up a scary route at night and see if they get scared. That trip was really fun, however fighting for the showers and bathrooms was the only downfall. There was also a 4 day holiday weekend in the beginning of May where I travelled to Busan. However, those 4 days weren't enough to explore every thing... at most, within those days I got to visit Haeundae Beach, Gwangali Beach, and Taejongdae Light House. Unfortunately I didn't get to try any of the street food Busan had to offer because there was just not enough time. So my advice on traveling within Korea, make sure you have a PLAN! and also have exact times of how long you will visit a place, along with the times for your subway (Jihachul) that you will most likely be catching all the time. If I had to say, I spend most of my time on a subway than it is at an actual location.
So the places I have visited so far is: Seoul (Myeongdong, Jongno, Namdaemun, Gyeongbokgung, Gwanghwamun, Gangnam, Olympic Park *For BLOCK B's Concert*, Yeouido, Yangjae), Suwon, Cheonan, Asan, Onyangoncheon, Changwan and Busan (Haeundae, Gwangali, Taejongdae).
This Saturday May 31st, I will be traveling to Jeonju with my roommate to see her hometown and possibly meet her family. In Korea, it is polite to give a gift when visiting a Korean's family or home. Currently I am still figuring out what to give.
Some things you should know before going to SCH; Once you go through orientation and the semester begins, you will have to attend Exchanges with Korean students who are also in the Global Village program. These students are those who want to learn English, while us internationals, should learn Korean through these exchanges. I honestly find it very helpful learning Korean through conversation rather than through a textbook. You also get hands on experience when you order food, or talk in general with your exchange. However, don't be surprised if some of your Korean exchanges don't show up after the first time. I have a total of 9 exchanges Monday - Thursday, but only 7 out of the 9 show up. As long as you clock in, you are fine. The clock in/out is run by the study abroad office at SCH, that uses your finger print. So each time you have an exchange, you will clock in with your finger print, and clock out the same way. They will teach you during the orientation. These exchanges are an hour each and the Koreans are assigned to you at random. Most of the Koreans will want to have an exchange with you around noon to have lunch with you because it is easier to kill time. But I assure you that after the first two meetings with your exchanges, you will become friends in no time!
So far during this semester, we had two International Coffee Hours, Sports Day, and Global Day. We would have had a Spring Festival and a Parade, however that was cancelled due to the Sewol Ferry accident.
I can say the second coffee hour was way better than the first. The difference between the two is most likely because there was games to play. the second coffee hour had lots of prizes and fun games to play, while the first was just a chill hangout. Sports Day was pretty fun too. I'm not sure how the future Sports Day will be but I know for me it was a battle between floors of GV. Red Team was floors 2, 4, and 601 while Blue team was floors 3, 5, and 602. I was on Red Team. Rules here in korea is that who ever wins, has to eat after the losers. Luckily for me, my team lost and we got to eat first. Also for sports day, you are given a shirt to wear to the event. As for Global Day, we just had it and it was a blast! but very tiring after. A lot of the koreans and chinese students stopped by our Hawaii table to take a picture at our waikiki background and eat some of our homemade haupia and lihingmui apples. Me, and two other HPU students represented HPU by wearing our HPU Shirts. There was also one UH Manoa student representing their school as well. I think it went fairly well because not only did the Koreans and Chinese learn something about Hawaii, so did the other International students! I'm surprised that most of them didn't know what Haupia was or what Lei's were. It's really great to show our culture to other students of different cultures as well.
VERY IMPORTANT! If you ever injure yourself or get sick, visit the Clinic on the school's campus FIRST! They will tell you whether or not you should go to the hospital. If they say for you to go to the hospital and you know it's not a big deal, then refuse them and ask for pain killers of some sort. Bring a Korean with you to help translate because it will be very helpful. I've been to the clinic and hospital at least 2-3 times already. For an injured toe, they will go as far as telling you to go to the hospital and putting a cast on your whole leg, and it will be very expensive even with health insurance. DON'T DO THAT. Instead have your Korean friend tell the clinic or hospital to just do a simple wrap. Same thing if you sprain your ankle. (This will happen quite often if you aren't careful going up or down the many stairs here in Korea.)
Also if you do get sick, make sure you bring Dayquil or Nyquil or any cold medications from home because here in Korea, I noticed that all they will give you is Vitamins. I had to have my parents send some Moltrin and Claratin D24 pills and it was expensive to ship. So I advise to pack accordingly and make sure you have enough to last you your entire semester or year.
Here are some pictures~
Here are some pictures~