It's been about a month since I first arrived in Korea and it's been a blast so far! Within the weeks I've been here, I've made a lot of friends from both Korea and around the world; I'm grateful for that. My adventure so far has been filled with traveling to different cities, trying new foods, experiencing authentic Korean culture, and of course having fun!
When I first seen how visually different this place was, I was even more excited to explore this it's beauty. Studying and living in the countryside of Korea (Sinchang), I feel that I can grasp more of the authenticity of Korean culture.
Being here in Korea really opened my eyes to a whole new world. Studying here at Soon Chun Hyang University and staying in their 'Global Village' dormitory, I'm learning a lot of new things everyday about Korean culture. In my suite, I live with a large number of Korean students. Not only they were welcoming, but they really had an interest in learning more about my culture as much as I wanted to learn about theirs. I often learn a lot of useful Korean words and phrases from my suite mates a.k.a. my suite brothers. With that, I also try to understand their customs and traditions. This usually means the customs of eating, drinking, and also addressing elders. Significantly, these customs focus around the idea of 'respect'.
|Samgyeopsal dinner with my suite brothers in Sinchang|
- Sharing food is common (eating from the same pot)
- Table is always filled with Banchan (unlimited side dishes)
- Oldest usually eats first
- Rice, Soup, Chopsticks & Spoon, Main Dish
- Sometimes drinking (soju, beer, makgeolli) while eating
- Slurping is okay (noodles)
Alongside this unique characteristic of Korean culture, pop culture is something that makes Korea come alive. If you're walking down the streets of Seoul, you
|"Selfie" in the streets of Myeongdong|
When I first went shopping in Seoul, I was introduced to the concept of bargaining. Similar to it's already fast-paced lifestyle, street vendors try to sell their products as quickly as possible. Bargaining usually refers to getting something for a cheaper price. I've experienced this situation about 5-7 times now and I always find it so unique. There were some cases when some of the ahjummas (older ladies) would stare at me for a while, trying to convince me to buy a shirt or backpack. One good bargaining experience I had was getting back pack for half the price. Instead of a $40 bag, I got the bag for $20. It was an interesting, funny, and lucky experience. I'm sure that I will encounter a lot more bargaining in the near future.
As I write about my first month here in Korea, I really have a lot more to say and a lot more to show. I often wake up in the morning and realize that I'm thousands of miles away from home and yet, I'm making the best of my time abroad. So far, I'm really grateful to have the opportunity to experience something so unique. I still have a lot more things to explore and experience before traveling back home. This is only the beginning of my wonderful adventure!