It’s been another month of craziness and I’m already halfway done! So much has happened in the span of two months. I have met some of the greatest people here and it’s amazing how close everyone has gotten to each other in such a short amount of time. There’s going to be a lot in this post so sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
My Experiences in Korea
SOONCHUNHYANG MUSIC FESTIVAL
At the end of September there was a big three-day musical festival that only happens during the Fall semester. There were going to be many Korean Artists that will perform. The only two performers I knew were Zico and Bolbbalgan4. Everyone here at SCH was so excited for Zico to perform. His song, “Okey Dokey” is literally the anthem among the students in Global Village. Bolbbalgan4 was incredible live but it was so sad that the school canceled Zico because there was a typhoon headed our way.
A Mini Music Seoul Trip
After the music festival I met up to meet with my friends from Minnesota who were competing in a dance contest in Korea. They were amazing as always and I got to watch Kpop Idols, The Boyz, Dreamcatcher, and JBJ95 perform while I was there. I was traveling by myself but I think I have been to Seoul enough times to navigate by myself. The next day I met up with a couple of my SCH friends to go watch a music show called Music Bank. I was super excited to see more famous artists perform their songs! It was honestly an experience. We stopped at Jumunjin Beach for a bit and it was beautiful. It was great to not be around so many crammed cars and just to be around water.
After the beach we arrived at Music Bank and I got to see so many talented people perform. It was truly an awesome experience!
Coffee Hour: ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE
Preparing for Coffee Hour was a bit stressful but fun! Jiwon, a Korean student who came to Concordia last year was in charge of United, the dance performance group in Global Village had asked me to help her lead a group to perform for Coffee Hour. It was hard to get together and some language barriers but we managed to put on a great show!
Because Coffee Hour was Halloween Themed we played many games like “Guess What’s In the Box” (I won IKEA socks for guessing pine cones) and Musical chairs with spooky music! It was a great time and super fun. I’m sad there’s only two Coffee Hours.
(This was from last Coffee Hour. I don’t have the newest one yet ㅜㅜ)
Hangouts and Friends
Sinchang is actually a very small city. There are many restaurants, bars, PC bangs, and 노래 방’s (karaoke rooms). If you want to go shopping you would have to take the subway to the next few cities like Onyang and Cheonan. What my friends and I usually do is eat out (a lot!), or drinking (because it is part of the culture), and singing. On my language exchanges we usually play games in the Global Lounge or in the Gogos cafe. The most popular games this semester has been Rummikub, Halli Galli, and One Night Ultimate Werewolf. These games are so entertaining that I’m even thinking of buying them for myself.
Traveling is also a good way to get away from the country side. Usually I go to Seoul since it’s the most convenient and easiest to get to. Other popular places people go to are Busan or Jeju Island. This last month of October I went to Gyeongbokgung Palace and dressed up in traditional Hanboks.
Adapting to Korean Culture
Before coming to Korea I thought I had some knowledge about the culture. I knew about handing things to people with two hands and bowing as a respectful aspect of their culture. I knew about their hierarchy system and some very basic terms. I did not think Korea will be different from America. In some perspectives it is but in other ways it’s really different. The longer that I stay here I think of Korea as a very traditional modernized country. Korea is evolving very quickly but because of the culture has a very Confucius foundation, it is still stuck in the past in my eyes. For example usually restaurants in America have semi-formal settings yet in Korea it is very homey and comfortable as if you never left your home. The waiters in Korea are to only serve you food and drinks but for setting the table the customers do it themselves as if you were home.
Korea truly does have a beautiful culture. Being around Korean people and seeing how the interact with each other helps me figure out what I need to do here as well. I can see the changes in my behavior on how I interact with people. I have found myself to be very cautious and even more respectful than I was before. I would bow to everyone and hand things with two hands. I can speak basic conversations, order food, and tell the nice ahjima’s how great their cooking is. There is still so much for me to learn and to truly get comfortable with the country but as of right now I think I am doing a great job of integrating myself into the culture. I believe the true way of knowing that I have understood the culture is when I come back to America and bring these values and behaviors back with me.
Only One And A Half Months To Go
I’m super sad that I have met the halfway point of my journey here in Korea. I have met so many great people and we already talk about how fast this semester is going. Being in a new country is so eye-opening and I can feel myself changing in a good way. I feel like being away from home I can really find myself and how to better myself. I really miss my family and friends back in Minnesota but being here in Korea, it’s like a new adventure everyday! I really hope this last month slows itself down. I’m not ready to come home yet!
Last modified: November 25, 2019