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South Korea Exchange

Living in Global Village

            It’s finally the end of the semester, and so much has happened. I know I’ve been recording all my experiences in Korea so far, but in this post I’m going to spill some information for interested students. Global village is a great program and it’s a great place for students to make friends with many people from different backgrounds. However, don’t expect to get along with everyone you meet. This was one of my expectations when I first came to Korea. I was friendly and tried to get to know everyone, introducing myself, etc. For the first week, I did get along with some people. However, because I didn’t involve myself in social gatherings with other foreigners, I became very distant with them. Global village quickly formed cliques amongst the students. Not only that, but I realized how strange many people are here. I’m not going to lie to your face, but there are many students here who are ignorant to other cultures. Majority are white American students with no exposure to any other cultures, especially Korean culture obviously. I suggest that if you are willing to have an open mind and expose yourself to different things, then for sure, you should come to Korea.

            Studying abroad, you should spend time focusing on studies and also getting to know a new culture also. It’s more than just partying but also learning new knicks and knacks. When studying abroad, you should learn new cultures as well as share your own.Not only have I learned a lot about Korean culture, but I’ve also learned a lot about other cultures. I’ve made friends from China, Mongolia, Europe, Uzbekistan, etc. This is what’s great about the global village program. The exposure to new cultures unknown to you makes it exciting to study abroad at Soonchunghyang. I just want future incoming students to know that, if you don’t come with an open mind, you’ll just end up hating the semester.

            I’ve met many other foreigner students who didn’t even attempt to learn Korean and its culture. After spending about four months in Korea, some students can’t even respond or comprehend simple Korean. Many complain about the language and people, and whine about wanting to go back home as soon as possible. It’s annoying because there are plenty of people who would have liked to study abroad in Korea in their place, willing to learn the culture and such. Which is why I warn you; if you don’t have an open and curious mind, then don’t think about studying abroad. If you’re not willing to step out of your comfort zone, then you can stay home.

            In comparison to Concordia, discrimination here is not as bad. However, you can’t escape prejudice and stereotypes even abroad. Korea is also a homogeneous society, so that also comes into play. Many Koreans never had interaction with foreigners, and I have some friends who never had any foreigner friends until Global village. But it’s not a bad thing! This is where you can educate people about your culture and such. At Concordia, many students could care less about Hmong culture or other cultures. However, in Korea, I’ve had many friends who didn’t know who the Hmong people were. After I’d tell them about our history and such, many of my friends would be fascinated; eager to learn more. Although there may be grounded stereotypes here, you can always open the minds of others and educate them on your own culture and such. Compared to Concordia, where many people choose to associate with people of their own cultures; and where ignorance and prejudice is abundant on campus. Studying abroad, you can’t escape certain individuals who are ignorant of different cultures. However, you can show them that you’re better by educating others about your culture and also accepting other peoples cultures. You can show them better by having an open and respectful mind, that way many people will come to respect you and you’ll have many friends with that attitude. 



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The reality.

I’ve been in South Korea for a good two months and so far, it’s been amazing!! I have adapted pretty well and I honestly still cannot believe I am here!! As much as I appreciate and love South Korea, I have also noticed some things that aren’t exactly the greatest..! Now, I definitely understand that every country has it’s pros and cons, but today, I’d like to discuss more serious topics in my blog post! Of course, when studying abroad, one should immerse themselves in the rich culture and enjoy every bit! I have been definitely doing that, but I think it’s important to talk about how different some things are in a foreign country and to make future study abroad students aware of these things. Sure, many of us may already have expectations about the country we want to study in, but there are just some things that you just can’t learn or understand unless you are living on that country’s soil. 

DISCLAIMER: I definitely do not want to discourage ANYONE who wants to study abroad!! I definitely encourage it. I just think that it’s important to talk about more serious topics, especially when studying abroad in a foreign country! As you can see, I am enjoying my time here! :D 

BEAUTY:
Self image is HUGE in South Korea. Of course if you know at least a bit about South Korea, you’d know that South Korea is known for their mass production of cosmetics and plastic surgery clinics. With the pressure of society, many people feel the need to always look nice. Even if they’re simply running a quick errand, they may need to put makeup on, or if they aren’t wearing makeup, they’ll wear a cap and surgical mask. In my experience, Subway station bathrooms are always usually filled with girls fixing their hair/makeup or doing their makeup for the day. You’ll see girls also doing makeup on subways, in school bathrooms, in restaurants after a meal, or even while walking to places. Many Korean males also have skin care and make up routines as well.  There are also A LOT more mirrors here in public spaces! Of course, retouching makeup happens in America as well, but it’s much more prominent in South Korea. Living here, even I’ve started to constantly look at myself and also subconsciously reaching for my travel makeup bag to re-apply makeup after a meal or drink. Many Korean girls I know understand that it’s a problem here, and they don’t like the idea of looks playing such an important part of being a person in South Korea, but it’s apart of society here, so they can’t really stop it. Think of America’s society and beauty standards amplified by 2! My roommate and female exchanges also feel pressured to always lose weight “to become more beautiful” (Quoted from one of my exchanges) despite them being..probably a size XS in the US? Many of the international students have also quickly adapted to the fashion here and even make up styles for a..sense of belonging I guess you could say? I’ve always known about South Korea’s obsession with beauty and their beauty standards, but knowing about the standards is so different compared to living within the standards. This is my personal experience with beauty in South Korea, and it may not be similar to others. Before coming to South Korea, I was heavily interested in makeup and beauty, so this is one of the things that affect me the most! 

SENIORITY:
Age in Korea is SO IMPORTANT. On campus, you’ll see many lower class men bowing whenever they see their seniors (anyone who is older than them/ most of the public bowing I’ve seen usually happens to seniors within the same major as the underclass men) The under class men essentially have to listen to what the seniors command as well. My friend’s roommate is the oldest of their suite, and he can basically boss everyone else around and they’d have to listen to him because he’s the hyung (형/ literal terms: ‘older brother’) .  Many seniors take advantage of this position and will treat their Dongsaengs (동생| younger sibling) / hoobaes (후배 / someone with less experience) badly. Sometimes they’re even treated as the senior’s personal assistant. It’s a cultural thing that I understand, but I don’t really like the fact that many seniors seem to take advantage of their hoobaes. One of my Korean friends has gotten yelled at and threatened by her senior because she spoke English to him instead of Korean. (Note: they are both in the English language exchange program) I thought it was a bit much, and many Koreans also agree that seniors can take it a bit far with their status. 

I am honestly thankful to be able to have experienced first hand how these play into Korea’s society and culture. Though I may think of it as a bit negative, I am glad to be able to experience the reality of South Korea. I think it’s definitely important to educate yourself about the negative aspects of a foreign country, so you can deeply connect and understand the natives to an extent. I was a bit hesitant to post this, because of course, I want to show you all my fun adventures, but I also want to express how I feel about certain things, and not everything may be positive despite me being absolutely in LOVE with South Korea!! 

My next post will definitely be more light hearted and full of pictures!! :)



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Second Month in Korea~

It’s crazy to believe that two months have already passed. Each and every week there’s always something to do. It never gets boring here in Korea, even if others disagree. Surprisingly, I actually enjoy the countryside here in Sinchang(신창). Many of the returnees think that the countryside is boring and not as exciting; However I find enjoyment out of the little things that I do here. Such things are like trying out different restaurants and hanging out with both my international and Korean friends. This past month, I’ve gotten closer to my friends and that allowed me to make friends with more folks from global village. I’ve made so many friends in the month of October and many crazy and fun things have happened during my stay here so far. 

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October 21st, my friends and I went to Seoul and visited Itaewon. Itaewon is an area in Seoul which is popular with foreigners. We went there because we were helping a friend out with buying more fashionable and “U.S” sized clothes (We also wanted to eat actual Latino Food). Itaewon wasn’t as amazing as most people make it out to be, and it’s not my favorite area in Seoul. We went to a Mexican restaurant, and the food was good! However, the restaurants in Itaewon are just like the restaurants back in America. Service takes a long time and the food amount is smaller than what you pay for. One reason why I wasn’t a big fan of Itaewon, because  I’m so used to getting food quickly from Korean restaurants that the American style of service was disappointing. 

We couldn’t find much in Itaewon, so later that day we went to Hongdae and then Ewha. I can’t believe that we managed to go to three different areas in Seoul and make it back to school in time. The thing I don’t like about here is that there are strict curfew times compared to the U.S. After a certain time, the doors close and will not open for students. That’s why there’s so many stories about people sneaking back into global village. Especially from the boys. 

Ah! I completely forgot, but compared to the states, midterms are taken much more seriously here. During midterms week, all the Korean students would study rigorously in their rooms or at the libraries. My roommate would study up until 4am, and would spend most nights at the library. It’s crazy compared to Concordia back in Minnesota. I could care less about midterms in Minnesota, because I didn’t really feel stressed when I’d take tests. However, here because everyone is stressed, it also makes yourself feel stressed. But, I didn’t worry too much about midterms other than my Korean speaking test. 

Last Wednesday, I participated in an event known as “Global Day”. It’s a small festival which consists of tents of different countries which are hosted by different international students. I wanted to represent Hmong culture, so both Lumena and I hosted our own tents. Surprisingly, we had a good amount of people interested in our tent and many of our friends came by to support as well. It was great seeing all my international friends in their traditional outfits and cooking their cultural foods. I had a lot of fun that day, and many people wanted to take pictures with me in my traditional (modern version) Hmong outfit. Global day was a fun day and I definitely will do another Hmong tent for next semester!

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Cheers to one month!

Hello everyone! I’m finally checking in from South Korea! I feel like I can’t even type in English anymore! This is especially ironic because, I am an english major!! I am just always surrounded by Hangul and Korean in general nowadays~! I’ve been here for over a month or so, in South Korea! First off, the flight to South Korea was a killer! I flew from Minnesota to San Francisco, to South Korea. Totalling to about 20+ hours! Once getting to Soon Chun Hyang, all the students who arrived that evening, checked in with Suejung! Our wonderful advisor who is in charge of all the international students. We went through introduction stuff and setting up bank accounts for the first week or so. Classes started to kick in and I started making a bunch of new friends. I’ve traveled to Seoul almost every weekend that I’ve been here! 

I absolutely love the area that SCH is located in! Sinchang is an awesome area with many restaurants and marts! For a “small” area, it’s pretty huge and there’s always something to do, something to eat, and something to buy in Sinchang! 

 

Sinchang~

Sinchang~

Sinchang at night~!

Sinchang at night~!

Sinchang is also near other cities that also have an extensive amount of shops and food! A popular place that many students travel to is Onyang, which is one subway stop away from Sinchang! 

Onyang has a huge street market full of produce and street foods that are worth trying!

Onyang Market!

tteokbokki from Han's Deli in Onyang

tteokbokki from Han’s Deli in Onyang

I was also lucky enough to celebrate my 20th birthday in Korea!! It was a blast. My suite mates and new friends were so caring and thoughtful, I felt very touched by the whole experience~

My friends surprised me with a cake!!

My friends surprised me with a cake!!

Overall, my first month has been extremely busy! I am so excited to see what’s in store for me this semester! 

 



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First month at SCH

It’s been close to a month ever since I left Minnesota. In South Korea, so much has happened within a short period of time. For the first week, we pretty much had to do another welcome weekend type of orientation. We set up our korean bank accounts, which was fairly easy to do. Also I got to meet many new people, and made great friends with other foreigners. The worst days were the orientation days, going through five plus hours of boring presentations. Everything I felt could have been condensed into one presentation. Otherwise, I’ve just been so in shock that I was actually in Korea.


Making many new friends within the first week, my friends and I wanted to go visit Seoul. That weekend we booked an airbnb guest house in Hongdae, and the owner was polite to us We went to myeongdong and it was amazing. Nothing I’ve ever seen before, so many people and tourists there to buy things. I didn’t spend much money on things except for food. FOOD. That is my weakness here, and I thought I’d be able to distance myself away from it. The prices of food here are way cheaper than in Minnesota; when looking for Korean food obviously. Cheaper and better in quality too, because many places are family owned and such.


Anyways, before myeongdong, we visited the national museum of Korea. It was huge and many people were there for field trips and such. We only got through half of the museum because we were in a time crunch. But we saw many people walking up the stairs, and decided to see what was so interesting. As we got up the stairs, we saw that the museum had a beautiful view of seoul.
After that weekend, I came back on Sunday and met my roommate. My roommate also had a concordia student as her roommate. She was adorable and her english was very good as well. However, the only problem was that she had dance practice every night. Meaning that I barely got to see her except late at night. She was in a dance club and they were practicing for the phoenixia festival.

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Hongdae!

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View from the National Museum of Korea

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In the streets of Myeongdong


Phoenixia festival was a three day event where students could rest and also where clubs could raise funds etc. On the third day, Lumena(another csp student) and I had nothing to do for the rest of the day, so we waited in the front row of the stage for four hours. The reason behind this is because famous idols and performers would come later. Eventually we got to watch close up performances of 9muses, Reddy, and Cjamm. It was really cool and I definitely enjoyed the night of the festival.

 

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Four members of 9muses

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Reddy

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Cjamm

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Many students came to watch the performers

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After the festival, we had the time to hang out with each other!


This past weekend, many Korean students went home for Chuseok. Chuseok(추석) is pretty much a Korean thanksgiving, and many would celebrate uit at their grandparents home. Wednesday, thursday, and friday we had no school. For both wednesday and thursday, I ended up just staying on campus. However on Friday, I went along with my group of friends to Ewha in Seoul. We did shopping there, and there were many stores catered towards women. We had a great time, but we were in a rush to come back to global village. Global village, the dorms that international students live at, has a curfew every day at 11:30pm. If you can’t make it by that time, Ahjussi (Our security guard) will close the doors. We tried fitting four of us in the taxi, but the taxi driver didn’t allow it. My friend and I were kicked out and had to wait at the end of the line waiting for taxi’s. Not to mention that it was also raining, and we had bags of merchandise. Fifteen minutes passed, and we finally were able to get back….at 11:46pm. Thankfully our friends waited for us, and we had to thank Ahjussi a lot.


Saturday, I really wanted to go to seoul. So I ended up going by myself. Although my korean is still beginner level, I knew how the subway functioned. I left at 9:00 am and reached Gyeongbokgung(경복궁) around 12:30 pm . I had to save money so I just took photos of the gate and then continued walking around the area. I somehow ended venturing through Insadong, where there were many foreigners. It was interesting, and I walked back to the palace. I checked out the palace museum and it was interesting; however, it was much smaller than the national museum of Korea. Later, I went to Hongdae to meet up with friends. I won’t go into more detail, but that day was very fun and tiring. I would suggest many others who are thinking of coming to korea to go venture in Seoul by yourself. Get lost and walk around. Explore. It was amazing, and I’ll definitely do it again.
Anyways here is the end of my post, but I’ll keep you guys updated later on!

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Something I stumbled across walking in the streets near Insadong and Gyeongbokgung!

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Gyeongbokgung

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Seoul buildings near Gyeongbokgung

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Insadong



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Last Thoughts

It has been over a week since I have been back home in Minnesota from South Korea. I had a tough week adjusting back to Minnesota time. However, thanks to my friends, they kept me awake throughout the day keeping me busy so I wouldn’t sleep.

While I am back at home doing nothing, I have been doing a lot of reflecting on my trip. I had many ups and downs, but through it all it was such a wonderful experience. I was definitely homesick, and yearned to be home as soon as I was able to. Nonetheless, I persevered and made the most out of my every day life in Korea. I think one regret was missing home too much!!! I did not think I would miss home so much, but I had my little two-years-old sister back at home growing up so fast, so I wanted to be home and be a part of her growth.


Soonchunhyang University (SCH) is so far from the fun lifestyle. Students have to put extra effort into being adventurous. However, this is a positive thing because living in Seoul wouldn’t push an individual to go further out in certain parts of Korea. For example, I went to Jeonju, which is about one hour, south of Sinchang. No Seoul student would ever travel there, but we were closer to the area that my friends and I decided to make a trip there.

Choosing Soonchunhyang University to go study abroad at was the best choice ever. Initially, Thailand was where I wanted to go, but I found this program. My first choice of going into this program was not the weekly stipend I received, rather it was the opportunity to engage with Korean students in English. Maybe it was because I am an ESL Teacher major, but I went with a genuine intention of wanting to help Korean students improve their English skills. This program really revealed my skills as a future ESL teacher. I believe I am not academically intelligent, however, I believe I will still be an effective teacher. Going to South Korea proved that I am going in the right direction of career choice.

Our program with SCH is a wonderful program; it is unique from others. We really get to live life with Korean students and meet many other Koreans. Sometimes we meet other Koreans from our friends who are not from our program. While living life with Koreans daily, we learn so much from them. We experience the culture, and hear their thoughts and opinions as a Korean. We truly get to understand a Korean mindset or lifestyle. Another amazing experience is meeting all sorts of people from many different countries. Aside from meeting people from European countries (Switzerland, Finland, and Germany), China, Japan, Canada, and other U.S. people, I met a Mongolian and Uzbekistani people for the first time ever. I didn’t even know Uzbekistan existed. I loved it that I met so many people from all over the world.

Although far away from Seoul, where life happens, I have no regrets in choosing to study at Soonchunhyang University. Life was quite simple, and I loved it. I learned to embrace the simple life!! Each time I went to Seoul, I wanted to go back to easy-going, quiet Sinchang.

There is much to say about my trip. I reflected a lot! But, to keep it as simple as can be, South Korea was a wonderful place to be. I was able to learn about myself. I experienced new things. I blended in with the people VERY well, maybe a little too much – there were too many times people mistook me as a Korean. I learned so much about the country; its culture, history, and people. Most of all, I met so many wonderful people whom I call FRIENDS. I met a lot of people, but not every one was my friend. However, the people who I befriended became so precious to me.

South Korea definitely stretched me and challenged me. If I could, I would definitely stay in Korea longer, but I was in a rush to come home to my sister and there’s responsibilities I have. I loved everything I went through, even the hard times adjusting to the culture.

My advice for future travelers is allow yourself to experience the hardships, but still push forward and enjoy what lays in front of you. No country is perfect or wonderful. You will feel like you got smacked by a brick wall because of cultural barriers and shock, but that is natural. Embrace it and keep going. Do not dwell in the hardships, but see it as a way to be stronger and enjoy every moment or else you’ll regret not trying. 



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Only Three Week Left In S. Korea

Oh my god! Time really do go fast but, at the same, I really do miss home. However, recently here at Soonchunhyang we had ‘Global Day’ which was held on May 18th.

An early morning of before Global Day start. Everyone is neither still asleep up in their room up in the dorm or have already kind of prepare their tent for the day. This picture was taken at 9am and the Global Day event doesn't actually start until 11am.

An early morning of before Global Day start. Everyone is neither still asleep up in their room up in the dorm or have already kind of prepare their tent for the day. This picture was taken at 9am and the Global Day event doesn’t actually start until 11am.

There were, I think about 12 or 13 tents setup that day and each tent had their own activities they were doing. There were I believe 3 tents that was actually cooking food at their tent rather than having some kind of activities. It was a really fun day but, at the same time it was a super tiring day for everyone also because we were all running around everywhere. It was also super hot that day, everyone was crazily hovering at the China tent because there was hand printed fans over there and everyone on that day really did needed something to fan themselves with. Even I was dying from staying inside this 3-walled tent on this such hot weather day. In the end, everything went well and everyone was happy. However, the Friday beforDSC01614e ‘Global Day,’ we actually also had another event for all international students. It was called ‘Sport Night,’ which was where everyone come together at the gymnastic and competitive against one another. There were actually two team, a black (

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Temple food (bean sports , steam green veggies, some other purple looking steam veggies, kimchi, rice, and rice cake)

odd number dorm) and a white (even number dorm). You could say it was fun but, there wasn’t really enough games for every single person be able to actually play overall because since it was a Friday, most of the Korean students who live in Global Village are usually leave to go home on Friday morning. There wasn’t much people there at ‘Sport Night’ than at ‘Global Day’ because of the day differences. Now enough of that talk, recently about a week ago, I decided to visit a Buddhist temple again. But, being the person who I was, I totally forgot that it was Buddhist’s birthday and when I arrived there, there were a crowded of people there. It was actually my first time seeing this much people here at the temple for once since the last time I came, which was actually in the winter. I saw many new things and actually try eating temple food for the first time, and also my last.

At the Buddhist temple on Buddhist's birthday (May 14th)

At the Buddhist temple on Buddhist’s birthday (May 14th)

This is kind of how I’ve been spending my time during this May season here in Korea, this also remind me. I really need to start catching my on my studies now since final exam is only a week away. I’ve been totally lazy on my studying now since I’ve been in Korea for no particular reason. Now then, I hope to write another blog before the semester ends here in Korea but, I’m not totally sure if I’ll remember since I do easily forget things. 

See ya!



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Global Life

Yesterday was Global Day in Soonchunhyang University, which is an event for all the international students to represent their country, state, or culture. Students participating in a tent had their own activity/food. Almost all of the tents had food, but I saw some who showed a fortune answer to your wish. There was also a booth that painted beautiful images on fans and wrote calligraphy on them. It was quite eventful.

 

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During Global Day, Mai and I were able to represent the Hmong people. Sadly, because Hmong people has no homeland, every one was quite confused about our tent. In the brochure it said Laos and “Heu-Mong,” but it was completely wrong, because Laos is not our original homeland. However, in a sense it is correct because to many of our elderly families, Laos is home to them. I so enjoyed having the opportunity to share who the Hmong people are. Also, surprisingly I met a few people who knew about the Hmong, which made me so happy to hear. I loved that during Global Day I was able to represent my people, the Hmong. I am also thankful that I so happened to have brought along my non-traditional modernized Hmong wear from home. Although my clothes were not traditional, at least they had a glimpse of what our clothes somewhat looks like. Also, speaking of my clothes, I decided to make a raffle drawing for my skirt. To my amazement, many people wrote their names in hopes of winning my skirt as their prize. I made the decision so that whoever wins can wear the skirt part as fashion to expose our Hmong patterns. This opens a way for people to hear more about the Hmong.

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Also, tonight I had the greatest experience ever. I love it when I face such experiences. Tonight I had free dinner with my RA and other students here. The majority were Uzbekistan students, but the others were three Cambodians, one Mongolian, one Korean, One Japanese, and me, the Hmong-American girl. It was quite interesting to see how we all communicated with one another. All the Uzbekistan students spoke Uzbek or Russian. But, the Uzbekistan students spoke Korean to the Cambodian students and Mongolian. I spoke English to whomever was able to speak and understand English. A few spoke Japanese as well. It was amazing to hear the many languages in one single room. My heart was filled with great joy! 

This is the neat thing in Global Village. There are so many students from literally almost all over the world. If I didn’t come to Korea, I would have never known about Uzbekistan or I would have never met any Mongolian person at all. It is amazing how we can all communicate in a specific language that is preferred about one another. I love this cultural diversity in Global Village. It surely is a great opportunity and experience for someone who wants to be submersed into different cultures/backgrounds.



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Count Down to the End of the Semester Begins... (and Some Sort of My Own Personal Advice...I think..??)

The ‘Yellow Dust’ in Korea is showing up here and there since the middle of spring. After being here for about three months and it’s finally time for myself to get a face mask now since, I don’t think I want to get sick or anything from this ‘Yellow Dust’ in Korea now. The cherry blossom season is over and all the trees on campus are greener than ever. It has gotten kind of hot (or you could say warm compared to the weather back in Minnesota) and everyone here is enjoying the warm weather. However, as this warm weather continue to rise I wish I have the remote control for the air conditioner in my dorm room just because it’s so hot during the day and opening the window wide-opened isn’t helping much during the day expect at night when the weather quickly change to being super cold. So far, I’ve spent most of my weekends studying or just taking a really lazy day off from the college life. However, there are those time where me and a couple of my international suite mate would all decide to spend time with each other by traveling to places. So far, I haven’t traveled to Seoul just yet just because….I don’t really know why either but, I kind of want to see Seoul not really. I haven’t thought much about going to see Seoul in these three months just because I’m feeling life is verrrry stressful for me right now with the workload of school language homework I have (poor me :[ ). Neither way, I think the farthest place I’ve travel most of the time doing my own thing is Choenon (a small but, bigger city then where Soonchunhyang University is located) because I pretty much could find everything I’m looking for from there and I don’t have to go so far. Especially when we have curfew at 11:30pm everyday, it’s better to play safe than go out far and get lock out in the middle of the night with nowhere to sleep (I’ve never had a curfew in the last 21 years of my life, and I still can’t believe that Korean college students actually have curfew here. In which, I still find that still unbelievable because we’re all adults now or some of us here). The more I stay here, the more I’m kind of starting to get used to living this life of having a roommate (still kind of stranger to one another, sometime) as well as just literally starting to get this idea of that I’m all by myself without my family or any close friend. It’s literally hard for me to make friend here because I find myself very unconformable with trusting these people to be my friend. Causes, I’ve always lived with this idea of that even if we are friend one of these days, there is totally going to also be one of these other day where we would go our separate and forget one another because this is life. Especially when all of us is only going to be here until the end of the semester, that’s why I don’t really see much of being able to make such great friend here I would remember in the future because maybe this memories I have in Korea might be easily erase. That is because this four month period maybe replace with something more important in the near future as the further I try to reach my life dream goals. Well, enough of that. So, there is actually only 5 weeks left until the end of the semester and everyone is calmly enjoying the life before final exam studying again. It would totally be a showdown when the final exam week gets here in Korea because all Korean students would go crazy studying all day and night in order to get a perfect score. However, in the last 5 weeks left I have here in Korea I want to be give advises to those that are planning on coming to Soonchunhyang University in the future.

Advice #1: First, and most importantly when you arrived at Soonchunhyang. Go buy yourself a bundle of toilet paper if you plan to use the toilet in your suite.

Advice #2: Buy a lock for your closet and belonging (I say so because during my experiences being here, personal belonging in my whole suite has disappear in thin air).

Advice #3: Literally, and also very important in coming to Soonchunhyang University. Learn some Korean first before coming here because literally all the language teacher here knows verrrryyy little English. (This is usually the problem when you’re in level one Korean language classes :(   )  

 

P.S.- Sorry there’s no picture upload to the blog, I’ve haven’t literally been anywhere beautiful or great in the past one month or more. I’ve literally been locked in my room trying to memorize my Korean and doing my homework here. Poor me…

 

 



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Beautiful Days

The weather in Korea has been quite strange, and it reminds me so much of home. Minnesota weather is always so unpredictable and never consistent just like Korea. However, the only consistency that we see is the sun. Every day is always a sunny day!! There is finally life on campus. More students are outside every day doing something. Midterms are also over, so Korean students are stress-free.

I have just over a month left until I return home to the US. There are mixed feelings of excitement and joy, but also sadness. I never really thought I would miss home because I am a person who can adapt to any place I go to, which I did. I enjoyed every moment of my life in Korea. There is never a day I didn’t have a good time, even if I had a bad day. My friends always make my stay here enjoyable. But, I see so many photos of my little one-year-old sister, who will turn two-years-old two days before I return home, almost every week. I hear many things about her growth, and I feel sad that I cannot watch her grow up and be a part of her learning process. In all honesty, if my little sister did not exist I would never care about going home – even if life is hard in Korea.

Although I may be overly homesick, I am making the most of every day I have here. I may miss home, but I know Korea will be so missed. 

 

This weekend is “Family weekend.” Today, May 5th is Children’s day, and May 8th will be Parent’s day. So, we have a four day weekend in Korea. Almost all Koreans are gone for home, and mostly all foreigners had already left for Seoul or will be going this weekend. As for me, I have no plans. But, today my Japanese suitemates and I made a trip to the botanical garden nearby our university. It was a quick trip, but we very much enjoyed our time together. Today was the perfect day to be outside and enjoy some good company. 



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Living in Global Village

            It’s finally the end of the semester, and so much has happened. I know I’ve been recording all my experiences in Korea so far, but in this post I’m going to spill some information for interested students. Global village is a great program and it’s a great place for students to make friends with many people from different backgrounds. However, don’t expect to get along with everyone you meet. This was one of my expectations when I first came to Korea. I was friendly and tried to get to know everyone, introducing myself, etc. For the first week, I did get along with some people. However, because I didn’t involve myself in social gatherings with other foreigners, I became very distant with them. Global village quickly formed cliques amongst the students. Not only that, but I realized how strange many people are here. I’m not going to lie to your face, but there are many students here who are ignorant to other cultures. Majority are white American students with no exposure to any other cultures, especially Korean culture obviously. I suggest that if you are willing to have an open mind and expose yourself to different things, then for sure, you should come to Korea.

            Studying abroad, you should spend time focusing on studies and also getting to know a new culture also. It’s more than just partying but also learning new knicks and knacks. When studying abroad, you should learn new cultures as well as share your own.Not only have I learned a lot about Korean culture, but I’ve also learned a lot about other cultures. I’ve made friends from China, Mongolia, Europe, Uzbekistan, etc. This is what’s great about the global village program. The exposure to new cultures unknown to you makes it exciting to study abroad at Soonchunghyang. I just want future incoming students to know that, if you don’t come with an open mind, you’ll just end up hating the semester.

            I’ve met many other foreigner students who didn’t even attempt to learn Korean and its culture. After spending about four months in Korea, some students can’t even respond or comprehend simple Korean. Many complain about the language and people, and whine about wanting to go back home as soon as possible. It’s annoying because there are plenty of people who would have liked to study abroad in Korea in their place, willing to learn the culture and such. Which is why I warn you; if you don’t have an open and curious mind, then don’t think about studying abroad. If you’re not willing to step out of your comfort zone, then you can stay home.

            In comparison to Concordia, discrimination here is not as bad. However, you can’t escape prejudice and stereotypes even abroad. Korea is also a homogeneous society, so that also comes into play. Many Koreans never had interaction with foreigners, and I have some friends who never had any foreigner friends until Global village. But it’s not a bad thing! This is where you can educate people about your culture and such. At Concordia, many students could care less about Hmong culture or other cultures. However, in Korea, I’ve had many friends who didn’t know who the Hmong people were. After I’d tell them about our history and such, many of my friends would be fascinated; eager to learn more. Although there may be grounded stereotypes here, you can always open the minds of others and educate them on your own culture and such. Compared to Concordia, where many people choose to associate with people of their own cultures; and where ignorance and prejudice is abundant on campus. Studying abroad, you can’t escape certain individuals who are ignorant of different cultures. However, you can show them that you’re better by educating others about your culture and also accepting other peoples cultures. You can show them better by having an open and respectful mind, that way many people will come to respect you and you’ll have many friends with that attitude. 



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Only Three Week Left In S. Korea

Oh my god! Time really do go fast but, at the same, I really do miss home. However, recently here at Soonchunhyang we had ‘Global Day’ which was held on May 18th.

An early morning of before Global Day start. Everyone is neither still asleep up in their room up in the dorm or have already kind of prepare their tent for the day. This picture was taken at 9am and the Global Day event doesn't actually start until 11am.

An early morning of before Global Day start. Everyone is neither still asleep up in their room up in the dorm or have already kind of prepare their tent for the day. This picture was taken at 9am and the Global Day event doesn’t actually start until 11am.

There were, I think about 12 or 13 tents setup that day and each tent had their own activities they were doing. There were I believe 3 tents that was actually cooking food at their tent rather than having some kind of activities. It was a really fun day but, at the same time it was a super tiring day for everyone also because we were all running around everywhere. It was also super hot that day, everyone was crazily hovering at the China tent because there was hand printed fans over there and everyone on that day really did needed something to fan themselves with. Even I was dying from staying inside this 3-walled tent on this such hot weather day. In the end, everything went well and everyone was happy. However, the Friday beforDSC01614e ‘Global Day,’ we actually also had another event for all international students. It was called ‘Sport Night,’ which was where everyone come together at the gymnastic and competitive against one another. There were actually two team, a black (

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Temple food (bean sports , steam green veggies, some other purple looking steam veggies, kimchi, rice, and rice cake)

odd number dorm) and a white (even number dorm). You could say it was fun but, there wasn’t really enough games for every single person be able to actually play overall because since it was a Friday, most of the Korean students who live in Global Village are usually leave to go home on Friday morning. There wasn’t much people there at ‘Sport Night’ than at ‘Global Day’ because of the day differences. Now enough of that talk, recently about a week ago, I decided to visit a Buddhist temple again. But, being the person who I was, I totally forgot that it was Buddhist’s birthday and when I arrived there, there were a crowded of people there. It was actually my first time seeing this much people here at the temple for once since the last time I came, which was actually in the winter. I saw many new things and actually try eating temple food for the first time, and also my last.

At the Buddhist temple on Buddhist's birthday (May 14th)

At the Buddhist temple on Buddhist’s birthday (May 14th)

This is kind of how I’ve been spending my time during this May season here in Korea, this also remind me. I really need to start catching my on my studies now since final exam is only a week away. I’ve been totally lazy on my studying now since I’ve been in Korea for no particular reason. Now then, I hope to write another blog before the semester ends here in Korea but, I’m not totally sure if I’ll remember since I do easily forget things. 

See ya!



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Count Down to the End of the Semester Begins... (and Some Sort of My Own Personal Advice...I think..??)

The ‘Yellow Dust’ in Korea is showing up here and there since the middle of spring. After being here for about three months and it’s finally time for myself to get a face mask now since, I don’t think I want to get sick or anything from this ‘Yellow Dust’ in Korea now. The cherry blossom season is over and all the trees on campus are greener than ever. It has gotten kind of hot (or you could say warm compared to the weather back in Minnesota) and everyone here is enjoying the warm weather. However, as this warm weather continue to rise I wish I have the remote control for the air conditioner in my dorm room just because it’s so hot during the day and opening the window wide-opened isn’t helping much during the day expect at night when the weather quickly change to being super cold. So far, I’ve spent most of my weekends studying or just taking a really lazy day off from the college life. However, there are those time where me and a couple of my international suite mate would all decide to spend time with each other by traveling to places. So far, I haven’t traveled to Seoul just yet just because….I don’t really know why either but, I kind of want to see Seoul not really. I haven’t thought much about going to see Seoul in these three months just because I’m feeling life is verrrry stressful for me right now with the workload of school language homework I have (poor me :[ ). Neither way, I think the farthest place I’ve travel most of the time doing my own thing is Choenon (a small but, bigger city then where Soonchunhyang University is located) because I pretty much could find everything I’m looking for from there and I don’t have to go so far. Especially when we have curfew at 11:30pm everyday, it’s better to play safe than go out far and get lock out in the middle of the night with nowhere to sleep (I’ve never had a curfew in the last 21 years of my life, and I still can’t believe that Korean college students actually have curfew here. In which, I still find that still unbelievable because we’re all adults now or some of us here). The more I stay here, the more I’m kind of starting to get used to living this life of having a roommate (still kind of stranger to one another, sometime) as well as just literally starting to get this idea of that I’m all by myself without my family or any close friend. It’s literally hard for me to make friend here because I find myself very unconformable with trusting these people to be my friend. Causes, I’ve always lived with this idea of that even if we are friend one of these days, there is totally going to also be one of these other day where we would go our separate and forget one another because this is life. Especially when all of us is only going to be here until the end of the semester, that’s why I don’t really see much of being able to make such great friend here I would remember in the future because maybe this memories I have in Korea might be easily erase. That is because this four month period maybe replace with something more important in the near future as the further I try to reach my life dream goals. Well, enough of that. So, there is actually only 5 weeks left until the end of the semester and everyone is calmly enjoying the life before final exam studying again. It would totally be a showdown when the final exam week gets here in Korea because all Korean students would go crazy studying all day and night in order to get a perfect score. However, in the last 5 weeks left I have here in Korea I want to be give advises to those that are planning on coming to Soonchunhyang University in the future.

Advice #1: First, and most importantly when you arrived at Soonchunhyang. Go buy yourself a bundle of toilet paper if you plan to use the toilet in your suite.

Advice #2: Buy a lock for your closet and belonging (I say so because during my experiences being here, personal belonging in my whole suite has disappear in thin air).

Advice #3: Literally, and also very important in coming to Soonchunhyang University. Learn some Korean first before coming here because literally all the language teacher here knows verrrryyy little English. (This is usually the problem when you’re in level one Korean language classes :(   )  

 

P.S.- Sorry there’s no picture upload to the blog, I’ve haven’t literally been anywhere beautiful or great in the past one month or more. I’ve literally been locked in my room trying to memorize my Korean and doing my homework here. Poor me…

 

 



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