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South Korea Exchange

The end is near.

Boiled Silk WormsWow! The semester is almost over?!?! It’s crazy how time flew by and I just realized that December is already tomorrow. My last 4 months in South Korea has been an amazing journey. Being able to learn the Korean language, culture and food has been a great pleasure. This semester in South Korea has changed me in many ways. It has taught me to be more independent, open-minded and to get out of my comfort zone to try new things that I never thought I would try. One of the craziest thing I tried while in South Korea was eating live octopus and boiled silk worm it was such an exciting, yet scary experience, but I’m glad I tried it!

 Live Octopus

International FAM Throughout my study abroad, I was surrounded by amazing people who I became close with. To me they were more than just my friends they were my international family. Coming to South Korea I didn’t expect to meet great people who will soon be a great influence in my life. My international family was my emotional support whenever I felt homesick or down. I’m so grateful for having each and every one of them in my life. Studying abroad in South Korea has created a great way for me to interact with different culture from all over the world and to meet incredible people with unique backgrounds. We learn from each other and grow from it. I believe that whenever you meet someone great your friendship with that person will still grow no matter how far apart you are from one another.

Volunteering My life style has flipped completely while living in South Korea. Coming from the states, where I have my own transportation, job, room, privacy, etc. I was surprised when I came to South Korea to find out that majority of my transportation was subway/taxi and there is no such thing as personal space. In Korea I have more freedom to step out of my comfort zone which makes it more outgoing and relaxing than back home. I experienced many great opportunities stepping out of my comfort zone. I accomplished many tasks such as volunteering, traveling to Jeju/U-do Island and hiking Mount Hallasan. Meeting new friends who were willing to push and help me get out of my comfort zone has helped me accomplished many experience that I will always remember. It has made my South Korea trip more enjoyable and more exciting!



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South Korea (Entry 2)

IMG_6429 16062_10203412178559088_3211308419958561297_n 10389428_10201076689917806_9103961674547565526_n

Watching Orange Caramel Live Performance

Watching Orange Caramel Live Performance

10710799_10205142756472604_447257310802686404_n

Leaving our marks in the world

Leaving our marks in the world

Perhaps the first step to wisdom is to first open yourself as a person to the world, and in return the world opens itself to you.  People believe that most of the world has been discovered and there is nothing new to learn but that isn’t true.  How much do you really know about the world around you?  Why can some creatures change the pigment of their skin?  Why does the mantis shrimp have 12 color receptors whilst humans have only 3?  What is order, society, advancement, or purpose?  Studying abroad in South Korea has taught me to question the world around me more in an attempt to gain more knowledge and in turn motivates me to use that knowledge in order to gain experience.  The world is a vast place and though I can spew facts about different parts of the world, there is a difference between knowing something and experiencing it.  Cultural differences for example between South Korea and the United States is different.  Everyone (mostly) knows the game “got your nose,” where you pretend to take a kids nose and place your thumb between your fingers.  In Korea that is a very bad thing to do (I can’t stress this enough).  Just don’t do it.  There is also a high respect for your elders even if they are one year older than you.  You must show respect to them by bowing to them when you say hello.  Your elders/seniors have a kind of power over you being able to tell you to do something and you have to obey them.  It is just part of the society and culture.  Don’t argue, just do it.  Cars have the right of way here whereas in America pedestrians do (however I wouldn’t try to fight against a 2 ton piece of moving metal anyway).  They like spicy food and they can be quite competitive in the things that they do.  The competitiveness of Koreans is easily explained if you pay attention to their history.  The Korean peninsula has been invaded over thousands of times (not that I’m here to give a history lesson).  That being said the Korean culture survived and that led to being very competitive against others, it also built a strong sense of communal relationships.  Again there is a lot of knowledge that I’d like to pass on but these are a few things that are notable.  And probably the most obvious observation when you first get to know Koreans is that personal space does not really hold a meaning here, and they can be very touchy, but that is just the culture, and that is a little bit of culture difference for you. 



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2 months in South Korea

  Bangrang Hostel Being here in South Korea for 2 months I realized that my greatest learning experiences about the culture and society in Korea is from the people I’ve meet outside of the university. My greatest learning experience was in Seoul when I stayed with my friends at a hostel called Bangrang. The owner of Bangrang is Korean, but he can speak English very well. He is very helpful when it comes to questions, finding things to do in Seoul, where to go visit, the food etc. Another great learning experience outside of school is your international friends. For me personally, I learned a lot about Korea from my international friends because we all have our own different experiences about the Korean culture and from there on, we just learn from each other.

International Friends

Attending a university like Soonchunhyang which is so big compared to Concordia you will meet new people daily. The biggest advantage of living in Global Village is that you’re living with other international and Korean students. The best advice I can give you is that don’t be shy and be friends with everyone. The Korean students in Global Village is super excited about meeting new international students and being able to hang out with internationals so enjoy every moment you have in South Korea. I personally feel that the better connection you have with the Korean students the more helpful they will be to you. There are many Korean students who doesn’t live in GV, but still hang out around GV because they want to meet and be friends with international students so be friendly! The closer relationship you have with the Korean students the more they are willing to help you such as when you travel or help/teach you the Korean language.

 Onyang Street MarketOnyang Water Fountain Every day is always an adventure!!



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South Korea Study Abroad

South Korea 10343652_945067095519859_2798758168316649585_n 10583783_935210023172233_8848197495486599491_n 10646813_935210403172195_2979712070594038619_n 10678708_943483719011530_7995693318887119913_n 10690320_935210896505479_8992426941887660170_n       Simply amazing is how I would start to describe my time here studying abroad in South Korea.  Life is very different here than it is back home at Concordia and in a way there are slight subtleties that make it not so different.  So what is a typical day like in South Korea and at Soonchunhyang University?  There are so many things to do here and so many people to meet.  That being the case the first thing that happened to me was getting to meet other international students!  There are some international students we call (returnees) because they are simply amazing people who have had experience living and studying here in South Korea.  They helped the newcomers settle into their dorm.  The international students live in a building called Global Village which we call GV.  GV is an important factor in your day to day lives here at Soonchunhyang.  You will live in a suite with 11 other people, a mix of other international students and native Korean students.  Most if not all the Koreans in your suite will be able to speak english more or less so don’t worry about communication.  The Koreans are very welcoming and love to hang around international students, if you become good friends with them they will be more open to showing you around South Korea, they may even invite you to spend a few nights with their family in their hometown which trust me, it would be a great honor if they asked you to.  There are huge cities here that you can visit such as Seoul, Busan, Incheon, and there are beaches here for you to go to, shopping districts such as Myeongdong or Dongdaemun, a lot of palaces and temples to see, and a lot of different museums as well.  You can go clubbing, spend a night or day at the hot springs or jimjibam, try the different kinds of foods and restaurants, go out for a movie night, drinking happens a lot here (since it is part of the culture), visiting Jeju Island and there are festivals happening almost every weekend.  There is just so much more to do that I can’t name everything.  It hasn’t quite hit me yet that I am here in South Korea.  Maybe it is because I have always wanted to come here, or maybe it is because I just feel like I belong, and maybe yet it is because of the welcoming atmosphere that it feels like home.  Regardless I fully recommend studying abroad here at Soonchunhyang, I’ve learnt so much more than I thought I would and have experienced so many things I haven’t even imagined of doing.  But one of the most important things that I have gained here are friendships that will last a lifetime because no matter how many times I visit any of the magical places in South Korea, they are only as great as the people you share those moments with. 



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South Korea
The beautiful view from Seoul Tower.

The beautiful view from Seoul Tower.

Hello! My name is Zoua Vang. I’m a sophomore at Concordia University in Saint Paul. For my 2014 fall semester I wanted to do something different, something I always wanted to do which was to travel to South Korea. When I heard about the study abroad program in South Korea from the CALL center I knew I had to do it, it was now or never! My application for this program was simple, yet, it caused me so much stress. I guess it is true when they say don’t procrastinate, which I did. Getting my VISA a week before leaving to South Korea was nerve wreaking because I witness other students having problems with getting their VISA approved by the Korea Embassy. But when I got my passport and VISA in the mail it was the happiest day of my life. It was a reality check for me. All this time I couldn’t believe that I was actually leaving. This being the first time traveling alone and going out of the country I was more anxious than ever.

My home for the next 4 months.

My home for the next 4 months.

I am currently studying at Soonchunhyang University in South Korea. I’m living in Global Village with eleven other girls in a suite it sounds crazy, but trust me it’s not that crazy. My suite mates are always busy with their classes and hobbies that most of the time we don’t even see each other until bed time. So far my experience here in Global Village is fascinating because you meet other great international students who are all in the same boat learning about the Korean culture. It has only been a month since I arrived in South Korea and it has taught me so much about their culture and society. The biggest cultural differences that made a huge impact in my life in South Korea was we use the subway almost every day. The subway transportation is very easy to navigate and it’s connected to almost everywhere in South Korea.

The National Folk Museum of Korea.

The National Folk Museum of Korea.

The Korean culture is known to be very respectful and polite when greeting their elders. Communicating is very different in the Korean culture because depending on the person’s age determine how you speak to the person.  For example when speaking to an elderly in Korea you have to talk formally because it’s a way of showing respect. There are many cultural differences in South Korea such as cars have the right of way, bow when you greet your elders, spicy food and drinking soju is very common in the Korean culture. There many things to do in South Korea you just have to come with an open-mind. That is it for my first month blog until next time!

In Busan visiting Haeundae Beach.

In Busan visiting Haeundae Beach.



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Uncategorized

The end is near.

Boiled Silk WormsWow! The semester is almost over?!?! It’s crazy how time flew by and I just realized that December is already tomorrow. My last 4 months in South Korea has been an amazing journey. Being able to learn the Korean language, culture and food has been a great pleasure. This semester in South Korea has changed me in many ways. It has taught me to be more independent, open-minded and to get out of my comfort zone to try new things that I never thought I would try. One of the craziest thing I tried while in South Korea was eating live octopus and boiled silk worm it was such an exciting, yet scary experience, but I’m glad I tried it!

 Live Octopus

International FAM Throughout my study abroad, I was surrounded by amazing people who I became close with. To me they were more than just my friends they were my international family. Coming to South Korea I didn’t expect to meet great people who will soon be a great influence in my life. My international family was my emotional support whenever I felt homesick or down. I’m so grateful for having each and every one of them in my life. Studying abroad in South Korea has created a great way for me to interact with different culture from all over the world and to meet incredible people with unique backgrounds. We learn from each other and grow from it. I believe that whenever you meet someone great your friendship with that person will still grow no matter how far apart you are from one another.

Volunteering My life style has flipped completely while living in South Korea. Coming from the states, where I have my own transportation, job, room, privacy, etc. I was surprised when I came to South Korea to find out that majority of my transportation was subway/taxi and there is no such thing as personal space. In Korea I have more freedom to step out of my comfort zone which makes it more outgoing and relaxing than back home. I experienced many great opportunities stepping out of my comfort zone. I accomplished many tasks such as volunteering, traveling to Jeju/U-do Island and hiking Mount Hallasan. Meeting new friends who were willing to push and help me get out of my comfort zone has helped me accomplished many experience that I will always remember. It has made my South Korea trip more enjoyable and more exciting!



View Policy
South Korea (Entry 2)

IMG_6429 16062_10203412178559088_3211308419958561297_n 10389428_10201076689917806_9103961674547565526_n

Watching Orange Caramel Live Performance

Watching Orange Caramel Live Performance

10710799_10205142756472604_447257310802686404_n

Leaving our marks in the world

Leaving our marks in the world

Perhaps the first step to wisdom is to first open yourself as a person to the world, and in return the world opens itself to you.  People believe that most of the world has been discovered and there is nothing new to learn but that isn’t true.  How much do you really know about the world around you?  Why can some creatures change the pigment of their skin?  Why does the mantis shrimp have 12 color receptors whilst humans have only 3?  What is order, society, advancement, or purpose?  Studying abroad in South Korea has taught me to question the world around me more in an attempt to gain more knowledge and in turn motivates me to use that knowledge in order to gain experience.  The world is a vast place and though I can spew facts about different parts of the world, there is a difference between knowing something and experiencing it.  Cultural differences for example between South Korea and the United States is different.  Everyone (mostly) knows the game “got your nose,” where you pretend to take a kids nose and place your thumb between your fingers.  In Korea that is a very bad thing to do (I can’t stress this enough).  Just don’t do it.  There is also a high respect for your elders even if they are one year older than you.  You must show respect to them by bowing to them when you say hello.  Your elders/seniors have a kind of power over you being able to tell you to do something and you have to obey them.  It is just part of the society and culture.  Don’t argue, just do it.  Cars have the right of way here whereas in America pedestrians do (however I wouldn’t try to fight against a 2 ton piece of moving metal anyway).  They like spicy food and they can be quite competitive in the things that they do.  The competitiveness of Koreans is easily explained if you pay attention to their history.  The Korean peninsula has been invaded over thousands of times (not that I’m here to give a history lesson).  That being said the Korean culture survived and that led to being very competitive against others, it also built a strong sense of communal relationships.  Again there is a lot of knowledge that I’d like to pass on but these are a few things that are notable.  And probably the most obvious observation when you first get to know Koreans is that personal space does not really hold a meaning here, and they can be very touchy, but that is just the culture, and that is a little bit of culture difference for you. 



View Policy
2 months in South Korea

  Bangrang Hostel Being here in South Korea for 2 months I realized that my greatest learning experiences about the culture and society in Korea is from the people I’ve meet outside of the university. My greatest learning experience was in Seoul when I stayed with my friends at a hostel called Bangrang. The owner of Bangrang is Korean, but he can speak English very well. He is very helpful when it comes to questions, finding things to do in Seoul, where to go visit, the food etc. Another great learning experience outside of school is your international friends. For me personally, I learned a lot about Korea from my international friends because we all have our own different experiences about the Korean culture and from there on, we just learn from each other.

International Friends

Attending a university like Soonchunhyang which is so big compared to Concordia you will meet new people daily. The biggest advantage of living in Global Village is that you’re living with other international and Korean students. The best advice I can give you is that don’t be shy and be friends with everyone. The Korean students in Global Village is super excited about meeting new international students and being able to hang out with internationals so enjoy every moment you have in South Korea. I personally feel that the better connection you have with the Korean students the more helpful they will be to you. There are many Korean students who doesn’t live in GV, but still hang out around GV because they want to meet and be friends with international students so be friendly! The closer relationship you have with the Korean students the more they are willing to help you such as when you travel or help/teach you the Korean language.

 Onyang Street MarketOnyang Water Fountain Every day is always an adventure!!



View Policy
South Korea Study Abroad

South Korea 10343652_945067095519859_2798758168316649585_n 10583783_935210023172233_8848197495486599491_n 10646813_935210403172195_2979712070594038619_n 10678708_943483719011530_7995693318887119913_n 10690320_935210896505479_8992426941887660170_n       Simply amazing is how I would start to describe my time here studying abroad in South Korea.  Life is very different here than it is back home at Concordia and in a way there are slight subtleties that make it not so different.  So what is a typical day like in South Korea and at Soonchunhyang University?  There are so many things to do here and so many people to meet.  That being the case the first thing that happened to me was getting to meet other international students!  There are some international students we call (returnees) because they are simply amazing people who have had experience living and studying here in South Korea.  They helped the newcomers settle into their dorm.  The international students live in a building called Global Village which we call GV.  GV is an important factor in your day to day lives here at Soonchunhyang.  You will live in a suite with 11 other people, a mix of other international students and native Korean students.  Most if not all the Koreans in your suite will be able to speak english more or less so don’t worry about communication.  The Koreans are very welcoming and love to hang around international students, if you become good friends with them they will be more open to showing you around South Korea, they may even invite you to spend a few nights with their family in their hometown which trust me, it would be a great honor if they asked you to.  There are huge cities here that you can visit such as Seoul, Busan, Incheon, and there are beaches here for you to go to, shopping districts such as Myeongdong or Dongdaemun, a lot of palaces and temples to see, and a lot of different museums as well.  You can go clubbing, spend a night or day at the hot springs or jimjibam, try the different kinds of foods and restaurants, go out for a movie night, drinking happens a lot here (since it is part of the culture), visiting Jeju Island and there are festivals happening almost every weekend.  There is just so much more to do that I can’t name everything.  It hasn’t quite hit me yet that I am here in South Korea.  Maybe it is because I have always wanted to come here, or maybe it is because I just feel like I belong, and maybe yet it is because of the welcoming atmosphere that it feels like home.  Regardless I fully recommend studying abroad here at Soonchunhyang, I’ve learnt so much more than I thought I would and have experienced so many things I haven’t even imagined of doing.  But one of the most important things that I have gained here are friendships that will last a lifetime because no matter how many times I visit any of the magical places in South Korea, they are only as great as the people you share those moments with. 



View Policy
South Korea
The beautiful view from Seoul Tower.

The beautiful view from Seoul Tower.

Hello! My name is Zoua Vang. I’m a sophomore at Concordia University in Saint Paul. For my 2014 fall semester I wanted to do something different, something I always wanted to do which was to travel to South Korea. When I heard about the study abroad program in South Korea from the CALL center I knew I had to do it, it was now or never! My application for this program was simple, yet, it caused me so much stress. I guess it is true when they say don’t procrastinate, which I did. Getting my VISA a week before leaving to South Korea was nerve wreaking because I witness other students having problems with getting their VISA approved by the Korea Embassy. But when I got my passport and VISA in the mail it was the happiest day of my life. It was a reality check for me. All this time I couldn’t believe that I was actually leaving. This being the first time traveling alone and going out of the country I was more anxious than ever.

My home for the next 4 months.

My home for the next 4 months.

I am currently studying at Soonchunhyang University in South Korea. I’m living in Global Village with eleven other girls in a suite it sounds crazy, but trust me it’s not that crazy. My suite mates are always busy with their classes and hobbies that most of the time we don’t even see each other until bed time. So far my experience here in Global Village is fascinating because you meet other great international students who are all in the same boat learning about the Korean culture. It has only been a month since I arrived in South Korea and it has taught me so much about their culture and society. The biggest cultural differences that made a huge impact in my life in South Korea was we use the subway almost every day. The subway transportation is very easy to navigate and it’s connected to almost everywhere in South Korea.

The National Folk Museum of Korea.

The National Folk Museum of Korea.

The Korean culture is known to be very respectful and polite when greeting their elders. Communicating is very different in the Korean culture because depending on the person’s age determine how you speak to the person.  For example when speaking to an elderly in Korea you have to talk formally because it’s a way of showing respect. There are many cultural differences in South Korea such as cars have the right of way, bow when you greet your elders, spicy food and drinking soju is very common in the Korean culture. There many things to do in South Korea you just have to come with an open-mind. That is it for my first month blog until next time!

In Busan visiting Haeundae Beach.

In Busan visiting Haeundae Beach.



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