23rd August, 2014
I live in Korea University’s dormitory rounded by the university and its campus which consisting of so many students and foreigners. Therefore, it’s so easy to find convenient stores, restaurants, coffee shops or bars, etc. I and my friend headed to a small food stall serving traditional Korean food. None of us can speak Korea but luckily there were some images indicating the food outside the stall so we pointed at the dishes that we wanted. The dishes looked quite small in the photos but its actual size was amazing. We didn’t know it so we ordered 3 different dished which supposed to serve for 3 or 4 people. The food were very nice! I ate Korean food in my home country but it tasted quite different when I had a chance to eat those in Korea.
24th August, 2014
In the morning, I went around with my friend with the hope to find a big supermarket there. Unfortunately, there was no big supermarket near my place. Even though, there were so many grocery stores near there but they didn’t have variety of fresh stuff to choose like vegetable or fruit. But I will go to the supermarket soon when I my T-money which more or less like the bus card.
In the evening I had the meeting with my buddy and her friends. We ate cool noodle again and then went for dessert. After that we went to the Group 6 meeting from Korea University Buddy Assisstant which is as same as International Tutor. In my group, there were 17 Korean buddies and 80 exchange students. It was not the official meeting yet, but there were so many people coming. We ate fried chicken and drank beer as well as tried soju for the first time. All together we shouted out load our group’s cheering slogan: “Six, six, six, six. Six’s on the beach” It was super-fun though. Since I couldn’t drink well, I felt dizzy after drinking only 3 shots of soju. Therefore, I had to leave the party soon. My night was completed by getting a blue cup for brushing teeth from my lovely Singaporean roommates. Anyway, such a nice day!
27th, August, 2014.
“City tour” was the thing that I was waiting for. I and other exchange students had a chance to Royal Palace, The National Folk Museum of Korea and Cheong Wa Dae. We didn’t have much time as we thought so basically, we just wandered around and saw the place where most of historical Korean dramas were made. At 13:00 we left for In-Sa Dong, one of the most bustling are for shopping. We enjoyed a delicious lunch there – in Korea, people often give you a lot of side dishes to eat with! After that, I had free time to walk around before going to NANTA Theater. NANTA performance completed my day. It is a nonverbal performance firstly introduced in 1997. NANTA is an integration of Korea’s traditional rhythm, Samulnori (which is a genre of traditional percussion music originating in Korea), with comedy. The musical plot is simple, it is a story of three cooks who try to meet their deadline for preparing a wedding banquet within a time limit while the manager installs his incompetent nephew among the kitchen. NANTA involves magic trick, comedy, dance, acrobatics, etc. with the participation of audiences as well. It was so enjoyable to watch it. In my opinion, this is the must-watch for everyone who visits Korea for the first time.
29th, October, 2014
Such a long time I haven’t updated anything for this blog since I was so “busy” for travelling and exploring this beautiful country. My first trip was on 10th of October, it’s a 2 days 1 night trip to Sokcho. It is the nearest city to Mountain Seoraksan National Park which is one of the most beautiful national park in South Korea. Also, the DMZ (demilitarized zone) is only one hour bus ride from the central hub. You can take the train to explore for that area, but it always requires to book for that tour 1 week in advance (if I got it right); therefore I just wandered around city without going to DMZ area. We went to see “Abai village” which is a small village of North Korean expats. The village is famous since it served as a scenery of for the TV drama “ Autumn in my heart” which later on is considered as a pioneer for “Korean wave”. The other special thing about the village is that you can find the best “squid sundae” here. This is the local specialty and is cooked by taking the intestines out of squid and filling it with tofu, rice noodles, onions, carrots and egg, then the squid is baked or fried and cut into small edible pieces. It actually looks like “sausage”.
Sokcho also attracts lots of tourists with beautiful beaches. The clear water, white sand and pine forest create a nice view there. Not only the beach, had I also gone to observation tower with a twisted shape shown as in the photo, then watching the sunset and of course hiking. I and my friends visited Seokraksan National Park. The park has a variety of routes which are well marked and lead to different attractive place. Since we hadn’t got enough time, we chose a shortest route which took us two and half hours to reach Biryong waterfall. The view was just so spectacular.
“Rather than just Kimchi” means the way it is! There are so many interesting things to explore while staying in South Korea. So many traditional festivals to see, experience of “sharing culture” while eating, a lot of delicious dishes – especially BBQ , hiking in autumn is more than just perfect – blue sky, leaves turn red and yellow with a little bit of chill, crowded shopping street with street food, cosmetics, etc. so many that I cannot even list them all out here.
My study exchange in South Korea was totally completed. I will never forget all these precious experiences, and always remember all amazing people that I’ve met!