Tag Archives: Republic of Korea

People with beauty and heart!

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I have to admit the culture shock between west and east was tremendous. I was travelling in USA for three weeks before I came here and spent the last days in Honolulu before my flight to Seoul. After flying to that odd worm hole and seeing one day just vanishing from my life I was quite exhausted.

I got the first glances to Korean people and way of life on the Korean Air flight. Or actually at the Honolulu airport when checking in the flight. Very kind and beautiful girl at the counter suggested me a more spacious seat by the emergency exit right away, without asking. I think she notices my long legs 🙂 But this has never happened before! The first meeting with Korean people was thus more than very kind and warm!

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I study in Ajou University, in Suwon city. At the beginning I was quite worried about the course selection I was signed in. Soon I found out that I had already studied quite many of them in Finland. The course descriptions were not offered in all the courses I selected. Therefore I needed to change almost all of my courses. The school offered us a change and drop-off periods where the selected courses could be changed. In general, the school is quite bureaucratic and most of the things are very difficult to take care of. The quality of teaching is quite ok in my classes, as well as the English skills of the professors. I needed to drop only one course because of bad English skills of the teacher.

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Now, the best part: living in campus! I live in the brand new International Dormitory, with my Korean room mate. The most surprising and amazing thing here in Korea has been the Korean people, absolutely! Such a warm, kind and beautiful young people I have never met in my life! We are treated here as special quests, the Korean hospitality is just amazing! People are just smiling and laughing all the time, everybody is in good mood. I was asked to be a photographer for the University baseball team ABBA Huskies (Ajou Baseball Athletics) right after I came here. I have had a great opportunity to watch and photograph these funny fellows practising and playing baseball. And yes, we have had a few beers together, too! 🙂

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Whatever Korean people do, they do it with full throttle. Numerous voluntary student clubs, student colleagues organizing parties and field trips, and sports clubs with people living their dream with their heart. Two soccer fields are always busy, and Ajou University soccer team is one of the top teams in the University League. I just love these beautiful people!

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Lassi

Permission from people in the pictures was asked for publishing all the photos.

안녕하세요, 고려 대학교.

I spent an exchange semester in Korea University, in Seoul. Location for the University was good, it was about 20 minutes to the real city center.

My accomodation was in the University dormitory. This was really cheap way to live, but quality of the room wasn’t so good.

If you are planning to go to study in Korea, I recommend you to read the dormitory rules really carefully. Most of the dormitories here have curfew (Time when you are supposed to come back to the dormitory, usually before 1AM). Korea University didn’t have this kind of rule.

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This was the cheapest dormitory available, I didn’t want it, but they chose to place me in there.

Studying in Korea University was pleasant, busy and hard at the same time. Most of the courses were harder than back in Finland, but with effort you can manage to get good grades out of them. So this made up a problem that there was no time to just sit down and relax, basicly I was studying or going out for attractions or dinners all the time.

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The city itself is really big to explore, and you can find yourself at a new place at any time you wish! I visited Nami-island, Busan, Osaka and DMZ apart from Soul while I was doing my exchange studies. Nightlife is really great in Seoul, when you have got enough of seeing the traditional things!

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I would recommend this University for exchange studies. There is alot to experience and normally the quality of teaching is good. Just remember to make sure you spend proper amount of time to view the courses, and don’t rely on that you can change them!

안녕하세요!

안녕하세요 from Seoul, South Korea!

My exchange takes place here in the capital city of South Korea. It is located in the northwest of South Korea, on the Han River. Seoul has around 25 million inhabitants, so little bit more than we are use to here in Tampere. I live in the dorms at the Konkuk University campus (biggest mistake ever).

IMG_3531#2South Korea’s terrain is mostly mountainous and the lowlands are primarily located in the west and southeast. Most spectacular attractions in nature were shield volcano called 한라산 (Hallasan) on Jeju island, which was also absolutely amazing, the other one is mountain called 북한산  on the northern periphery of Seoul.

Little bit about my studies in here. Studying here in Konkuk University has been quite relaxed and easy. Have had some difficulties with couple of 북한산my courses due to language barrier, but I have still managed to survive from them in a way or another. So far the level of education has been what I expected.

This exchange period here in South Korea has changed my perspectives completely. I wouldn’t change anything about it and I would do it again in any given time.

Greetings from Seoul!

I have been here three months now and it has been awesome! The campus area is beautiful and it’s starts to be colder already. It was actually snowing yesterday! The first week went fast when I was getting to know to the city and the school. What surprised me that there were not actually that much people what I first expected. The city is so big and I have still so much to explore.

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South Korea has its own thanksgiving celebration called chuseok. We visited Busan in that holiday. It is a seaside city in the south and we went there by bus which took five hours. At the holiday we just relaxed and visited the aquarium which was really nice.

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I have also been in couple of events such as Korean pop concert. I also did an ancient Korean exam which included for example fan painting and archery.  I attended to an event where we saw traditional Korean music and dance performance. This was really nice since there were only 25 of us in the whole palace area.

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My courses have been really interesting but rather easy. One thing which was surprising was the amount of group works. I had an image that here the individual work would be more emphasized than group works. We study specific courses throughout the semester (no period system like in Finland) so we had midterm exams and final exams. In my opinion those exams have been really easy.

-Riina

Daily life in Seoul

Greetings from South Korea,

It’s been around three months since I first arrived to Seoul and during this time I’ve settled in well. As a developed nation South Korea seems to be very similar to Finland: Public transportation system is well organized, food is good and Koreans are very polite. Also the lectures in Kyung Hee University are quite similar to TAMK’s, the amount of people is rarely an issue and overall everything has gone very smoothly.

The main reason I wanted to go to Asia was to learn about different cultures. Korea has a traditional confucian culture, which is visible everyday. Elders are respected, confusian temples are all around Seoul and there are plenty of traditions which originate from confucianism. I’ve really enjoyed this aspect of Seoul, and it might be one of the biggest differences between Souh Korea and Finland.

Here are a few pictures:

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Left: Kyung Hee University      –  Right: Busan

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Left: Temple/ traditional martial arts    –   Right: Mountain view from my apartment

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Traditional music vs. K-pop

– Joonas Mansikka

 

안녕하세요? Greetings from Seoul, South Korea!

안녕하세요! Annyeonghaseyo! Which means hello in Korean language.

Hi, I’m Leopold Ringbom from Finland and I’m studying Electrical engineering in Finland and also here in Soongsil University, Seoul, South Korea where I run my Student Exchange. I made really big mistake because I choose to be here just one semester. I been now here already 3 moths and last month just started. It seems that I would not have had time to do anything yet although I have traveled and go around South Korea a lot. If you have possible to be here at South Korea more than one semester, be more than one semester!

Here at Seoul the local culture is very nice and best thing here is FOOD! You have to go and taste everything. For me the best one was Korean barbecue (picture is below). And if you are coming here to South Korea take one Korean Language course because local people like very much when you speak or at least try to speak Korean language.

Here are some pictures. Enjoy!

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Changing of the guard ceremony at Gyeongbokgung Palace

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Gyeongbokgung Palace and local pose
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Korean Barbecue
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Korean one of the largest water theme parks
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Korean nightlife is one of the best in the world. Seoul never sleeps!
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Picture from Seoul firework festival.
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Our car and apartment at Jeju island.
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View from volcano at Jeju island
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We were looking to North Korea from DMZ which is demilitarized zone between South and North Korea
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T express at Everland which is Korean biggest amusement park. Top speed 104km/h.
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Seoul tower at night.
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One of the gardens inside the Gyeongbokgung Palace
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View to Seoul from really old Bukchon Hanok Village
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Here you can see Seoul old and new part together
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Old military uniforms from Korean war

Discovering Seoul, South Korea

Annyeonghaseyo (안영하세요 = hello) from Seoul, South Korea (Soongsil University)

The main things I knew about South Korea before visiting the country were: it’s neighbor of North Korea, companies Samsung, LG, Kia and Hyundai are from there. Not much else.

Now I know: The Seoul National Capital is the 2nd biggest metropolitan area in the world with 25 million residents (source) 1st: Tokyo, 3rd: Jakarta. Ok.

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Street

This picture above is from the first days in here. The weather was nice and everything looked so different compared to Finland. Now it doesn’t look so different anymore, I have used it for the past two months, every day crossing the street once or twice to go restaurants or bars.

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University building

That is the wall of engineering building, where I spend time two times a week. It was really hard to find courses for mechanical engineering here, but there’s a soulution for everything. Little change to your timetable and it’s done. The teachers doesn’t speak too good English, but all the material and powerpoints are written correctly.

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Traditional Korean barbeque

This picture is from the first time we had the barbeque. Now counting more than 20 times we’ve had it. And it’s delicious. You get raw beef or pork on a plate and you cook it by yourself, cut it to pieces and serve it to your friends. Cost is around 5 to 10 euros/each. Price depends if you like to drink some Soju with your meat.

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Yongsan station

At Yongsan station you find huge department store where you can buy clothes, food, get married, watch a play or go to cinema. There is even football fields (smaller ones) on the roof.

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There is the great Palace ( Gyeongbokgung) which is famous sightseeing place for tourists. In first picture can be seen how old and new architecture meet. Those old buildings, from dynastian ages, are just really beautiful.

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Han river

Bridge in Han river. The river divides the South Korea’s capital, Seoul, in two.

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Seoul International Fireworks Show
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Architecture
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Bukchon Hanok Village

Surrounded by Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine, Bukchon Hanok Village is home to hundreds of traditional houses called ‘hanok’ that date back to the Joseon Dynasty.

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National Folk Museum
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Jeju island

Jeju island. Island formed from volcano eruption long time ago, must place to visit with a lot of friends.

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North Korea

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We also visited the DMZ (demilitarized zone) which is the border between two Koreas. Because these countries are still in war, there are soldiers everywhere.

Why it’s so dangerous: Military border fortification gone wild with almost 2 million troops, plus North Korean nukes.” (foreignpolicy.com)

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Seoul tower, highest point in Seoul

Finding Seoul…

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안냥하세요!!
Seoul is a wonderful city, with streets filled with music and people. The old and the new are mixed interestingly throughout the city and the culture. People are really friendly although some are a bit shy to speak English.

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It’s nothing like home, but I feel really welcomed here. Konkuk University has a lovely campus and just like Seoul it is big and you can feel overwhelmed by it all. Luckily I’ve met a lot of nice people who have been showing me around and introduced me to delicious meals.

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I managed to get into most of the courses I wanted with the help of the international coordinator. He was really a wonderful and helpful person. The courses were marked as English courses, but there were a lot of times when the teacher was teaching in Korean. I didn’t mind, because the assignments and most important things were always explained in English as well.

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There is so much to see and experience in Korea. The school arranged a few field trips, which were amazing. We also went traveling around Seoul and Korea with friends. I’ve learned so much about different cultures and myself. Being an exchange student gives you a unique opportunity to get to know a different culture as well as meet people from all over the world. It will open your eyes in a new way, I would recommend it for everyone.

South Korea- A convergence between tradition and modernity

I came to South Korea during a day of Autumn. I was stunning at the beautiful scenery on the way from airport to the university dormitory. The leaf turned yellow and red, the weather was a bit chilly.

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My first impression towards South Korea was that it was indeed a convergence between the tradition and modernity. Firstly, the modern skyscrapers were everywhere in the capital, people were wearing business costume with a hurry pace.  In contrast, in the middle of the city, there were many old palaces existing for thousands of years with a long historical stories. Besides, there were also traditional villages which brought priceless value. There was a very calm and slow pace in these places, people were wearing traditional clothes to maintain the historical traditions as much as they can.

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The food here was very diverse and extremely tasty. I also came from an Asian country which is famous of eating spicy food. Therefore, i hardy have any difficulty in tasting spiciness which is the commonly used flavour in South Korea.

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My university was pretty cool. Since it was the oldest university in South Korea which has the image in the Korean money paper, i could clearly see the differences in the traditional and modern architecture.

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My campus was in Seoul and it was obviously a modern building with a lot of advanced technologies used for teaching. Professors were good at English and their way of teaching method was quite theoretical- based compare the practical approach used at Tamk. The exam was quite intense and serious. As far as i know from what Korean students told me, students need to study hard to get compete others for scholarship and a good transcript of record, it will ensure to get them a better job in the future.

It was a great feeling to spend the autumn semester here in South Korea. Many things to experience and great memory!

A place where the sun rises

 

The Korean peninsula is shaped like an elongated irregular rectangle, but according to the more poetic-minded people it is a tiger with an open mouth and stretched out paw. Tail as in “tiger” is on the body and only the tip of the tail sticks out a bit.

The “tip of the tail” is not named so by accident. If you look at the map of Korea, on the southeastern coast 40 miles south of Pohang is beautiful cape Homigot. Translated, it means “cape tail tiger.” So this is exactly the case when a beautiful association with powerful animals inspired the official name of the place.

The first thing I saw was Keimyung University campus. It was really big and beautiful. It has got its own church, temple and parks. It was full of trees and hills.

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Dormitory experience was quite odd. Firstly, our dormitories did not have kitchen as they normally have anywhere else. In this case, we all had to go to eat to the campus student restaurant or outside of the campus area. It was not a big issue due to low prices in restaurants. In case people want to get something to eat desperately, many convenient alternatives are available in stores, for example instant noodles, boiled eggs, bread etc. Secondly, we all suffered the curfew. Students were obliged to return to the dorms before 11 pm. In case a person was late for the curfew, he would get a penalty of certain amount of points that would lead to the expelling form the dormitory. However, it was possible to stay out for a night when informing a floor leader beforehand.

Upon arrival, within the first days I already found friends who I went to my first trip with. The place we visited was Donghwasa temple. It is a buddhist temple located near Daegu’s northern border. The place was incredibly beautiful where we experienced so much Korean nature that was literally everywhere and the temple itself was made completely in Asian style including a huge statue of Buddha.

_MG_4701 1However, the weirdest point was that I hadn’t had time to buy good shoes that would be very well suitable for that trip that included hiking a very very high hill… So I went just with my flip flops. It wasn’t as bad as I expected.

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Another Interesting place we visited was Busan city. It is located about 100 km to the south from Daegu. The first thing I experienced was the sea. We swam there a little bit no matter that it was in October, it was still quite warm. _ytHT--jGo4

 

The next day, we went to walk around the city, where we found a huge temple located on the seaside.

_MG_4918The Busan city is famous for its fish markets. I tried my first alive octopus in my life, which was very delicious._MG_4833

 

In places like that people usually do not speak English, but we had our Korean friends with us, so they helped us to communicate with locals. However, by that time, we had been able to keep a basic conversation in Korean, including understanding numbers that was one of the most important issues at the time we first arrived to Korea. During those three days of our stay in Busan, we also hiked couple of big hills in Busan and witnessed a nice light show that was conducted at the biggest bridge of the city. The music that was played on the beach was followed by the lights on the bridge. The thing was just amazing, so it just took the breath right out of me. _MG_4969

 

The photo above represents that bridge and beginning of the light show that lasted for one hour. My camera wasn’t good enough to capture as much light effect as I wanted. I would like to come back to the place again in the future.

Another thing that completely changed my mind was the lantern festival that was held in another town called Jinju. I went to that small city for couple of days and I did not regret at all. Everything that I could imagine was shining right in front of my eyes.

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There were thousands of statues and figures shining around the city in the park, castle, in front of the temple and floating on the river. Probably one of the most beautiful things I have witnessed in my life._MG_5340

If you are going to go to Korea, you better pass by that city in October and visit the lantern festival that lasts for twelve days, so you won’t miss it.