I think it would be appropriate to start this entry with an apology.
It has been FAR too long since my last update, so it’s time to get my act together. The last time I posted an entry was a few weeks back when I first arrived in South Korea ~ hard to believe this much time has passed already!
A lot has changed since then, so I think it’s about time I get everyone caught up. Classes have started and the school year has officially begun. It’s starting to feel more like home here in South Korea, and I have made a lot of new friends who come from various countries all around the world.
The cultural diversity here at Korea University this year is incredible. I have been told that this is the most exchange students they have ever had. Normally they have 100 or fewer exchange students in a year, but I suppose this year is an incredible exception. We have around 500 exchange students studying at KU this semester, and a few (including myself) who will stick it out for the entire school year.
There are students from France, Germany, Australia, United Kingdom, Italy, Singapore, Malaysia, Canada, United States, China, Japan, Russia, Croatia… all over the globe. Korea University really is becoming a global leader in education. Their motto is: “Global Pride – Frontier Spirit”, I can’t think of a more fitting way to express their dedication and initiative.
After the first few weeks passed, and we had time to settle into our classes and accommodations, we were given notice about the 고연 전 (GoYeon Jeon – AKA: The Korea/Yonsei Games) which is a series of sports matches (Baseball, Basketball, Soccer and Rugby) between two rival Universities in Seoul. This rivalry has been ongoing for years, and the students always look forward to the games . I could attempt to explain the madness, but it’s better for you to wait for the video I am going to put together within the next few days and you can experience it for yourself.
I will just say that I have never experienced that much spirit or energy before; it was truly an out of body experience. The cheers, hoots and screams could be heard from miles away. The day before the games started, we had a cheering session at the KU Tiger Dome. The unity and passion shared between the students during that cheering practice was phenomenal. I have never felt so connected to a large group of people before. If there’s anything that might convince you to come to experience Korea for yourself, do it solely for the opportunity to share that burning passion and love that Koreans possess for their country and anything they happen to be really proud of.
So far, Korea has been full of surprises. Despite the dense population and mass crowds of people, Koreans are very kind, warm-hearted and friendly people who are willing to help you – especially if you attempt to speak a little Korean with them in the process.
On another note, sight-seeing in South Korea is wonderful. There is always something new to see, especially if you’re interested in Asian history and traditional culture. There is also SO much new food to try. Eating out in Korea is considerably cheaper than in Canada – you really get the most for your money. You are also not expected to tip in Korea. Don’t worry, you’re not being rude by not tipping – if you leave a tip behind, expect someone to chase after you with your change, assuming that you accidentally left it behind.
Please check out the “Scrumptious Snacks and Magnificent Meals” section of my blog for an updated list of some great Korean foods to try if you decide to come to South Korea!
So, I realize it’s hard to do ALL of this reading without seeing many pictures, right? We all know the old saying is true, “A picture IS worth a 1000 words”, so I suppose I can share some of the pictures I have taken since arriving here in Korea. It might do a better job at showing you all how much fun I am having studying and living in South Korea as an exchange student.
I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking, but just a quick note – from now on, I promise I’ll do my best to update more frequently! With lots of videos, reviews of restaurants, places to see, things to do and a lot of really random fun facts about Korea!
I hope you all enjoyed this entry, and I’ll be back with another VERY SOON. So, hold tight!
P.S – If you’re itching to see more photos, I will be linking my blog to my photo sharing folder soon (once I figure out how to do it) so you’ll be able to see all of the photos I have taken so far!