Exchange in Kimchiland

From Korea with Love

Tag Archives: Culture

Gyeong-ju Field Trip

One week ago we did a field trip to the historical city of Gyeong-ju in South-Eastern Korea. Almost all of the exchange students joined the trip so we had three buses full of people. The whole trip cost only 50 000 won (about 35 euros) including transportation, entrance fees, dinner, lunch, after party with beer and soju and one night in a very nice hotel.

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With my roommates at the Kolon Hotel.

As you may see from the photo, my hair has changed a bit. I actually went to the hairdresser with some friends few weeks ago to ask for a Korean haircut. I like how it turned out. It was only 10 000 won (about 7 euros) in a hair salon near our campus.

When we arrived to Gyeong-ju, we visited few temples at the mountains.

Seokguram Grotto had a pretty nice view over Gyeong-ju.

Seokguram Grotto had a pretty nice view over Gyeong-ju.

I love the Korean temple decorations.

I love the Korean temple decorations.

Bulguksa temple.

Bulguksa temple.

After visiting Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa temple we drove down from the mountains and visited a place that was built for the king to have parties in. Actually Gyeong-ju was the capital of Korea (known then as Silla kingdom), so it has a lot of royal history.

The party halls for the king.

The party halls for the king.

When the sun was setting down, we knew it was time for dinner.

When the sun was setting down, we knew it was time for dinner.

Meat stew as a dinner. Delicious!

Meat stew as a dinner. Delicious!

After the dinner we drove to our hotel. I saw a sign outside that said “sauna” so I was really excited that they might actually have a sauna/hot bath section at the hotel. As soon as we got to our rooms I went to search the hotel with my friend if there actually was a bath section there. We really found one! I went to get Leena and we went directly there. It was about 5 000 won (3,5 euros) for the hotel guests to use the sauna/bath. It was totally worth it! They had a cold bath, warm bath and hot bath. They also had a pretty nice steam sauna. My favourite was the hot bath which was around 42 degrees celsius – just the way I liked it back in Japan. Naisu!

After we had relaxed ourselves in sauna we had an evening party prepared by the A.G.A. members. They had a talent show and a fashion show which were quite nice! I made a video of the evening party, which you can see here.

The next day we went to see the royal tombs in Gyeong-ju.

I loved the scenery at the tombs. I also love the yellow flowers that were blooming in Gyeong-ju - the same flowers are now starting to bloom here in Suwon!

I loved the scenery at the tombs. I also love the yellow flowers that were blooming in Gyeong-ju - the same flowers are now starting to bloom here in Suwon!

It was a very nice trip – I recommend the future exchange students to join the trip as well as they seem to arrange this trip every semester.

Oh yeah, we finally got our A.G.A. baseball jackets as well.

The baseball jackets are a big part of the campus life here in Korea - every faculty has their own.

The baseball jackets are a big part of the campus life here in Korea - every faculty has their own.

Got my visa!

Yesterday was a happy day – my Korean visa finally arrived! It was supposed to take 4-5 working days for the Korean Embassy to process my visa application, but it ended up taking two weeks. I finally called them on Tuesday, and they said my visa was ready, they just needed to print it out. Don’t know how long it would have taken if I hadn’t called them. The lady on the phone was a Korean woman speaking very good Finnish. She was nice enough to tell me the tracking code for my registered letter so I could get it sooner from the post office (wouldn’t need to wait for the pick-up card that usually arrives one day later).

I started packing my stuff yesterday and bought some souvenirs that included chocolate, candy and Moomin gum. Why gum? In Korea, Finland is well-known for its xylitol gum, click here to see why.

Today I got an e-mail from Ajou University about our orientation day schedule. The orientation takes place next Friday. Here’s the schedule.

♦ 10:00 ~ 10:20 Registration
♦ 10:20 ~ 10:30 Introductory Video of Ajou University
♦ 10:30 ~ 10:35 Introduction of Staff Members
♦ 10:35 ~ 10:40 Welcoming address by Vice President for External Relations
♦ 10:40 ~ 11:00 Introduction to Ajou University
♦ 11:00 ~ 11:20 Information Session 1: Key Information for Int’l Students
♦ 11:20 ~ 11:40 Information Session 2: Campus Life & Living in Korea
♦ 11:40 ~ 11:50 Break
♦ 11:50 ~ 12:20 Information Session 3: Dormitory Life & Fire prevention
♦ 12:20 ~ 12:30 Introduction to CCAP program
♦ 12:30 ~ 12:40 Group Photo
♦ 12:40 ~ 14:00 Welcoming Luncheon @ Lobby of Yulgok Hall
♦14:00 ~ 14:15 Registration
♦14:15 ~ 14:30 Video of the former Exchange Student Program
♦14:30 ~ 16:00 Exchage students program presentation
– Program Schedule
– Event Schedule for 2011 spring semester
– Course Registration Notice & Confirmation
– Tips for better life at Ajou
– Introduction to A.G.A students
♦16:00 ~ 17:00 Campus Tour by A.G.A.
♦18:00 ~ Dinner with A.G.A.

Wow, a long day! Don’t know why there are two registrations marked in the schedule, but we’ll find out. The A.G.A. in the schedule stands for Ajou Global Ambassadors, which is like a tutor organization to help the international students at Ajou University. They’re even coming to pick us up at the Incheon airport next Wednesday and they’ll arrange some program for us during our stay in Korea – how nice! Can’t wait to meet all the local and international students at Ajou University! See you soon!

The beginning

Annyong haseyo! That’s hello in Korean. This is a diary of my exchange period in South Korea!

I’ll be flying to Seoul, the capital of South Korea on the 22nd of February. I already booked the flight tickets for 600 euros; quite a good deal for a round trip flight (Helsinki-Amsterdam-Seoul-Amsterdam-Helsinki).

I won’t be studying in Seoul city though. Ajou University is located in the city of Suwon, about 20km away from Seoul. Although Suwon is an independent city, it’s still a part of the metropolitan area of Seoul.

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↑ Yep, that’s Suwon right there just south of Seoul.

Why Korea?

Before I enrolled to JAMK University of Applied Sciences I studied japanology (Japanese language and culture) as my major for three years. After learning so much about Japan and after living there several months for studies and work, I wanted to deepen my knowledge of the other parts of East Asia as well. Because the Korean popular culture (TV dramas and music especially) are a big thing in Japan right now, I started to gain interest towards the country and its culture while living in Japan.

I’m a food fanatic and I just loooove Asian cuisine. I also like my food spicy! Korea is well-known for its delicious BBQ and spices, so I’m really looking forward to enjoy the real Korean cuisine – every day!

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So, this is the beginning! There will be some posts about the exchange process as it proceeds during December and January, but there’s still three more months left before I’ll be landing to Incheon airport in Seoul. Until then, you can read about my life in Finland through my Finnish blog.

Hope you’ll stop by here later to read about my Korean experiences. Don’t forget to comment!

Here’s a cool song about Seoul for you to enjoy; it’s performed by two famous Korean pop groups – Girls’ Generation and SuperJunior! Just click the link below.

SuperJunior & Girls’ Generation ~ Seoul

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