(merkit hukassa)

Adventures in Korea

One more update – Studies

I was asked to summarize the courses I participated in Korea, here goes!

I chose my courses first time in spring 2010 when I applied for exchange.  I had to apply again in fall 2010 and reselect the courses. The usual problem of not having updated course listing made it pointless – had I known they only offer logistics courses in English during fall semester, I would have gone in fall, but then again it didn’t really matter to me what kind of studies I was to take – I wouldn’t have been able to credit any courses as my obligatory courses in Finland anyways.

So, the final selection of courses happened during Christmas holidays in Finland – in this web service that really, really needs some serious developing. Not that this really is a problem specifically to Ajou – the quality of all solutions related to course administration was poor in Canada, is ridiculous in Finland and makes no sense in Korea.

I decided to choose six courses:

  1. Korean language 1
  2. Ecodesign 1
  3. Ecodesign 2
  4. Introduction to Information Security
  5. Contemporary Issues in Korean Culture and Society and
  6. Biological Wastewater Management

During the course drop period I decided to drop the culture course (it was way too much work and not too much in my scope of interest either), Korean language 1 (Too slow, I learned more drinking with my choir mates) and Biological Wastewater Management (my math level was way below Koreans, I had no means to keep up. This course was basically calculations after calculations).

I ended up with three courses and one club. I think four courses is well enough for exchange students. At least for Finnish students – we are not used to so much homework. The courses are really time consuming in Korea. And your club also takes quite a deal of your time – they are your Korean contact and you need to socialize.

Ecodesign 1 and 2 – first one being theory course and the second a lab course. Professor Lee is a leading researcher in the field, speaks excellent English and demands that from his students (have an English- English dictionary with you in class if you want to impress him), and very demanding. He really appreciates thinking outside the box, so don’t stick to your old ideas. The topic of the course was green design – mostly re-designing and calculating the CO2 imprint. I found the course inspiring – although my Korean classmates were afraid of the professor, he is very demanding.

Introduction to Information Security  by professor Tufail was also an excellent choice. Professor Tufail is a young guy who really can emphasize with students and is understanding, if you have some exchange student stuff going on. Let him know your absences beforehand though, just to make it easier for you both. The course outline is very clear, the coursebook excellent and the exercises reasonable and easy. It’s very easy to get good marks on this course and it’s useful basic knowledge on IT security.

Glee choir – my freetime activity, was my savior. I signed up on during the week they were advertising and they really took me in well. They practice once a week, 3 hours a row plus the separate themes practice a couple of hours a week. There are a lot of guys and a little less girls. People hang out in the club room all the time – they spend their nights there too, if they miss their bus or are too drunk to go home. I really, really recommend them. I just met a couple of glee members a couple of weeks ago – they came to Finland ^^.

One more thing about courses – you need to keep an eye on the course dropping dates – they are really strict.

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Culture shock

Hey, someone has been bullshitting me about this culture shock crap. I didn’t get any symptoms during or after my exchange. No wait! I got a bit irritated once. No wait again! I didn’t remember how to use my credit card here in Finland, and I still hand everything with both hands.

No need to describe me the phenomenon – I’ve been through it over and over again. Surprisingly enough, I got the biggest shock when I moved to my university town Jyväskylä, in my own country! Had I been a bit weaker specimen of my species, I would have needed medication. Have a Prozac and smile! I quite a shock with Canada too, after most of the exchange students I knew left after the first semester and the rest of us got tired with each other. I only stayed three weeks in Japan but got a shock worth mentioning – didn’t speak with my travel mate for a month. But no shock with Korea. Nothing.

This time I was pretty sure I would only stay there for 5 months, nothing was for forever, I had nothing to get excessively irritated over. And on the other hand, the life I came back to in Finland was good to begin with: friends, family, well paying job, summer. I know I can go back to Korea whenever I want to.

I must confess I took precautions to bypass the culture shock. The Japan experience was a great help. I knew my weaknesses and how to get over them.

Precaution number 1: Make sure you get enough food.  – As I have been living with myself for good 27 years I know for sure the monster inside me wakes up when I’m hungry and tired. I knew Korea (like Japan) is and was a nightmare for a vegetarian, and I was a vegan. VEGAN! Nothing, nothing from animals I ate. I asked tips from other vegetarians in Korea (didn’t help that much) and for the first weeks I just tried to slowly accept the local cuisine. No heavy drinking, no heavy sightseeing, no “let’s experience everything new right now” attitude. Just chillin’. It paid off! I had to make compromises: trying to stay vegan without understanding Korean would have been too hard, and I also started eating food with meat broth or chunks of meat in  – luckily I had carnivorous friends, who bravely suffered my share of meat.

Precaution number 2: make friends. Lotta was a great help – I’m slow and lazy to make friends so I just let Lotta do the filtering and collected the prize.

Precaution number 3: don’t stay too long. Two semesters in Canada was a bit too much. Three weeks backpacking in Japan was too much. One semester in Korea was just enough to leave me hungry for more. I didn’t have enough money to stay longer.

Precaution number 4: don’t expect. Don’t expect anything from the country or the people (yourself included). The experience is offered “as is”. Most of the ridiculous stuff can be explained logically when put in the cultural context. People in most cases are not better or worse than you, even if they act differently. You yourself are responsible for your mistakes or successes. If you expect too much, it’s your fault you get disappointed.

Precaution number 5: accept all the weird invitations. And here I don’t live as I preach. I didn’t go to the host bar, even though my friend kept asking me to go. Nor did I go to the Wedding Cafe. Maybe next time?

???
Profit

Maybe it hits later, the shock. But honestly, I’d like to think, patting myself to the back, that I’ve achieved the cosmopolitan attitude I’ve been striving for… or is it because I’m happy with (or full of) myself that I don’t need to stress over irrelevant stuff? I’m pretty sure the wanderlust hits me sooner than the culture shock.

PS. Yesterday I sent the final documents to my coordinator. Soon it’s officially over.


Wussup, Pillandu?

Hell yeah I’m back in Finland!

Aside from getting my clothes all wet, the typhoon didn’t cause any major discomfort. My plane was an hour late though, but since I had enough time to change planes in Amsterdam, no problems.

Tips for padawans: remember to leave your alien registration card with the immigration personnel in Korea. I did. And EU border formalities with EU passport were lovely. The guy barely glanced at my passport. In Finland I didn’t even see any border personnel.

My trip home took 44 hours altogether. I almost cried, watching the sunset from the plane for the whole flight from ‘dam. Yes, sunsets in northern regions last pretty long. The first thing I tried to do in Finland was to ASK someone at the tourist info if they knew the bus schedules – instead of the Finnish way of just reading the boards and figuring things out by ourselves. Well, there weren’t anybody to ask from and I got confused. Then I bought some snacks from the convenience store and wasn’t sure anymore how to use my credit card – the system in Finland is different, you know, and I had forgotten. And I still have problems using the tap… which way it closes? And I think it’s gonna take a while to start handing and receiving things with one hand.

I had to wait for the bus for 2 hours and, due to Foo Fighter’s gig in Helsinki, it was packed. I had to stand for the first hundred kilometers, but Finnish bus drivers are honestly way better than Koreans, so it was like standing in a train. Except smoother. And I spend it chatting with this cute and polite young guy, not bad right?

After Lahti I got a seat and fell asleep. I woke up a couple of times, saw white people around me and wondered where all these tourists were headed, until I realized I was in Finland and they were locals. I woke up in Kärsämäki and started chatting with a the lady seated behind me and it was great. It never happens normally though, chatting with strangers, in Finland.

I was surprised and happy to have three of my friends welcoming me at Oulu bus station, after the 10 hours bus ride. So happy! The weather was superb, my friends were there and we had interesting stuff to do. Although, when I got home later, there wasn’t anybody to welcome me (even my sister went back to Oulu pretty quickly, she had to work in the morning). My parents are in Norway and they took the dog with them. SO QUIET HERE!

My home

The nights are white. The sun doesn’t set until halfway of July. There are mosquitoes everywhere. I can drink from the tap. The food is salty. Fruits are cheap. And, I have to face the reality, finish my school and start looking for a job. I feel the stress piling up already. I did little for the job finding anyways, since my friend called and I asked him to put a word around for me.

Xiit, this is not June, this is August.

Note: the nights ain’t getting this dark until August, obvious xiit picture.

There is so much to do and so little time! Aaaaaa. Gotta go.

Ps. I lent my camera for a friend, the pictures are old. Only things that have changed since are the cars anyways.

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It’s over, or is it?

If all goes as planned, this is my last night in Korea for now. My flight is supposed to leave from Incheon today at 14.30 – but let’s not bet on it yet. Typhoon Meari will hit Korea later today, and might lead to flight cancellations and even more severe stuff. I’ve never experienced a typhoon, so I’m kinda excited. Also, I’m thankful for leaving some air on my schedule – if the flight departs on time, I might have enough time to drag my ass from Busan to Incheon.

So, I’m in Busan now. I’ve done close to nothing spectacular.

I took a long stroll along Haeundae beach on Thursday night. It was cloudy, but it didn’t rain yet, so I got to see the beautiful beach, Diamond bridge and the skyscrapers. The next day I just slept – it was raining and my eyes were hurting. Reason? Found out yesterday after visiting an optician. My vision suddenly went from -2.25 to -3. Lack of vitamins? Sure, my diet here has been retarded.

Other things I did yesterday were visiting the PIFF square (just tumbled upon it) and shopping – I hate shopping, but it was raining like crazy and the wind kept breaking my umbrella, and still I didn’t want to stay cooped up at the hostel since I went through all the trouble to come all the way to Busan. Oh, and I went to get a new haircut again (got the last one a week ago). I didn’t really like the previous one, so I went and got a mohawk. Or mohican, as the Koreans call it.

The hostel I’m staying in, Pobi Guesthouse, is mysterious: a British girl I met on my first week in Korea, in Hongdae, is now staying at the same hostel in Haeundae. Also, two Korean girls from Ajou stayed in the same room on my first night here. What a small world. The hostel is very new, clean and well located between Haeundae subway station and the beach. It’s easy to find – take Haeundae stn exit 1, keep walking until the first bigger intersection, turn righ and keep walking until you start to see the road ending at a T-intersection. It’s on the left side of the road and well marked with yellow signs. Knock the door, it’s usually locked.

Super nice young lady Jeong Eun owns the place and this friendly guy who’s name I didn’t ask also works there. The only small minus point is the neighboring club, which can get a bit noisy on weekends. But it can also be a plus to party people – very convenient to go party! They just played Imogen Heap, can’t be bad!

So, I’ll leave in less than five hours. Taking KTX and hoping it’s on time. And hoping there is enough room for my bass – the conductor lady gave me a whole car to choose from when she saw it on my way here. I wonder if I should take a bus to the station or just ride the subway. It was pretty okay from the station to here, and knowing Korean buses don’t have much space I might end up choosing the subway. Oooor I could take a cab. It’s about 15 000w and I have 18 000 left. Dun dun duun, let’s see what I end up doing.

So, bye bye Korea. Please let me leave and don’t delay my flight.

PS. Things I noticed about Korea:

1. They really love singing fountains.
2.  The umbrella bags they provide in every store on rainy days are convenient and I’m gonna miss them.
3. Busan has an awesome bakery chain OPS. They have non-sugar coated veggie stuff. I love!
4. Why Korean people don’t feel cold indoors even when the ACs are making me freeze?
5. Summer fashion this year is hideous. HI-DE-OUS! Why did you come back, early 90’s? Go back where you came from! You don’t look good even on pretty Koreans.
6. I feel utterly ridiculous dining alone in Korea. Or just having a cup of coffee. And the hairdresser dude was truly amused when I told him I’m traveling alone.


Last night!

So, the time has come. Semester has ended and today was the day of the farewell party. Maybe I’m a cold person, but I found the most moving thing to be the food (it was DELICIOUS). Nah, seriously. I’m gonna miss the people here. Especially the Indonesians, who are the most warm and happy people I’ve ever met. I wish I was Indonesian. I want to bee as big person as they are.

Yes, I’m going to miss YOU, too. (At least if I know you by face.) But not that much. I know I’m gonna meet the most important people again and the world is so small nowadays. Generally this feeling I have right now is happy and a bit anxious – I need to travel again! I’ve been still for too long. Also, I’m happy to leave this weather behind. An arctic bitch like me is not meant to hot and humid weather. And I miss Finnish summer and Finnish food – and my family and my friends.

I’ve packed my stuff like eight times and thrown away stuff on every round. I don’t know how many kilos I have now, but certainly more than the 9.4 kilos I came here with. How do I know – I already sent home 17.8 kilos of souvenirs. And now I have my bass and some clothes I bought from Taiwan. Still I think I’m traveling kinda light. Lookie:

Things I’m gonna miss:

  • Food
  • People
  • Cheap food and alcohol
  • School convenience stores
  • Home delivery scooters
  • GLEE
  • Public transportation
  • T-money
  • Some studies
  • Campus
  • Hongdae
  • Pretty guys
  • Good manners

Things I’m not gonna miss:

  • Gangnam’s non-marked bus stops.
  • Ajou printing system (Can someone please hint the IT dept. about printing credits and network printers?) For next years students I recommend buying a cheap communal printer…
  • Inefficient queues for 7000 and 7001 in Sadang. How come the bus stop is right in front of the subway exit. I bet it would help a lot to move it 30 meters further and paint the queue lines to the ground like they do in Taiwan. But of course no-one asked me even though I have the perfect solution. For future students I recommend learning to say 7001 and 7-and-three-zeros, as most Koreans seem to say it, in Korean. Helps a lot when you need to figure out if you are in the right line or not.
  • Anorectic people.
  • Overworking inefficiently.
  • Caring only about money and looks.
  • Humid weather. And I know it’s just the beginning.
  • Internet Explorer.

But oh well, I still have a couple of days left. Tomorrow (today to be exact) I’m leaving for Busan, from where I’m taking KTX to Incheon on Sunday morning. Busan, here I come!

Thank you everyone. It was a great semester! Bye Ajou!


…and it’s kinda gay

I went to check out the gay clubs in Itaewon last Friday. Certainly, a lot of gays and very friendly atmosphere. Totally different from earlier on the day in the same area. Itaweon in daytime was super intimidating, after I’ve gotten used to the reserved Korean manner guys. Honestly, I wonder if the guys there really get lucky with the aggressive approach. Don’t try it on me, I get annoyed.

Back to the homo hill, there weren’t many girls there, and the lesbians I could count with one hand’s fingers. My friend told me there are lesbian clubs in Hongdae, but isn’t it just boring and prejudiced to separate rainbow people by gender? If I went out with my gay friends in Finland, why would we want to go to separate bars just because some of us have something hanging between our legs and some don’t? I don’t get it. Well, doesn’t matter, we had fun.

I got all happy the next day to see so many cool indie kids in Samseong,  I got a ticket from my friend Vanessa, for this band I had never heard of before, but which was very awesome. Mellow and massive and cute. Check them out: Dear Cloud (디어 클라우드). There was this coolest girl ever sitting beside me, but of course I was too shy to talk to her. By the way, again they gave out freebies. I guess they do it often here. And the concert was awesome, but way too long… more than two hours of mellow music is just a bit too much in one go.

So, by the time it was over, I was hungry and tired and since it was such a long time since I last took a bus from Gangnam, I forgot from which exit it leaves and spend a long time looking for the right bus stop, since of course Koreans can’t put the information on any maps – they just have like 12 tiny bus figures on the map but no info of which bus leaves where. And, no north arrow either, so I couldn’t even figure anything out by compass points. Of course I could have asked, but I’m from Finland, we don’t ask.

Yesterday a couple of Lotta’s friends from Finland came to Suwon and we had great time. Of course we drank excessively and today I’ve been feeling not that fresh. I ended up causing some trouble, even though I had no intention whatsoever, nor did I start it, but oh well, I got the blame since I’m older and look oh-so-manly with my new summer haircut. It was nothing serious though so I guess it’s okay now. And I’m leaving the town anyways kkkkkkkk

PS. They are opening a new store called ㅋㅋㅋ down the street. I wonder what kinda business it is?

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Jeonju – 전주

Visit Korea Year 2011 promotes Korea in many ways. One of them is the free tourist buss for foreigners. They offer trips to Busan (부산), Gyeongju (경주) and Jeonju (전주). Lotta being active like always, booked us tickets and there we went, last weekend. The bus left on time, at eight, even though the guide guy was very late. He also didn’t know how to speak. But the bus was comfy.

The weather was great (+32 degrees) and the Hanok village (hanok is a traditional Korean house)  was full of beautiful houses and galleries and crafts. By coincidence they were having a traditional music festival. It was great, I liked the traditional storyteller/singer kids the best. Here is a video Lotta took of the kid who won the talent competition.

We were planning on staying at Jeonju Guesthouse right next to Hanok Village. For some reason it was over booked, even though we had a reservation, so we ended up staying in a very pretty small hotel, upstairs of a hat boutique.

In the evening we went to search for dinner. We wanted sub but didn’t find, so we settled with Pizza hut. Surprising enough, that seems to be the only place in Korea you can’t buy beer with your food! There is a nice shopping are in Jeonju, full of young people and colorful shops. And their Daiso was huge.

Jeonju people were nice and talkative – they didn’t speak any English, but they didn’t let that bother them. Some of them we understood, too. Like the guy who helped us to find a naengmyon (냉면) (cold noodles) restaurant. We popped in one restaurant to ask if they served naengmyon, which they didn’t. One of the customers, an ahjussi, run after us and told us he was gonna show us the way to the best naengmyon restaurant of the city and it was a five minutes walk from the first place – in Korean of course. On the way he showed us his own store, which explained why he went through the trouble of walking us there. It was right next to the nengmyon shop. He told the restaurant keeper to serve us the best they got and probably with endless refills, because that’s what we got. And it was delicious!

Another random encounter was an American university professor and poet and his wife, who we met at a souvenir shop. He was very friendly and had his roots in Sweden. His wife told me I look just like Taru.

Sunday morning we headed for Doekjin Park, famous for it’s huge lotus pond. On the way we grabbed some sushi from Home Plus. I think we were the only foreigners in the whole shop. Jeonju buses are pretty convenient and the system was easy enough to figure out, with some help from tourist information lady. T-money works there as well, which is great. Doekjin Park was nice and serene – even though they had a wrestling competition going on there. Sympathetic Christian ladies wanted us to join their church and talked with us for 45 minutes, even though they didn’t speak a word of English.

Jeonju is famous for hanji, beautiful handmade paper, so we couldn’t leave the city without getting some. I bough six sheets for 12 000 won and I’m gonna hang them on my wall in Finland. Very beautiful!


Thank you Jeonju!

PS. I’ve never been stared at so much as in Jeonju. I felt like the only white person on Earth. I can honestly say Jeonju has not been spoiled by tourism yet.

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Jeju-do – 제주도, 2.-8.6.2011

Jeju is the Åland of Korea. It’s an autonomous paradise island at the very southern end of Korea. Everybody told us to be sure to go there, so we went – me, Lotta and Anouk. Lotta, as a tourism major and utterly awesome human being, acted as our travel guide, made all the reservations and made sure the trip was a success. It was a success.

We reserved the flight tickets maybe a month ahead and got pretty good prices from Eastarjet– around 80000 won / 50  euros return. There is a direct shuttle bus from Hotel Castle near Ajou to Gimpo airport. Tickets are 6000 won one way and it takes one and half hours to get there – we expected a shorted ride and we got there only ten minutes before Anouk’s check in counter closed. Me and Lotta had a different flight a bit later so we were okay. Both our flights were delayed because of thick fog in Jeju airport. Luckily we were able to land – I heard some planes had to return and some were canceled completely.

From Jeju airport we took a limousine bus 600 to Seogwipo KAL Hotel, close to our first hostel – Doona guesthouse. Our hostel was great and the people there nice. A lot of Scandinavian color there – two dudes from Sweden and one from Finland. The guesthouse is owned by a Korean lady, Doona, and her family. It has very comfy beds and clean facilities and a nice porch to chill at. Close by is a nice Korean restaurant and a small convenience store. Bus number 2 operates to Seogwipo city.

Doona guesthouse

We spend the first day climbing Halla mountain (한라산). (Wouldn’t Hallavuori be a nice surname?) We took the Seongpanak Trail (성판악) – 9.6 km. You can get there by taking bus 5.16 from Seogwipo or Jeju city. Tell the driver you are going to Seongpanak and he’ll drop you off there.  To be able to climb all the way up to the summit you should be at the shelter checkpoint (about 8 km)  no later than 1PM, descending from the summit should start before 2.30PM, so leave early! The bus from Seogwipo takes about 40 minutes.

Seongpanak trail wasn’t as steep as the other ones, but it sure was long. It was good though, we got to see the other crater lake. It was surprisingly quiet – no echo there. My hip started hurting at 1700m, so I didn’t climb all the way to the summit. Lotta did! Well done Lotta. I spent a couple of hours napping in the burning hot sun and headed back to meet Anouk. There were quite a many high school students there, on a field trip. They were happy to practice their English skills with us.

Hallasan

On our second day we joined forces with Canadian Michelle and Finnish Miikka to see the Seogwipo area waterfalls and Jungmun beach. Cheonjiyeon waterfall is in Seogwipo city… easily reached by walking or if you are coming from Doona guesthouse, by bus number 2. Hop off at Napoli hotel or write the waterfall name down and show it to the driver.

Cheonjeyeon Waterfall and Jungmun beach can be reached with bus 600. Catch it from KAL hotel or the hotel I forgot the name for, close to Napoli hotel. Hop off right after the extravagant hotels in Jungmun resort, by Ripley’s believe it or not.

We left for Jeju city (제주시) on our third day. Same bus that took us to Hallasan operates all the way to Jeju city bus terminal. Our second accommodation Yeha guesthouse was conveniently located next to the bus terminal and they had a superb roof terrace!  Rooms were nice and every room had their own shower. Breakfast and one free drink included!

Yeha Guesthouse

We spend the day checking out Jeju city’s sights – Samseonghyeol Shrine (삼성혈), where the three demigods of Jeju popped out of the ground, Jeju Folklore museum (pretty cool place, learned a lot, but the sea creature museum next to it was too much – freaking scary, never gonna swim again) and the seafront. Ate Mexican food near City Hall, at Zapata’s. Very good food and handsome waiters!

Samseonghyeol

Seafront

The next day we took a bus to Seongsan Ilchulbong (성산일출봉), the sunrise peak. We didn’t see the sunrise, but the area was pretty. We also took a ferry to U-do (우도), a small island close to the sunrise peak.  The tour bus organized by the local people is well worth the 5000 won. It stops at the main attractions and you can get on the next bus every half an hour. It was a good idea to take my flipflops with me, since the pretty coral sand beach was, well, sandy. I built a sand castle! And ate seaweed. The island is very rural and the people reminded me of people back home. Oh, the owner lady of the convenience store in U-do ferry terminal is nice and you can get home made kimchi with your cup noodles.

Sunrise peak

We got back early enough to have time to check out the Tea museum. It was great, even though no-one spoke a word of English there. The cafe downstairs was picturesque and had awesome matcha yogurt ice cream. Of course we had to buy some small tea cups, but the real tea sets were too expensive. We also found a nice Indian restaurant near by (can you tell we are getting a bit tired of Korean food).

On our last day we visited the Manjanggul Lava-tube (만장굴). The bus left us 2 kilometers from the entrance, but by foot we were able to see the smaller lava tube entrances. On the way we stopped by the Kimnyeong maze, a huge cedar maze well worth visiting. Our tactic ar first was the famous “first right, then left” but since it failed we switched to “kai-bai-po” (rock paper scissors) and successfully cleared the maze. For dinner we had the best summer food, Japanese cold noodles. From now on I’m not gonna eat anything else but cold noodles in the summer.

A great trip! Yay!

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Tips for Padawans: Awesome Naver!

When I arrived here I had only very vague instructions of how to get here or how the place looks like. I was lost because my trusted Google didn’t provide me streetviews. Now I understand why. It’s not Google they trust in Korea. It’s Naver and Naver 지도.

So for those who plan on traveling or living in Korea, I highly recommend learning hangul (the Korean alphabet) and trying to navigate with Naver. As long as you know how to read and write city names, you are good – it’s basically the same as Google and Google Maps – but better! It has ALL the information you need to know just about anything. It finds you a bus and calculates your gasoline consumption. Actually, when you travel in Korea and your guide book and tourist information people tell you that “there is no buses to that and that place” they are probably too lazy and wrong. Ask Naver, and it will find you your buses and schedules. Helped me a lot in Jeju-island.

So, if you want to take a tour through our campus, here’s a link that hopefully works. By clicking the little planes you can see pretty good aerial photos.

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Mentoring

What up?

I’ve been sick, I’ve been clubbing and I’ve met loads of new people. I’m so sad I barely have two weeks left.

Korean drama (as well as Japanese drama, manga and anime) often have characters catching colds, and they faint, wobble and almost die and need to be taken care of (preferably you should feed them with bunny shaped apple slices). Before I came here I was hardly ever sick and I thought it’s just stupid drama thing, over exaggerating and yeah, drama.

Now that I’ve experienced Korean cold twice I can tell you: hell no they exaggerate, I honestly felt like dying with my 39 degrees of fever and shaky legs. So if you come here, take care not to catch cold. I missed our school festival because of cold. So sad.

As soon as I got better, I went clubbing in Hongdae, because now it’s warm enough to stay until the buses start running again (around 5.30). Hongdae certainly has a lot to offer, it is still very awesome. I wanted to go today too, but then again it’s too much work to wait until morning and the guys can be very persistent and pushy. Sometimes I don’t mind, but I’ve got my share already. I kinda wanna try the gay clubs still, there should be some in Hongdae and a lot in Itaewon (where I still haven’t been to). But it’s boring to go alone and rude to drag a bunch of straight friends with you. So I guess I’m gonna skip that performance.

Other topic, I’ve been meeting with the students who are coming to my home university next semester. They are very nice and awesome and I hope I can be of some help. And I really hope I have time to hang out with them in Finland too! I feel like I’m tutoring again – although now I feel like I have more to give coz I know their culture and how Finnish culture is different – and how surprisingly similar it is.

And how is it similar or how does it differ?

Similarities:

  • Finnish people love to drink – so do Koreans.
  • Finnish people love grilled meat – so do Koreans.
  • Finns like things predictable – so do Koreans.
  • Finns at least pretend to be humble – so do Koreans.
  • Finns are punctual – Koreans are even more.
  • Finns like well organized stuff – just like Koreans.
  • Koreans go to sauna naked – which is proper way to do it if you ask a Finn
  • Finns… ah, never mind, can’t figure out more similarities.

Differences:

  • Koreans eat when they drink – Finns just drink
  • Koreans behave even when drunk – Finns just don’t
  • Korean guys treat girls like princesses – Finnish guys couldn’t care less
  • Many Korean girls act like princesses – Finnish women couldn’t care less
  • Koreans spend their free time in school or work – Finns rather scratch their rears at home instead
  • For Koreans the group matters – Finns couldn’t care less about their classmates, and even less for workmates
  • Koreans avoid arguments because consensus matters – Finns avoid arguments because they are too lazy to fight – except when drunk.

While mentoring I decided to start a new blog. I got inspired by Hangul a day, which has been a huge help in learning Korean. I wanted to make a similar blog about Finnish – small daily fragments of Finnish culture and language. I post a link here later when I get enough stuff to publish.

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