Kind regards from South-Korea

Sharing my thoughts and experiences about my exchange period in South-Korea

Category Archives: Yleinen

Continue

After Gamcheon we went to see the Nurimaru APEC house. APEC stands for “Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation“. Anyways, this is the big place where big learders gather and make decisions etc. It is free and opening hours are 10-17/10am – 5pm.

On our way to APEC house we saw really nice cars, it’s a shame that I couldn’t take any pictures of them. From APEC house we went to Haeundae beach. That beach was one of the most beautiful ones in South-Korea. My roommate told me that he haven’t been there for 7 years, because it is always crowded in summer.

We wanted to try how cold is the water, but my roommate and his friend was hesitating so we skipped that. We walked around the beach and head to outside-theater. I think that the movie festivals are usually held there or something. When we were there, it was childrens day so there was crayon drawings everywhere, because there was some kind of drawing competition.

We started to get hungry so we went to fish market and bought some alcohol and raw fish for dinner and enjoyed the view of gwangan bridge. Definitely the most beautiful bridge I ever seen. On the side of the bridge is some kind of light show.

After eating well and bit tipsy we head back to my roommate’s town Changwon. Before going to sleep he wanted me to taste “real” chicken. Chicken as a term in korea means deep fried chicken and the “real” means whole chicken. So we went to hes favorite place to eat this chicken.

This is He’s favorite place in Changwon where he goes to chill out alone or with hes friends. There was  really cool brigde called Machang, because it connects two towns together, Masan and Changwon.

After eating we went back to his home and slept.

I’ve been really busy with Final exams, team projects and assignments so I haven’t post anything in long time, now that they are over I can try to get myself back into the writing mood.

Here’s a short video about this trip. (Random clips put together)

Anyways, that’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

Long time no post again

To begin with, I want to apologize about my last post. It was quite harsh, I was little frustrated due quiz and team projects.

Okay, back to my adventures. I went to Busan and Changwon with my roommate, He invited me to his home. It was one of the best experience that one can have here. I stayed there for two nights. We arrive to Changwon around 6pm and my roommate’s father came to pick us from the train station with his new E-class Mercedes-benz.

Changwon is small industrial city for example, Doosan digger machines are built there. One part of Changwon is called “Changwon Vegas”, it was packed with these 5-7 floor all-in-one buildings. First floors were usually restaurants, and second and third is for drinking. Fourth was for norebang (karaoke) and rest of the floors were accommodation services. This is the place to be after long day of working in factory, firstly eat well, secondly get wasted, thirdly have fun singing with friends and then finally small rest before next day starts.

Time for Busan. When I stepped out of the car, I immediately smelled sea and the fishy smell of fish market. It was our first place to visit, probably the biggest fish market in Korea. Here you can get everything, dolphin meat, shark or even whale ! And other sea creatures.

After seen enough we head to the main street. We started to get hungry so we got some street food. Not totally sure if this picture is from main street, but anyways. Busan in known for movie festival. On the ground of the main street is platinum plates or something, that has actors names and hand prints.

Many poeple wanted to take picture here because of that blue sign that has a red arrow on top of it. I really couldn’t understand why. My roommate made me also take selfies there etc.

We found this tteokbokki joint near main street and decided to eat there. We god kimbabs, tteokbokki and dumplings(mandoo) and huge rice cake.

Dessert time ! We got this jelly thing, made from seaweed with strawberry jam/juice with bean powder.

These pictures sucks, but I got a video about this stuff, so maybe later I’ll upload it to youtube. There is a lot of video footage, but I don’t want to waste my time editing those videos when I’m here. I only got about 2 weeks left. So maybe when I get back to Finland I’ll post more stuff.

After destroying that dessert we head to Busan cultural village, Gamcheon (or painting village). There is really nicely explained in Korean language how this village has been created. Maybe in English also. Definitely worth to visit !

Here’s a short video about this trip. (Random clips put together)

This post is getting too boring and long so, to be continued…

EDIT: fixed few typos etc + Video added

Random post

Haven’t done anything special after the Itaewon and Han river. Reason for that is we had mid-term exams, most of them went well in my opinion except one. I got 10/10 in English composition 1 and 57,5 or 58/60 in English Conversation 2. Korean quiz was 48/50, but my own major’s course was 30/100, Domain analysis and design. I was expecting bad results, but not that bad, so I was little bit disappointed. DO NOT TAKE THIS CLASS “Domain analysis and Design” ! It is hard and too much to memorize, that’s right, memorize. Here they discourage you to learn anything, Korean education system courage you to remember everything, that applies on exchange students also.

For example, Koreans learn English in primary school just like Finnish people, but still in Universities most of Koreans cannot even form a decent sentence that make sense and worse case is that they don’t even understand if you ask them “Should we eat before team project”. It’s not a joke, My friend experience this and I experience similar situations many times.

Not to mock Koreans, but just pointing out how efficient is Korean Education system and how efficient is their study habits. This is how they study, they wake up 8-9 in the morning, go to classes. Comes back to dorm in afternoon, small nap and study till 3-4am and ofcourse playing mobile games or texting while studying and then sleep for 30min-4hours and alarm clock starts ringing about 8am, snooze till 8.30am and shower and off to class and so on. Koreans can’t even use Texas Instruments calculators, because it’s too advanced in Universities opinion. Also They have to memorize all the formulas in math/physics etc… Let’s change the subject before somebody get’s sand in that particular place.

Many people here take the same courses what they have done in their home university and I should have done the same, because there more time to travel and easier to understand. It might get boring, but you get good grades and still have time to experience South-Korea. OH yeah, and it will extend a bit of your studies.

Weather is getting really warm nowadays, I can’t stand to be in the dormitory room, average temperature in the dorm room is about 23-26 celcius degree. Outside it’s about melting point for Finnish people, about 22 celcius degree. Flowers like it, it is really colorful in campus area.

The rain in South-Korea in most of my experience it’s brutal, you will get really wet if you don’t have rain coat or umbrella. Luckily rain coats (few use only) cost like 1000won and decent umbrella is 5000won and they sell both almost everywhere. Koreans other hand don’t get wet, It’s weird. My friend and I walked same distance with Korean couple and we were soaked, but the couple is not. Some kind of wizardry. Usually next day looks much greener because of the rain and flowers starts to bloom.

We visited also Myeongdong, Seoul. Really popular shopping area, people say it’s mostly for girls, because of the amount of make-up stores, but positive suprise was that there was also quite a lot of stores for guys also. I spent more money there than the girls to be honest. There’s also Korean biggest UNI QLO, I really like that clothes store and also forever 21. Restaurants in that area are little bit over priced, but in the evening there will be a lot of street food stalls that are little bit cheaper.

This picture is from the side alley, I didn’t remember to take a picture of the main street. I also found this big bear, it’s soft actually. It’s like stuffed animal, but in really big scale.

That’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

Itaewon and Han-river

My friends and I decided to get something else to eat, rather than Korean food. For this reason we head to Itaewon. Itaewon is known for being full of foreign people and restaurants. They have basic brunch and kebab places, oh I miss kebab so much !

Starter soup, bit creamy and sweet sea soup.

Main dish, not bad but too much dressing on top of the salad. Small advice when you do “expensive” salads, less is more, so less dressing is more enjoyable. These two dishes was 15000won in total. Salad, french fries, ham, soft scrambled eggs between bun and can beans.

Also in these parts they appreciate quality vodka. Finnish Finlandia vodka.

After done eating we went to see the Itaewon main street, nothing special was happening there, because it was quite early.

The green part is bottes, there was a lot of bottles, this was just fraction of this bottle wall. Nothing else to see in my opinion. There was some souvenir shops and random clothes stores that played EDM songs really loud. All most every restaurants, bars, cafes, clothes stores etc are really loud. They try to capture peoples attention with loud music. Good idea, but not very effective since everybody just goes away, because their ears hurts.

Subway stares, I think that pictures is from Han-river. So yeah, we took a subway to Han-river and when we got there, this gate greeted us.

Around this gate was a lot of Ajummas trying to give us delivery food flyers. Ajumma is hard to explain, middle ages women dressed in sporty windbreakers/clothes with big sun visor hats. Better just see it for yourself. They have this unique practical swag on.

Few nice looking building in further back.

A lot of people were having a picnic there, biking around, some were doing skateboarding and few walk their dogs. We also rode bikes along this river. We rented for and hour and it was just 3000won/bike. Not bad I think.

We walked for while and saw this water river like fountain and follow it for awhile.

We end up in the middle of this water fountains. Really cool looking place.

They were taking pictures in the fountain with huge tennis ball. After long day of walking and riding a bike we head back to dormitories.

That’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

Halfway

Oh man, times flies indeed, already halfway through. This experience has opened my eyes wide open. Enjoying the little things, experience other cultures and growing mentally. Now when I look back to see what kinda person I was, I feel so embarrassed.

Everytime I have a conversation with exchange students or local people, they will give me a new perspective to see things and that’s the great beauty of meeting new people. If you never step out of your country, do it as soon as possible, take every change that life gives you. Regret something that you never done, not what you have done.

Okay, change of subject. Getting too deep now.

Time for cherry blossom spam. These are amazing looking trees and they smell good too. It is quite sad that they die after 1-2 weeks, so you have to enjoy every moment that they are a live.

This one isn’t cherry blossom, but it was still pretty and colorful so I had to post it also.

From Ajou football avenue pointing to the Ajou Street (or main street).

I still have a lot of pictures of cherry blossoms, but maybe I upload them later. Ajou University set these lights to highlight these trees. A lot of people came to Ajou University just to take pictures with these blossoms.

Ajou University also had cherry blossom festivals. A lot food trucks and stalls that were selling food, random stuff, cotton candy etc. And some Music/Singing clubs were performing around the campus.

I’m sorry, but this cup of food is halfway eaten, but maybe readers will get the idea. It was really good, tasted bit like kebab with rice.

And some stalls.

Ah the cotton candies were so cute. It was quite hard to get a pictures of these candies at the stall so I ask these two Korean girls to pose for me so get all the models of the candies in one picture. I didn’t want to buy them because I don’t like so much so this was the best option I think.

The main street was quiet at that moment. It was so early in the morning, 12pm. Yes it is early in Korea I think. But like after 3pm or 4pm every place is so crowded. So that’s why I also go shopping early.

EDIT: video was removed ! This video is made by my friend. Like he said, that by pictures you cannot experience the feeling of these events. But definitely everyone should experience this by them self, because the smell of these flowers and the atmosphere, it is mesmerizing.

But that’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

Time flies

boy the time flies. It’s been over a week since my last post. I’ve been really busy, trying to study for the mid-terms and few field trips happened etc. There’s always something to do and everyone asking you to go with them everywhere.

I already wrote about that I took this Domain analysis and design class. Now interesting event came up because of this class. Samsung engineers came to our school and held a seminar about their products and we got for our team project Samsung Z3 phone with TIZEN OS and Samsung galaxy Gear S2 classic.

Before handing these devices back we can apply to have them for ourself. I really want to the watch, even tho it cannot connect to my phone. It supports only hi-end Phones, which is really stupid.

We also had Friends clubs bowling activity. While we walk to the meeting place I took a picture of the church near Ajou’s library.

We took a taxi to the bowling place and played there for 2h. We won both games and after that most of the people went to drink and eat unlike me. I went to eat something small with my Finnish friend and head back to dormitory.

Weekend we spent at Jecheon, it is 2-3h bus drive from Ajou University. It was A.G.A. organized field trip. It was actually the only field trip I enjoyed by far, but still there was some stupid and annyoing activities like drinking games and group photo and “Free time”. The amount of group photo is amazing, I don’t know do they sell these pictures or why we have to take so many group photos. Most of the pictures are so blurry anyways that you couldn’t recognize a Korean student from Finnish student.

But yeah, food was great on the first day, western…ish barbeque with Korean side dishes, it was good.

After done eating we head to the Jecheon Disaster Training Center. There was paintball shooting, we shot only targets, not each other so I was little disappointed and we shot total 12 shots/shooter, wohoo.. Really lame and waste of time, because it was CO2 powered paintball gun, the gas was still too cold when it was my turn, so the shots were really inaccurate and unconsistent.

There was also obstacle course, wall climbing, rope sliding or something like that, dark maze and jumping from tower on a rope. Really fun, it was little bit of extreme and physical stuff, for active person like me,  I love that kinda stuff. I already had enough of them sighseeing stuff, they get boring really quick.

A.G.A. organized the accommodation really badly. Some of us got the beds and some of us had to sleep on the floor and we all paid the same price. Everything in Korea is actually pretty badly organized, badly executed, badly handled or badly done, everything ! So don’t expect anything to go right on the first try.

Here is one of my Finnish friends and mine room. We shared this floor room together.

View from the balcony.

It was quite amazing, but my camera didn’t agree with me so we end up with this kinda picture.

When I got back my roommate suggest that we take part on some event that you could win box of deep fried chicken with your roommate. Of course we won one box of chicken that wasn’t even enough for one person. We just had to take a picture together and write 10 lines about us.

Here’s the picture, My roommate Jaesung and me. Oh yeah, we are having a some kind of bromance. We have exactly the same glasses, shoes and we buy/share for each other food and share same interests etc.

He invited me to his parents house, so I will be visiting busan in two weeks, really looking forward to it. He’s really nice so probably his family is lovely also. It’s funny that Jaesung’s father has worked in Finland and Jaesung is coming to Finland for Fall semester this year. Coincidence? I think not.

That’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

Writing something to keep me awake in the class

I’m in really bring class and really tired. Korean lectures are mostly teacher speaking 1,5h in row and memorizing all the things. There’s no interacting with students, really rarely, unless it is foreign teacher (not korean and not old grumpy).

Also you have attend on every class, some Korean teachers takes it personally if you don’t show up in the class. I don’t know do they hold grunge against you, but they don’t like it, but I think it’s applied only on the old teachers grumpies.

First week in Ajou University I joined Friends club, we had a meeting where we made Kimbabs. It’s similar to sushi, but really rough version of it. Spam and tuna are the main ingredients that is put inside.

I was the first to roll these, without instruction, I think I did pretty well, in fact mine kimbabs were best looking ! Taste was okay, quite mild.

Weekend came again and we decided to get some Lunch outside of the campus. We walk around first, two of my friends wanted to show us same places. We saw the first cherry blossoms while we were circle around.

Quite sad that they die after about a week. They smell also pretty good. While walking around this area we spotted few of these “towers”.

People rest there and observe the nature around it. We continued our journey to the Lotte Mart get some lunch and got distracted by this view.

The area had “european” vibe. Finally made to the Lotte Mart after few hours. We ate at the Japanese Curry place, really tasty food. Here’s a picture of my friend’s chicken curry and my Noodle Curry with deep-fried shrimps and under them was tonkatsu, deep-fried pork cutlet. One of the best curries I taste so far.

After that we did some grocery shoppings and head back to dormitory.

That’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

EDIT: Added a missing picture

Long time no post, sorry for that

I have been ill for 3 weeks now, that’s why I haven’t post anything for awhile. Haven’t been or done anything special.

My friends and I went to gangnam one day by bus, it took little more than an hour and cost something like 5000won. Everybody was talking that we should go there for shopping.

When we got there, I was actually pretty disapointed. The gangnam underground shopping area is not that special, it’s like a basar and all the clothes are basicly one size and you have to do some haggling. Buildings are cool, big modern business buildings and really fancy cars and a lot of plastic surgery clinics.

Later we found out that you should go to gangnam when it’s evening, then all the bars and clubs are open, but I’m not into that stuff so gangnam was waste of time for me and on top of that I didn’t buy anything from gangnam.

Finnish girls doing the gangnam style !

Few days later we went to shopping in our local shopping malls, AK Plaza and Lotte Mall. I think I have already told about the AK Plaza so I’m just gonna skip that part.

Lotte Mall is similar to AK Plaza, various collection of clothes stores and restaurants. We were quite hungry so we ate first before shopping.

We went for mexican/american food this time, sometimes you need a small break from Korean food. There was also gaming section. For example, there was racing simulator that the chair moved/reacted to your driving to make it feel more realistic. It was really awesome, but kinda expensive. For driving 2 laps on short track cost 3000won.

South-Korea is really friendly for the couples. There’s a lot of couples things to do. If you want to something romantic, you should visit South-Korea. Paris is soooooo yesterday stuff. Here they sell couples menu, couples shirts, etc…

Here’s a couples bridge in Lotte Mall. Insa-dong has similar thing also.

They also have this “White day” what is similar to valentines day. If you buy something from for example cosmetic store, they will give a small basket of chocolate and make-ups for girls with cute pink bow on top.

This picture was taken before we head back to dormitory.

People think that Suwon station is dangerous place. There was really cruel murder in Suwon Station and the victim called the police several times to come and check the situation but they didn’t nothing, even though they were in front of the building. So ignorant, but the victim was small Korean girl, so I think this danger doesn’t apply to all people.

That’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

Posting something because I feel like it

Friends and I were at Seoul for this one weekend, because ISN organization threw a party for all the exchange students. Of course we wanted to see that party, expecting Hi-end club with good music and many floors.

We went to Seoul by Bus and there to Hongdae by subway. I don’t know how much it cost, but maybe somewhere around 6000won. Our plan was to spend a night in Hongdae so that next day we can do some shopping. I book a room from Park Avenue Guesthouse for one night, it was 55000won including breakfast.

Before going out we went to eat at this Japanese pub Bistro. Quite expensive to eat out in Seoul, but it was good. I ordered a burger (7500won).

After getting our bellies full of food we head to this Hiphop Club Cream. It was total disaster, too many people in the same place, raining and the worse part was that people smoke in side this club. Some peoples clothes and skin got burnt marks from the cigarettes etc.

Luckily I bought the early bird ticket(7,3 euros), because we were inside this Cream club just for 30min. What a waste, but I got a change to see Hongdae.

Got back to the guesthouse, slept 6 hours and ate “continental” breakfast. After that we went to do some shopping. Really nice selection of clothes in Hongdae.

It started it to rain so we decided to get something to eat and head back to dormitory. Trip back was 1,5h and maybe 6000won. Some of us had a small hangover so we end up at McDonalds. When we were done, we decided to take a pictures of this private booths where you can eat alone. This would sell in Finland !

I think that’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

First week behind

Our first school week started 2nd(wed) of March, nothing special to mention. All the teachers just handed us the syllabus of the course and told some critical information, just the basic stuff when a new course starts.

Things I noticed during the first week.

Firstly, I noticed that learning Korean language is challenging, atleast for me because my Korean teacher doesn’t speak English, just few words. Also Korean teachers murders our names when they try to pronounce them. So you really have to pay attention when teachers checking the name list.

Second thing is, always be present when you have classes. Korean teachers take it’s personal if you miss their classes, same goes for been late.

Third thing, speak respectfully with no weird tones in your voice. If they consider you been rude or you said something with aggressive tone, they can send you off the class, but I think this will apply anywhere.

Fourth thing, you will not hang a lot with Korean. Unless you’re the fangirl/boy who runs after Korean then okay… Exchange students usually do mostly everything together. But there’s clubs for meeting Korean people if you like that kinda stuff.

etc…

On the same week we had drop or add course period. I didn’t drop anything, but I did consider to take one more course. Never took tho. I feel like I’m already really busy with all the things that are going on right now. Especially when I started to workout twice a day. The gym in the new international dormitory is really good and most of the time it’s empty. Everything is new and clean.

I promised to post videos, but it’s harder than I expected. I don’t have any softwares to edit them. I really need to google a free and easy software for editing video clips.

But I think that’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam