Kind regards from South-Korea

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

Category Archives: Yleinen

Field trip pt. 2

After I finished my meal, I went to take some pictures from the market. It was so cold my hands/fingers were freezing and it was so crowded I didn’t take many pictures, but here few shots.

If you didn’t spent all the coins you change, you can refund them for cash, but the line is pretty long.

I think some Korean people wore these traditional Hanbok outfits to respect their Independence day (movement day). It’s a really cute couples thing also. I would defenitely like to do it one day.

Okay moving on, we head to Insa-dong. There was a Hanbok shop inside Insa-dong information center and tried ourself these Hanboks. It was funny how you dress them on. I heard that I got the King’s outfit, so I think I can be pretty proud about it.

The “Baseball-cap” traditional Hanbok outfit. We took also big group photo with all the people wearing Hanboks, but I don’t want to post it here, because I’m not sure are all the people okay with that.

After we got rid of the outfits, we went to the main street. There was parades walking around playing live music and did some performance. Also old people were following them and waving flags around.

The atmosphere was amazing, people were so proud of their country and that how it supposed to be ! Some of the old people gave us flags so we could also wave them. While they were following these dances they either sang or yelled something and we tried to copy them. They just laughed at us, but in the good way. 🙂

We had a short brief about when and where we meet and then we were free to explore this street. This street was actually pretty new and cool looking place and big “NO SMOKING” signs. Everything around here is expensive and really often people here spoke Chinese, because there’s a lot of Chinese tourists.

There was something going in the park. Some military people were playing music and army guys walking around with M16 assault rifles (guns).

Then we went to old traditional Buckchon Hanok Village. Of course the houses were restored and upgraded to modern day requirements without affecting old traditional looks. There was signs everywhere that said no littering, keep quite etc. Because people are really living on those old houses.

In middle of all the old houses there was this modern one, I don’t actually know if it’s restored or just built.

Lovely couple sitting there for us to take pictures, IN THE COLD ! And yeah, the cold in Korea it must worse than in Finland.

We were running out of time, so we went to our last location, Changdeok palace. For more information you should google, because I don’t know much about this palace. There was actually decent amount stuff to see, but here are the highlights of the place.

 

This was our last place to visit, so we head back to Suwon by bus. It took about 1 hour to get there. It was pity that, it was so cold outside, I didn’t enjoy this trip that much, because of the cold. Maybe when it get’s warmer I’ll do this trip on my own or with smaller group of friends. Total cost of all of these including eating and everything was less than 20 000won.

That’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

Orientation pt. 2 and field trip

In the monday morning I went to Lotte mart with my friend to buy some groceries, because I heard that next day is a holiday, Korean Independence day. Weather was really cold ! I think it feels colder than Finland at the moment.

When we got to the Lotte Mart it was still closed. I find it bit weird, because in Finland all the markets open like 8am and the Lotte Mart opened at 10am. Well it was so cold outside so we went to Starbucks to get some over price green teas.

It cost 5000won and it was really strong for me or maybe I took the teabag out of the cup too late. After cup of tea we went to Lotte Mart and did our shoppings and head back to the University, but different way. We wanted to explore a shorter route, but in the end it was longer. On the way back to University we saw this pretty park in side of this new neighborhood.

Then we had orientation. Orientation was about registration, program introduction and academic infromation. After that we got to see all A.G.A. members and had campus tour and group photo. They organized 4 different trips for us and we had to participate to one of them.

The first trip was group A:

Second trip was group J:

Third group O, I participate on this trip:

Last but not least, group U:

 

Later in the evening we went to welcoming party, tickets to the party cost 20 000 won, it include 2 jugs of beer, 1 soju bottle and snacks. These kinds of parties you should go there bit earlier, because then you can eat more. Few other exchange students that came bit late, they didn’t had much to eat or drink. Not organized well and really expensive tickets.

Korean beer is really light if you don’t like beer don’t worry, this water will go down the throat pretty easily.

Food in Cheers looks really good, but it’s decent.

There was also drinking games, eating games and some other activities. After there was nothing going on in Cheers we head to Hidden Code. It’s located at the other end of the Ajou Street. It’s a small bar down stairs. A lot of smoke and really wide selection of music, trap music to old hip hop and EDM.

Next day we had a field trip. As I said earlier I took the group O. All the A.G.A. members that organized this Group O trip spoke really good english and it was the shortest trip. The weather was really cold so I didn’t want to be outside too long.

First we met at Yulgok Hall, gather all the names and then we hit the road.

I’m sorry if I look tired, shouldn’t gone to that party yesterday. But yeah, first stop was Tongjin(Tongyin) traditional market. We change our money to coins. 500won = 1 coin. This will is the faster way to shopping around this market. So you get a bunch of coins and plate where you gather your food.

There was so much different kinds of food I wanted to taste, but the market was so crowded so I just took something.

I had some pork belly, really tasty noodles, kimbap, fried dumbling, pork cutlet what was breaded and in side of it was a egg and somekind of meat in the stick that was really slimy.

To be continue…

Week is about to end

Sunday, I was chilling in my room and friend of mine hit me up with the message “Wanna go eat lunch” so we went to eat lunch at Food Mom. We ordered somekind of soup. There was egg scramble, rice cake and few dumblings. After that we went to Ajou street and did some exploring.

We went to some local market and bought something small. It was just more like a look around in the market to see what are the prices on the commonly used products.

They spray somekind of water steam on salads and vegetables to keep them moist and fresh. Look really cool IMO. Next we saw a Nutella coffee place. Kinda funny, but Nutella is pretty good.

When I got back to the dormitory, I did the laundry and went to the gym. After gym we went to eat at dormitory cafeteria. Usually weekends the dormitory cafeteria serves this kinda food. Soup with rice and some side dishes. It was okay, kinda tasteless except a burn from the chili.

It would be nice if the serve something else on weekends, because I don’t want to order takeouts to the dormitory. In Korea you can order anything to your house, KFC, McDonalds, groceries …. etc.

After done eating we went to get some tickets to next day’s orientation/welcoming party and we saw this romantic gesture. This is straight up Korean Drama stuff.

I should probably try to catch up few days into one post and not one day into one post, really time consuming. Oh well maybe next time.

Kind regards,

Tam

Continuing from previous

Next day we to Suwon station by taxi (6000-7000won from Ajou Street). There is actually free bus shuttle from Ajou University to Suwon station, but I think it wasn’t available at that time. Suwon station is a big building including train station and big shopping mall named AK Plaza.

AK Plaza is quite expensive place to do shopping, but the range of different kinds of shops is huge, high-end watches, clothes, shoes and electronics etc… Of course there is also “normal” price shops. Restaurants and coffee places are bit over priced (almost double).

When we stepped in we were blown away, all this shops look so expensive and it was really clean and new from the inside. It was something that you’ll expect to see, but it still was really cool looking place. All the staff were always ready to serve you and they tried their best to speak english.

Finnish shop !

Some weird sport shoes I saw. 😀

Football field on the roof ! First time I saw this kinda thing, it was in the movie called Tokyo Drift. Really cool idea.

We were getting hungry so we decided to look for restaurant near by AK Plaza. We saw a restaurant across the street, so we had to use this bridge to get to the other side. The view was so cool, I had to take a picture.

We went to somekind of back alley restaurant that served really weird food. That was like the first contact with real Korean traditional meal. It was waste meat and sundae and no, not the dessert, but real blood sausage. I think the restaurant never had foreign customers so everybody in the restaurant were really suprised that we end up eating there and no wonder.

That’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

Summary

I’m trying to capture all the things into few post now, because I’m starting to forget them.

After few days here, I met a lot of other exchange students, it is really interesting experience and sometimes bit challenging, reason for that is almost everyone have their own way to speak English. Also I’m trying to get use to this big campus, I think in Finland we don’t have campus this big.

First orientation was 26th of February, there we got this info package. It contains info magazine, stack of important papers, map of Suwon and few poster of up coming parties. There’s a lot of good info in the magazine, like schedule calendar, list of all exchange students, A.G.A. buddy list and more. Definitely people should read it few times. It answer most of the question you might have.

After the orientation we took group photo and University offered us really good lunch, including different kinds of salads, western dishes and Korean dishes. I didn’t had the time to take a picture of the buffet because everybody was rushing to get the food.

After the orientation I went to eat at the Food Library and paid my dormitory fee and delivered to OIA (Office of International Affairs) my insurance papers and copy of my Visa. Dormitory fee was something 800-900€ for one semester. Then my Finnish friends wanted to do some grocery shopping. One of the last year’s exchange student Denis told me that there’s a big market behind the University, called Lotte Mart. We found it without any problem, of course we did google it for a while and Denis instructions were good also.

lottemart

Here’s the Lotte Mart. It’s underground so you have to take the escalator to get there. It is every day department store, they sell clothes, fresh food, pets etc…

sushi

pet

After done grocery shopping we went out and found out this shopping/restaurant area.

designdecolights deco clock christmaslight bistro backalley

I think post is long enough, so that’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

First day in this town

After I moved in and explore the dormitory, I decided to grab something to eat. We went to food library with my friend. From the three cafeterias, I think it’s the best cafeteria in this University. I don’t know the name of this dish, but it was the best thing ever for a while. Really fatty pork meat with cabbage, soup, of course kimchi, rice, fried dumblings and some pickles. Here people drink from these small metal cups, they are stored in some kind of cupboard that is 39 celcius warm, it keeps the cups sterile.

watertomat

foodlib

After lunch we head to the main street with my friend. On the way to main street, we noticed this nice view to Ajou University’s park. Colors are quite ugly right now, but maybe I’ll post an other picture later this spring when it gets bit greener for comparison.

unipark

The main street start from Ajou University’s gate, so it’s common to see other Ajou’s students walking around the main street. I asked my roommate that, does this main street have name and answer was “No”. Kinda confusing.

street

alley

Street scene is definitely more colorful and covered with pavement. There might be few pole now and then to prevent taxi drivers drive on the sidewalk.

We also found American delicacy, KFC. It’s been on my bucket list for a while, because I never visited one.


KFC

Really cute cosmetic shop.

kawaii

That’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

From Incheon to Suwon pt.2

When we arrived to the new dormitory, I was quite impressed. It was build last year, so students has live there for two semester, so everything is clean and working. Everything is also high-tech door code and gates etc. Security cameras are also everywhere.

dormitorydorm2

First when we got through the front door, we had to fill a application for the room and set the code for the door. No physical keys or anything, only code or student card that will be given to us bit later.

The room is really warm (water heated floors), atleast mine is, I heard that few girls had colder rooms. Theses rooms also really clean and good looking IMO.

dormroom
dormroomb dormroomb2
The idea is you will live in this room with Korean student, who will try to help you adapt and survive in Korea, but I heard few stories and the roommate didn’t spoke english at all. I hope my roommate can speak english. And yes, there is an other bed, but I was too lazy to take a picture of it.

On my floor there’s no kitchen, but instead 2 common rooms, go figure.. There’s a kitchen on every second floor, 2, 4, 6, and 8. I live in 3th floor so not so lucky. I know I won’t be cooking much but still it would be nice to have a kitchen on my floor just in case I wanted to heat something up. We also have community bathrooms, showers etc. These pictures will help you to image what I go through here.

WC shower elevator changingroom bathroomcommonroom

Well atleast there’s fridge in every floor and there’s a security camera pointing at the fridge, so you can count on it, that nobody will steal your food. You have to get a sticker from the lobby and stick it to your food, so people know who it belongs and when it should be thrown away, because there’s a rule that you can store your food for like a week. After a week you should put a new sticker on it.

There’s also laundry room (1000won per use) and gym.

gym1 gym2 laundry

As you can see, there’s boys and girls washing machines. They are really strict about this gender division and the dormitory rules are ridiculous. We also have only boys elevators and only girls elevators.

Here’s the link to the dormitory rules if you are interested. http://edorm.ajou.ac.kr/edorm/guide/guide03_01.jsp

That’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

From Incheon to Suwon

Okay, so about my last post. After talking a while in skype, I decided to get something to eat before going to sleep. There was a lot of restaurants near by, but I didn’t want to go far so I just took the first restaurant that was busy. It’s usually a good sign.

It took about 15 minutes to order something to eat. Nobody spoke English and nobody understand a single word I said. Luckily the menu is in Korean and English, so that kinda helped me a bit. I decided to order something “familiar” with small price tag, end up with ham and cheese dish.
dinner

All that cost 8000 won, which is less than 6 euros. I think it’s pretty decent. I don’t know the names of the side dishes or even main dishes. I recognize the kimchi and then there’s sticky rice, fried fish?, beans in sweet sauce, nori, seaweed and the last one is a mystery.

After I was done eating, I went outside and saw this.

outside

Sun went down like in 30 minutes. But yeah, after I took this picture, I went to convenience store and bought few bottles of water and noodles just in case if I get hungry at night.

Then I went back to hotel room. Skyped for couple of hours and then went to sleep.

Woke up like 10 times during the night. I might have a small jet lag. Went to hotel breakfast, it was okay. I didn’t take any picture of it, but pretty sure there was all the necessary. Bread, cereals, hot beverages, juices, eggs, salad and few Korean warm dishes, like Bulgogi.

After breakfast I went back to my hotel room and packed all my stuff and about 8.15am reception called that the airport shuttle is ready to take me to the airport. I had to go back to the airport because the Ajou’s airport pick up services is only available from there.

There was 3 people from A.G.A. (Ajou Global Ambassadors) at the airport, they check the names and helped us to buy tickets(12 000won) for the bus to Suwon. Bus ride from Incheon to Suwon took a bit less than 1,5h. Met few other exchange students at the airport.

When we arrived to Suwon, we had to take the taxi (about 4000 won) to University. Usually the taxi drivers leaves you on the older dormitory, that’s okay if you are staying in there, but I got a place from the new dormitory. With heavy luggages walking to the new dormitory is quite challenging. Luckily I went with Denis and he knew this would happen so he gave the driver instructions to the new dormitory.

I will continue this post bit later, now I gotta go meet the others down the lobby.

Kind regards,

Tam

From Jyväskylä to Seoul

I spent the weekend at my parents. They wanted to spend couple of days with me, before leaving, so I drove to Järvenpää on Friday evening. Järvenpää is where my parents live and I used to live. I really like it even thought it’s kinda small city, but it’s close to everything I need.

Monday noon I did the check-in online to save some time on the airport. It was easy and fast. Leaving goodbyes on the other hand.. not so easy. I started to cry a lot and so did everyone else. 🙁

passport

On the finnair’s airplane they served two hot meals. First hot meal: They had two options for dinner, pasta bolognese or Korean pork and rice. Here’s the Korean Pork.

krpork

The other hot meal was kinda like english breakfast or something. I didn’t enjoy it, but I think it was mostly because I was so homesick to eat anything. When I’m feeling bit down I loose my appetite.

Breakfast

I planned to go to spa, pedicure and stuff, but I think I’ll rather stay at the hotel and skyped home. I didn’t get any sleep during the flight so I think it’s better for me to stay inside. Maybe later I’ll go grab something to eat. I feel hungry, but still can’t get anything down.

Btw, Soon there will be first Video post on this blog. I took few pictures and recorded few clips already. I just need to motivate myself to edit these together and think about what I should say on this video.

That’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam

Ps. This might be bit weird post with no logic, I was on the phone with mom while writing this.

Edit: Fixed few typos and added pictures

Last preparations

Last week all the exchange students had to pick their courses. The system didn’t work at all, it was horrible to use Ajou’s course registration website. I had to use 3 different browsers to get it done and on top of that, I didn’t get any of the courses I wanted to take. Well okay it was my own fault, I woke up one hour later than the course registration opening time, early bird gets the worm.

Courses that I had to take:

  • English conversation 2
  • English composition 1
  • Korean language 1
  • Domain analysis and software design

Total credits are 12 if I remember correctly. But credits will be doubled after I get back to JAMK because Ajou University has different credit system than JAMK.

I’ve been also packing and printing/copying all the documents just in case something happens. It’s hard to pack clothes, because I don’t know how one should dress to school in Korea. And I should start learning a bit of Korean to survive in the airport and hotel, Korean people are not famous for their english skills.

Starting to regret this whole studying abroad thing, I feel so bad for leaving loved ones here in Finland. Seeing them crying and talk about this spring without me makes me feel a bit down. Well I hope this bad feeling will pass. Anyway I’ll be gone just less than 4 months.

that’s all for now.

Kind regards,

Tam