Awesome Korean Adventures

Living and engineering like never before

Monthly Archives: October 2016

Midterm is Coming

The midterm week is finally here. Because of that, normal classes are cancelled and everyone is getting ready for their exams. Lauri will be going to Hong Kong which means that I’ll be pretty much on my own here for this weekend. That’s fine, because I need some time after my last exam and I still have another one to do and an essay to finish. Many courses only have a final exam so my midterm is not too bad.

As for me, I already finished two of my three exams at the beginning of the midterms. The Korean language exam was easier than taking eyeliner from a Korean guy. It literally took less than 15 minutes to finish the exam and the teacher was actually helping us to do it. Quite frankly, understanding the teacher’s spoken Korean is far more difficult than any exam she could throw at us. On the other hand, however, I had Business Statistics and Data Analysis and Stuff -exam. For some godforsaken reason, we had to do the exam in an auditorium where the desk was smaller than the 10 page paper we used for the exam. On top of that, I also needed a cheat sheet with all the formulas and a calculator, so doing the exam was almost as uncomfortable as the chairs we sat on.

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Realizing that it’s getting colder on the weekend, I decided to go shopping for clothes. Instead, I ended up buying everything but that. First, I went to Lotte Mart again since there was some kind of festival with flowers and other stuff. I’ve noticed that there is always some kind of event going on somewhere, and I’m not sure the Koreans themselves know what it’s about. Anyway, I bought all sorts of random things, and went to Lotte outlets afterwards. There was one huge floor of men’s clothes. Although the prices were extremely low, there was not a lot of variety. Also, each little shop had some guy standing around waiting for customers so I wasn’t able to just look around. What’s more, they only spoke Korean, even though I’m the whitest guy in town.

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Right now, I’m chilling on my own at the dormitory. Since Lauri went to Hong Kong and I have time, I’ve been practicing my rhythm game skills and somehow I ended up also studying Chinese. It’s surprisingly easy compared to Korean or Japanese in terms of grammar. The tones, however, are not for the uninitiated. Although being on my own makes many things easier, I also like having Lauri here. I must’ve grown used to having him around. Normally, we would talk every day and play badminton or go to the gym quite often as well. I haven’t seen Jasmine either but she promised to make me Chinese food tomorrow. I can’t wait for that. Certainly, I should brush up on my babocheoreom way of using chopsticks.

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Just Korean Things

The most well-known attraction here in Suwon, is the Hwaseong Fortress. My family was visiting here for the week so we decided to go there together. We all wanted to see the #1 sight-seeing attraction. Apparently, there was some culture festival going on so the streets were filled with people, mostly Koreans. Nevertheless, we regrouped in Suwon and marched through the busy streets heading towards the fortress.

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First, we were directed to the Hwaseong Haenggung palace by the information desk lady. It was very similar to the Gyeongbokgung palace I went to earlier in the semester, because it was built during the same era. For a short while, we spectated some kind of horse riding show, where the riders performed tricks while riding, like hitting target dummies with weapons and other crazy things. One of the guys accidentally kicked down a pole that was marking the border of the area and someone had to hold it in place with his hands. Another guy was standing on his head on the horse while kicking the air at the same time.

The fortress itself was a short walk away from the cultural festival area. But first, we had to climb a million stairs to get on the hill. Any enemy trying to attack the fortress would have likely given up halfway through, we all thought. Once we eventually got up, we walked around and reached some kind of temple area. Looking around, I realized how high up we were. On all sides of the plateau, one could see the whole city of Suwon, as well as the mountains of Korea in the distant horizon. It makes a single person feel hardly significant.

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On another day, we decided to go and check out the war memorial located in Seoul. On the way there, we walked past a bunch of statues portraying the Korean war forces. Clearly, a lot of effort was put into this whole thing. In front of the main building was a huge front yard and in a circle shape stood the flags of all the nations that helped South Korea in the Korean war. Even Sweden had a flag there, even though they only sent 200 medics to help the war effort. We really should have considered sending at least 201 of us.

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Inside of the memorial building was a museum of sorts displaying all the weaponry used during that time, and describing the events from the beginning of the war to the end of it. The museum extended over 3 floors. They had a separate section for everything from guns and vehicles to information about war records each filled with all sorts of artefacts. There was also an area dedicated to the UN forces who were portrayed as heroes and saviours of the people. They used mannequins dressed in military gear combined with screens that showed bullets flying to demonstrate what it looked like in battle. It was a very unique way of doing it, and the whole atmosphere there was just that. Really makes one wonder why we don’t have something similar in Finland.

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Back to School

Believe it or not, I have been studying in Korea as well, hence the title exchange student. Like every other exchange student here, I ended up switching up a lot of the courses I had picked earlier. Not only that, but somehow I ended up with more credits than before. Getting credits here is a cakewalk compared to Finland anyway. Unfortunately, I had to drop some of the more academic courses due to them overlapping each other. That said, I’m happy with my selection of courses overall, because all of the professors on my courses are really funny and more or less knowledgeable. I think JAMK could use a change of teachers as well. Just keep Pasi.

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My one and only computer-related course, Distributed System Design, is taught by a Finnish professor. Thus, torilla tavataan. In this course, we have both theoretical classes as well as labs where we complete programming tasks using the Java programming language. I have only used C++ and C# before so the switch to Java was very sudden, especially since the course is for third year students. Still, I can handle it. Programming tasks used to be too easy anyway, and I’m not almost falling asleep in class like on Käyttöliittymä ja käytettävyys -course.

Ever wanted to know what it feels like to sit in a class having no idea what the teacher is saying? Welcome to Korean Language 2, the course where the only thing that the teacher can say in English is niceu. She also calls me Samuel Markusy. I honestly have no idea what she is saying most of the time because she speaks so fast and with a dialect. At least the grammar seems very basic. After glancing through the book, I didn’t find any grammatical principles that I didn’t already know, only some words. Although, if I was a complete beginner I wouldn’t learn much in the class, which sucks for those who are.

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I also play tenisy now. The course is completely in Korean so I just copy what the Koreans do while acting like I understand what the professor is saying. That said, I did understand when he said we had to buy our own racketsy. My Korean friend, Jay, also said that the professor thought I was very good. Although my technique is garbage compared to everyone else, I can hit the ball well enough and it works. We haven’t actually played any tennis yet, but it’s still pretty fun just training the techniques.

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