Sorry about the long time between posts. It's hard to find time and I also wanted to wait tell I could upload my pictures as well. Life here has been pretty good. I am about to start studying for midterms, which are in a week! Ill start off with explaining my living situation. We live in a new style dorm. I have a rommate from Australia and it has gone very smoothly so far! Our room is a little bigger then the typical American dorm and we get our own porch. We also have our own bathroom and shower in our room. The best part is we get air conditioning and heated floors! Our dorm is connected underground to our main study abroad building so all my classes are very close. We also have some great resturaunts and coffee shops close by (including the best sandwich place I have ever been to!) I will give a kind of run down about my typical week. I have class 5 days a week, but on Fridays I don’t start tell 4! The other classes I start at around 11 or 12, except Thursdays I start at 9 for Taekwondo! Taekwondo has been a very cool class and a good workout at the same time. I am thinking that next semester I am going to join the international taekwondo club and improve even more. My other classes are all relatively easy. I have a class titled "Comparing East Asian Cinemas" and we typically watch movies from different Asian countries and discuss how they express the culture and relate to other Asian movies. I am also taking "East Asian Philosophies" which is pretty self-explanatory, and Pre-Modern Korean history which unfortunately is my most boring class by far, but oh well I guess. My most difficult class is easily Korean Language. I was preparing for that so it’s not such a surprise. It is every day for two hours but it goes by fast since I am paying attention the entire time. Learning another language has easily been the most difficult thing of my educational career, but I am working on it each day so hopefully it gets better. Other than class during the week I work out and actually have been playing a lot of soccer. That’s always a fun time and its usually small games like 7-7 but it can get pretty competitive. It is also an easy way to remind me how out of shape I am haha. On Tuesday nights I usually try to attend Emmaus, which is a Christian Youth group on campus. It is very interesting and something I have never done before, but I have enjoyed it so far. Since I don’t have class tell 4 on Friday we usually go out Thursday nights. A popular area of Seoul that we go to is Hongdae, which is a quick subway ride from Sinchon (where I live). Every weekend has been a different adventure, and I will kinda break down what I have done each weekend.
Sept 8-9: That weekend we stayed around Seoul and partied. I think Saturday night we went to Mansion, which is a great place. One of my friends sister works at Mansion so we can get in for free. The Koreans seem to love when foreigners come to their clubs so I usually work my way up to the front and dance on stage haha. The nightlife is definitely different then back home. First off it’s legal to drink and you can drink anywhere (including the streets). Second they party for the entire night. We usually don’t get back tell around 4-5 in the morning. I've only been to a handful of clubs back home but the clubs here are really different. Some of them are very spacious and you can dance your heart out, otherwise some are super packed and it feels like you are at a house party. It is a ton of fun though and we try to go out at least once during the week.
Sept 15-16: This was a very fun weekend because it was the weekend of the "Yonko" games. The yonko games are a competition between Yonsei University (mine) vs Korea University in 5 different sports. They are baseball, ice hockey, basketball, soccer, and rugby. We watched the baseball game (okay), the rugby game (okay) and the soccer game (not very good at all). I was pretty disappointed with the level of play, but the Yonko games are not about the actual games but the cheering and school pride. We were literally standing and cheering the entire game. They have their own cheering squad that leads different types of cheers. We even had 3 different cheering "practices" before the games so we could learn the chants and such. It was a very different experience from back home. I thought college sports had school spirit, but it was nothing compared to the Yonko games. Afterwards on Saturday the alumni hosted a party at Yonsei. They had free food, free beer, and a live concert.
This was also very fun. Oh we also watched an Australian rules football game "footie". One of my buddies is a very big supporter of one of the teams playing (Collingwood) and got us all to go and watch it with them. Footie is actually a very fun game and much more exciting to watch on tv then American football.
Sept 22-23: This weekend we went outside of the city to a small village called Namhae in the Southeastern corner of Korea. This was a ton of fun and nice to finally get out of the city. The group consisted of about 40 people around the ages of 20-30 so that was nice, but the majority of them were English teachers. I really enjoyed talking to them and hearing their experience so I can prepare myself and figure out where I want to teach English after undergrad and before I head off to grad school. We stayed in traditional Korean houses and slept on the floor (more comfortable then you would think). On Saturday we went Coastering (kinda like cliff diving) and snorkeling. That night we had a traditional Korean seafood dinner and a bonfire on the beach. The next day we went sea kayaking which was a ton of fun and a great workout. We ended up getting back to Seoul around 10 that Sunday night. It was a great trip and very nice to finally see the Korean countryside and go to the ocean.
The following week we had three days off of school for holiday. One of the days I got a full body message, which felt amazing. Another day we went to a Chuesok festival where we got to experience old Korean culture and sightsee some more. We also went to the free Psy concert (Singer of "gangnam style")which was amazing. On Saturday we went to see the fireworks which were really cool. They had four different countries do their own separate shows, so the firework show lasted about 2 hours. The best part of it though was going to the actual firework show. Everybody in Korea it seemed was trying to go so people were fighting to get on the subway and walk through the streets. We were walking through the streets to the fireworks and it felt like we were walking through a house party since there were so many people.
Oct 13-14: This past weekend we went on a trip through the international program at our school. It was only 20,000 won (about 18 us dollars) and boy was it only worth that much haha. It was very disorganized and we ended up being on the bus much longer than we thought, but it was still fun seeing a different part of Korea and getting free food.Studying abroad has been an amazing experience already and I still have 8 months left. I miss everyone back home but being here is a truly once in a lifetime experience. The coolest part about the trip is living in a different culture and meeting people from all over the world. It is fun sharing cultures and seeing what is important to other people from different nationalities. Just today I had to explain to my roommate what "homecoming" is haha. (after trying to explain it I realized how weird it probably sounds to people who have never heard of homecoming). Like last Saturday we were talking politics and it was so interesting to hear other people’s perspectives from different areas of the world. That would be the main reason why you should study abroad, to meet different people and live in a different world. The culture shock has not been too overwhelming. I am living in the second most populated city in the world, so it is very capitalistic. There are the usual fastfood areas and popular fashion sights. The biggest culture shock has been learning other cultures and also going outside to rural Korea. I am excited to get back home and share my experience with other friends of mine that are also currently studying abroad.
I think that is it for now. I will try to be more consistent with my blog posts so the week’s events are fresher in my head. If you have any questions about anything please comment on the blog or message me and we can have a conversation! Next week is midterms so I’ll be spending the week/weekend studying unfortunately :/ but after that is Halloween and we are going to a Halloween party in gangnam which should be pretty fun!
Well that’s all for now, hope to hear from you guys soon!Love,
Samuel Michael Luby