It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been at Yonsei University in South Korea for one month, but at the same time, looking back at the things that have happened to me in this first month, it actually kind of feels like a long time. I had really meant to blog about all this earlier but it has proved to be quite an adjustment from my Toronto life to this new one here in South Korea.
For the most part it has been exciting and new, even though I have been to South Korea a few times before, which helped to dilute the culture shock to some degree. However, I’ve still had a number of exciting adventures and not so exciting misadventures. Let’s start with the tough times.
In this first month alone, I nearly ran out of money, lost an expensive pair of prescription glasses, which I need to function day-to-day, purchased a smartphone, lost it in taxi and then bought another, only to find that I can’t activate it without a “foreign registration card,” which I have yet to receive. The most mind-boggling thing about all this is that I have never, ever lost a cellphone before, and I have a very good track record with glasses as of late. It was quite annoying that fate decided to wait until I was out of my element to spring these misfortunes upon me. But I digress, and it’s these things that make you tougher and more adaptable, I feel, and so far on this exchange, the good has certainly outweighed the bad.
And now the good!
South Korea is an awesome place and I love it. The food and drink are cheap, the people are friendly and attractive, the transit is always on time, and Seoul is a beautiful city to behold. So far there has been no shortage of things to do. It’s a bustling, lively place with diverse neighbourhoods that are, for the most part, quite safe and clean, and I feel pretty darn comfortable here. I’m currently staying in a dorm (more on that later) and so far the people I’ve met have been totally cool! A few of my dorm neighbours and I went on an excursion a few weeks ago and it proved rather awesome.
One of the fantastic things about the Seoul Metro is that you can take it out of Seoul to the countryside and other interesting parts of the northern province, Gyeongi-do in South Korea. For example, a few weeks ago some folks from my dorm (two Americans, a Swede, and a German friend) went to the much smaller city of Cheuncheon, which is about two hours out of Seoul on the subway! I had to play tour guide as I was the only one who had previously been there.
I’ll tell you all about it in my next post, as I have a fair bit of studying to do right now. Check back for more, with pics!