Many apologies for the sparse posts! Getting used to how things are over here has been quite a bit of a challenge, since I’ve only once taken a full course load at U of T prior to coming to South Korea and doing the same.
I promise more updates from now on!
Fall is here and so is the cold weather! I feel as though I’m quite lucky to be from Toronto, as many of my Californian and Southeast Asian classmates are shivering in their boots.
Midterms here at Yonsei were quite interesting and rather different from what I’m used to at University of Toronto. I realize that I haven’t actually explained my classes at all in this blog as yet, and since a major part of studying abroad is the studying (duh), I feel as though I should. Being an East Asian Studies specialist, most of my courses are — you guessed it — centred around the country I’m studying in, which of course is South Korea.
So, without further ado, my classes are as follows:
1. Contemporary Korean Cinema and Society
2. Topics in Korean Language and Culture
3. Introduction to Korean Music
4. Communication Media in Korea
5. Beginner’s Korean level 2
The midterm for Contemporary Korean Cinema and Society, structurally my most unconventional class, was to conduct an interview on any familiar space and present it in any visual medium of my choice, whether writing, film, photography or even other stuff. I’ve decided to do a montage of scenes on Korea as a space, which I must upload this evening and will embed in this blog when I do so, for all of you to see! The midterm for Topics in Korean Language and Culture is to choose a historic site in Seoul, visit it and write a research paper about it. The best part is it’s not due until finals! Introduction to Korean Music was rather conventional and consisted of a series of questions and answers based on various topics of study, such as names of musical instruments and styles. Communication Media in Korea was also rather conventional and involved writing a comprehensive retrospective of presidents and press history from the Korean War until 1992. Somewhat tedious after having studied Korean presidents in two separate courses at U of T, but not too bad, all in all.
The most taxing midterm would have to be that of the Korean Language Institute, which consisted of three separate tests over four days that covered writing, speaking, listening and reading. Here at Yonsei, if you opt to take the Korean language course (as I have), you must attend it EVERY DAY. It takes a lot of energy and sadly does not leave a lot of time for study. It’s rather difficult for me, as I’m much more used to learning language twice or three times a week and taking time to study on my own instead of being forced to attend classes every single day that move (for me anyway) at breakneck speed. As a result of dividing my attention between midterms, I’m currently behind on my language lessons (sigh).
But enough of that boring stuff . . . You want to hear about adventures, right?!
Well, as I mentioned in a previous post, early on in my exchange, being the only person who’s been here before of the friends I’ve made at my dorm, I decided to take some of them on an excursion from Seoul to the much smaller city of Cheuncheon, where we were treated to fantastic rural vistas.
We arrived in Cheuncheon via the Seoul subway(!) and took a bus straight from the subway to a river, where we took a boat to a mountain. Once there we climbed the mountain and saw a quaint but elegant temple. Behind the temple was a rather treacherous hiking trail, which we climbed to get a great view of the landscape. On the way down from the mountain we ate at a restaurant where we sat on a platform suspended over a small waterfall. It was a great experience, very cheap, and can easily be planned for a day trip out of Seoul!