TOTALLY SEOUL’D: STUDYING IN KOREA…

soooo! its the start of a new month [halfway through 2012 ALREADY! noo…means i turn another yr older in 6 mthsT___T] so i can finally refresh my maxed out flickr accounts [thanks USA trip] and update photos for yall.

 

iv been in korea for about 2 weeks now; and to be honest i kind of completely freaked out my first week here – iv barely used korean this yr prior to this trip, so it was a mix of being scared to talk/getting RE-used to listening and conversing with korean/settling in to living in a foreign country…plus a lot of my friends here work so i was wandering around like a lil loner, hahaha…

 

from my place in 신촌/sinchon it takes me about 30-40 minutes to walk to the korean language institute/한국어 학당, which is kind of situated at the back end of yonsei university – which, is GIGANTIC. maybe about 4-5x the size of melbourne university back home. so…i havent really bothered to venture into the main campus yet, but i should sometime…

 

…so at least this means i walk huge amounts every day, which is a stark contrast from my couch potato/need-to-drive-everywhere ass back home, which is awesome! YES i can lose weight incidentally:D:D not to mention the textbooks i lug everyday to and from uni are super heavy…so i get incidental resistance exercise as well=P

 

after my initial placement test in first week [which, was SO hard!! whole comprehension test in entirely korean, and then a short interview with the assessor where she asked you questions in korean – and mind you, being super rusty meant i had major mental blanks the whole time >_<], i ended up landing in level 2B.

 

the B course at yonsei being structured for people whose native tongues are not like korean e.g european languages, english; the A course being for languages similar to korean e.g japanese, chinese  – so of course you can expect at initial orientation how GLOBAL the turnout was! the introduction was done in english, korean, japanese and mandarin…

the course so far is not too challenging – i already know a lot of the content, the main problem for ME being that learning everything entirely in korean is challenging to understand, but its seriously an awesome experience, especially since my class is so global and everyone is here for different reasons to learn korean. seriously sick. i can see how one semester here is simply not enough and the potential to learn SO much more is great – so hopefully if time, money, and career willing, i will be able to come back and study for a few more semesters – i already do not want to leave!

[to clarify, i dont think im particularly korean-obsessed [there are plenty of things i dont like about the culture here, offsetting the things that i do]; moreso the fact i already know korean gives me a foot in the door to coming closer to becoming multilingual – whereas my chinese is fail right now so that will have to wait, ahaha.]

 

so all in all, loving it here – food is super tasty and cheap, there is everything i need abt a 10 minute walk away [thanks to the awesome location of my place], nightlife is great, and i love meeting new people. so awesome!

 

some things i have noticed so far in korea:

  • they have Big Issue magazines here. HAHA! its so similar to back home…
  • phones are damn hard to get here if you dont have an alien card/are really foreign….took me ages to get one!!
  •  its kind of socially unacceptable for girls to reveal their shoulders here; however they can show as much leg as you want! so majority of girls [younger especially] walk around in tiny shorts or skirts but nearly always wear tshirts or something else that covers their upper half. if you dont you get stared at, haha.
  • they have enclosed smoking rooms in cafes. roofl.
  • i knew this already; but they tend to have one type of shop in one area  – i.e shops that sell the exact same food/item will all be clumped all together rather than spread out in diff areas; i wonder how they make money when theres so much competition but i suppose the local mentality assumes that this means the shop will keep up their competitiveness to be the best. or something like that.
  • my friend who i live with told me we have to put all wastepaper from the toilet into the bin rather than the actual toilet bowl – apparently pipes here are too narrow and get blocked up because theyr not designed to tolerate so much paper hahaha
  • korean guys here on average are a lot taller than…average asian guys. unless they all wear shoe lifts, iv seen numerous that are 180+ …more frequently than melb, anyway.
  •  koreans really love to drink – i was taken to a conversational english class for koreans by one of my friends; they were surprised when i said i dont drink all the time and when they talked abt what they wanted to do on a weekend trip the unanimous answer was “DRINKING” rooofl. its a huge part of the culture here…
  • similarly, alcohol and cigarettes are so cheap here that nearly everyone does it! 0__O
  • fruit and cereal are ridiculously expensive here. it cost me 6-7 dollars to buy 5-6 apples….ugh.
  • many food places are 24 hours, especially cafes – which i love! because you can totally chill in a cafe somewhere for as long as you want…at any time of the day.
  • the wedding culture here is pretty impersonal, and very unncessarily expensive for the bride and groom. one of my friends is preparing to get married and she told me all the lil details – i was quite shocked!
  • korean fashion is interesting – the 2 extremes for girls seem to be SUPER dressed up in high heels and floaty dresses even if theyr just going to a coffee shop; or they go everywhere in shorts and runners. or skirts and runners. eh.
  • there are a billion festivals and concerts all the time – iv been constantly trying to organise people to come to them with me because there are so many that i want to go to!

 

enjoy the photos below of my first 2 weeks here:) going to try out a foreigner taekwondo dojang near my place tonight, and the R16 bboy competition is up this weekend which i can FINALLY attend! super exciting!

follow me on instagram for regular updates @beckiiness!!:)

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cool painting thing at the airport when i was looking for my bus…


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first meal…숯불닭갈비/ a type of chicken bbq….


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first 밭빙수!! at beansbin…these iced froyo desserts are super popular here in the summer.


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at daiso. only in korea would this be useful hahaha…


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찐빵/red bean bun. just because.


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after getting lost on a free day i finally found my building!!


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here everyday for the next few months.


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view from the bridge near yonsei.


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did badly on the placement test [so i felt] so i had a 과일빙수 all to myself hahaha….at iceberry.


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spicy grilled dumpling from hyundae…goood.


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the front gate of yonsei across the road. huuuge campus!


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visiting wedding halls with my friend – one of the venue’s dining halls for the guests.


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the traditional part of the wedding…


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one wedding hall. its like a runway!


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and again….


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another wedding hall…


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the buffet for the guests – so impersonal, they are allowed to start eating before and during the ceremony itself so if they dont want to watch the wedding live they can do so whilst eating via a tv screen. and when the bride and groom come in, nobody cares…..-____-


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찜닭. my favourite!!!


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sinsa area…on the way to church.


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the front of hongik university.


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an all you can eat self serve bbq place in hongdae. it was good!


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mmm foooood….


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streets of hongdae…


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trying out a new 빙수 place….place yo!


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red bean and yoghurt desserts…sooo goood!!


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상상마당/sang sang ma dang, a kind of artsy/innovative building.
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they had a marvel paper toy display….super cool!!


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and more…


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front window.


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other front window.


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dinner with my housemate bene at a 떡찜 place…


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waiting…


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치즈호박해물떡찜/ cheese pumpkin seafood ricecake stew…soo gooood….and SO SPICY><


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walking to uni…


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반찬…


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김치돌솥비빔밥/kimchi stonepot rice…so weird they served it separately from the rice. so good.


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김치파전/kimchi spring onion pancake:)


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hahaha hilarious in sinchon station..동빵 is literally poo bread. HAHAHA love it.


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poo flavours…


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poo glorious poo…


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my lil own redbean poo.


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in dongdaemoon…a 떡용햇바…which is kind of like a rice cake wrapped in fried fish paste with chilli sauce…nomm.


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lunching again with classmates…ate a 김치알밥/kimchi fish roe rice.


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dope graffiti on a tunnel on the way to uni…


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and mooore!


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lunching with classmates…닭갈비! cant explain…like a pan fried chicken thing with veg + can add rice + cheese and ricecakes etc…


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nomz.


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호밀밭…a bingsu place that ALWAYS has a line outside it! so we lined up to find out how good it is…


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밀크빙수/milk bingsu…goood!


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녹차빙수/green tea + redbean bingsu….yuuuum. the ice was sooo fine it was like powder almost!


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all you can eat and drink margharita night at on the border.


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benes dish.

 

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frozen margharitas!


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and more graffiti.


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and more.


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and more! love this one.


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they reaaallly love couple things here in korea…soo many couple tshirts…


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some of my buys in myeongdong…cant be bothered explaining because theyr not that interesting…


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friday night dinner with classmates at a 삼겹살/pork bbq place owned by dj doc and someone???


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yess.


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omg so good. roasted sweet chilli chicken but i cant remember the name of the place=[


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megabox theatres in sinchon to watch SPIDERMAN!!! it was awesome!!!


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반반 original/caramel popcorn and mango-ade:)


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jubilee english speaking church in sinsa…not bad! kind of like the vine church in hong kong…


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outside jubilee.


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bene holding a 버블호떡/bubble cinnamon bread snack thing…yuum.


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부대찌개 time…


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mm blurry.

 

 

thats all for now…time to do some homework:)

instagram me!:D

 

 

– beckii xo

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