I left off my last blog at why everyone should study abroad, but didn’t exactly go into full details what it was like in Korea. If you haven’t been there yet, Korea is a phenomenal place to live and better yet, I lived there for four months so I pretty much seen and been to many of the places that people always wonder about.
For instance, the most common questions I’ve been asked is “Does Gangnam have a lot of plastic surgery clinics?” “Did you see any Kpop idols?” “Did you eat a lot of Korean food?” or “Are Koreans mean?” Most of these are true. There were a lot of plastic surgery clinics in Gangnam, I did see a lot of Kpop Idols including B2st, Sistar, and EXO, I did eat a lot of Korean food, and no! Koreans are super nice, like all of them.
Living in Korea was probably the best time of my life. However, when I first arrived there, it was the hardest time of my life. Speaking Korean was almost a necessity because most people in Korea don’t speak English. If I was to give a statistical estimate, maybe 80% of the people there don’t speak English. So yeah, it was hard for me to communicate to them. I did survive by knowing how to say the numbers, hi, bye, how much, excuse me, and other phrases in Korean. Also, having friends who knew a lot of Korean really helped.
On top of that, Korea was pretty much a city life. Everywhere you went in Korea, it was alive. Surrounded by tall buildings, Karaoke rooms (노래방), PC rooms (PC 방 ), restaurants that were nearly opened 24/7, thousands of taxi drivers, and convenient stores. That was all I saw when I was walking around either in the morning or at night. That was the life. I loved it. I love how I could be up late at night and people were active and friendly. One time we were in Gangnam trying to get to Everland and a random Korean guy who spoke English very well helped us get there. Saved us plenty of time.
An important attribute of Korea that I would like to point out is that it is really hilly. By that I mean you are surrounded by nearly tons of mountains meaning that at one point, you will eventually have to climb the steepest hill of your life. Of course that means that you can’t leave Korea without climbing a mountain, which in this case we climbed Mount Bukhansan.
We got everywhere in Seoul by subway which was the most convenient type of transportation I have ever used in my life. It was clean, cheap, and allowed us access to almost everywhere we wanted to go. I lived in the district Anam which wasn’t as busy as other districts such as Gangnam, Hongdae, or Myeongdong, so I always had to use the subway. However, if you are ever in Seoul, be aware of the traffic to Gangnam because the subway will be jam pack making it very discomforting.
On top of that, I loved Korea University. In Korea, there are three universities that every student wants to go to. They are Seoul National, Korea, and Yonsei University which many Koreans would refer to as SKY. Being in a SKY University is really important to them because it resembles intelligence. With that being said, the students there were really nice. The students were really appreciative of foreign students and even the professor loved us. Our professor loved us so much that she treated us out for lunch at our favorite Korean restaurant down the block from where I lived.
As I said at the beginning of this blog, Korea is a phenomenal country and someday I would love to return and relive some of the things that I did in those four months. Also, if you would like to see more of my Korean experiences, click Korea Vlogs at the top of this page or click here.