A turtle travels only when it sticks its neck out ~Korean Proverb


Picture Site

Because of the time and effort it takes to post pictures on my blog I have decided to create a picture site. I have not put any commentary with the pictures yet, but there are hundreds of photographs from temples, traditional villages, Yonsei/Koryo street parties, and other places. Please check it out -> Seweoul Picture Site


The Dorm

Welcome to the Heart of Conservative Korea: The Ewha Woman's University Dormitory

Hanwoori Hall

Above is a picture of my dorm from my balcony. What I've failed to show you is that off to the left a bit is the city of Seoul...hundreds of feet below.

Here is a picture of my dorm hall. The building is in the shape of a slightly bending H. All of the international students live in the lower left leg, the Soseul residents (graduate students) live in the upper left part, and ewha girls live in both the upper and lower right side.

Here is a picture of the entrance to my room. I should note that the lower area in the foreground is for shoes. You should note how this picture symbolizes my fitting in with Korean culture.

Thank goodness they had the foresight to provide foreign students with adequatly sized bathroom shoes.

So here is a sign on the door that connects the Ewha woman's dorm to the International House. This is the most straightforward and comprensible sign in all of Seoul.

The traditional tea room on my floor...

...complete with a large LCD screen and surround sound.

Of course, in a women's school that focuses on equal rights, men are not allowed to use the elevators. Our elevators are right next to the elevators for coloured people (or folk as they are called back home).

Even basic necessities of men's lives have been taken and stripped from them...These women have german aggression...


Night Life

I will now feebly attempt to describe the night life that is Seoul, Korea. I begin writing this as I prepare for an all out party at Seoul Hilton. So far, in five days we have had two major parties with some bar stops in between. The first party, at Vivaldi Park has been covered in an earlier post…so I will now describe some of the streets of Seoul, the bars, restaurants, and clubs around the campus and Sincheon area. Right outside of Ewha is a huge shopping district made up of a couple of roads. One actually leads right up to the main gate of the campus. As you might have guessed, they sell primarily shoes and women’s clothes…although there are some very nice men’s accessory stores. The open air markets and street vendors are extremely cheap, especially after you haggle down a price. The department stores are in line with what you might expect at an upscale mall in the US. You can haggle at some of these departments stores, but most times it is considered offensive if you try. Here are some pictures of the immediate shopping area (I will take more later, since these are pretty unexciting):

First is a picture from the Edae (short for Ewha Daehakkyo) subway station. The next picture is of the shopping street right outside Ewha campus...which leads to the main gate.

Here is a picture of the more rural part of Seoul. As you can see, the buildings are all very low and tightly packed. The more impressive part of the city is to the right of the picture…however, I rarely go there anyway so this gives a good idea of my local surroundings.

We now more down to the Sincheon area. Several of the guys in my program could not get housing on Ewha campus and are living in a boarding house here. If you ignore the fact that a huge part of Sincheon is a red light district, this place has a very cool vibe. Above is a picture of the major road running through Sincheon at night.

Of course, no trip to Sincheon is complete without first visit the Red Light District. Ironically, these pictures take on a literal interpretation of such an area. The first is from an alley in the sex district (sorry about the blurriness), and the second is of Angie (my good friend from Rutgers) standing in front of a love motel.

Before I move onto the clubs and bars…here I am: the King of all that is tall, white, and misunderstood in the heart of Sincheon.

My German friends, who are fantastic drinkers, brought us to this German-style bar near their place in Sincheon. They said the beer was cheaper, and it actually ended up being a very good place to relax for a little. The name Seoul, in English, translates to ‘walk until you’re dehydrated and irritable’.

Now to the club pictures. This particular bar-turned-club was called Fusion, and it was directly outside of the campus. It was on the 7th floor of a building and had mostly glass walls so you could see the city. This party was called the opening year party for international students and buddies. The school paid to rent out the entire bar/club for the night. Everyone in the following pictures is either an international student or a PEACE buddy (descriptions are left to right, top to bottom):

Sun Joo/me, friend/me, Soo min/me, Buddy/Hiroki/Me

Some ladies/me, Masashi/Mari/Me, Me/Mari/friend, Olivia/me

At the Noraebang (Karaoke): Nico/Angie/Me, Frederik/Christopher/Mark/Mari, Jan/Me, Friend/Nico/Frederik

Coming up (so I remember):

Pictures of shopping districts, my room, Ewha campus, and funny signs/shirts.

Visit to Techno Mart and immigration office.



So upon arriving at the airport, I was graciously picked up by my Ewha PEACE buddy (their official names). Her name is Sora Choi, and she is totally rock.

We waited a bit for some other students to arrive from Hong Kong and Mexico, and then took a bus from Incheon to Seoul. The bus ride was about an hour long, and the taxi which we took to the dorm was very nice inside. Just to set this down in black and white: my dorm, Hanwoori House, is on top of a mountain. I exaggerated, but it is much higher than a hill (maybe 700 feet up). That night we went out to eat with the buddies at a local Korean restaurant which was really good. Additionally, and I know my mother would be proud, it was extremely cheap. The total, for the eight of us, came to 30 dollars. Needless to say, I covered the entire bill in a show of gratitude to the buddies. Note: there is no tipping in Korea. I then returned back to the main gate of Ewha. This gate, which opens up to a huge shopping district is at the bottom of the hilltain (my new word) so we walked for about 30 minutes and by the top we had not only burned off hundreds of calories, but also managed to sweat ourselves to dehydration. I called it an early night in disgust at the fact that my internet was not working and looked forward the next day to orientation.

Orientation began with an abbreviated tour of the campus from my lovely buddy Sora and then shortly after we were herded onto buses to head out to Vivaldi Park. During the drip we passed through the rural Kwangju province which is very lovely. It looks like all the misty mountains you see in traditional style Chinese movies. I couldn’t get a good picture to do them justice, but I did manage a photo from the bus of a small village in Kwangju.

We then arrived at Vivaldi Park Resort and started the international student/buddy orientation.

First, we sat through about an hour of technical information regarding classes and housing. Then, the fun began. Unfortunately, I had decided to put my bag in my room for safe keeping during orientation so I could not take any pictures with my camera. I will try to describe the ensuing chaos here:

First we broke into four teams and sat in lines. The girls then had to choose “the most handsome man in the group” to be the team captain. I use quotations to express some doubt as to what kind of male captains they were supposed to choose. I say this because one of the really good-looking German guys was in my group and he didn’t get picked. Anyway, the captains were then forced to go up on stage in this huge conference room and dance. What I did looked more like a seizure, but it got the girls laughing, so that was good. It was very embarrassing at first because everyone there is at least mediocre at dancing, but after some time I just found that they enjoyed my attempt. Then we started to play games. We played a game where we had to walk around while music played and when it stopped they would call numbers and we’d have to pile into corresponding groups. The people who couldn’t form groups of the right numbers were out. This was pretty chaotic because there were about 280 girls and 20 guys in the room. We then played other games which got increasingly more embarrassing for the team captains…like charades that were rigged so that I had to start crawling around on stage and clawing at people to get them to guess grizzly bear. Another game we played, which very well describes Korean society was called “Guess who drank the soju.” I found this to be very surprising since all the teachers were there and this was paid for by the school. Basically, ten people from each team went on stage and there were ten cups. Only one had soju. So for example, when the ten people from blue team (my team) went up and drank, all the other teams had to try and guess who drank the soju. Of course, I HAD to go according to the rules the buddies had made because I was a guy and also the captain. Luckily, my cup had water, but my friend Hiroki was not so fortunate! Apparently he had tasted soju before so he could disguise the fact that he drank soju…thus the other teams guessed wrong and received no points. After several games, and tallying up the points, Blue team won. Of course, the captain had to go up on stage to receive the reward of chips and junk food. The almost made me dance and sing again, but I jumped off the stage and threw the bags of food into the crowd.

After the buddy-prepared game night we went back to our Korean style room. I was with a bunch of German guys, so of course they decided to go buy TONS of soju and beer and throw a party. We all went down to the local market and bought soju and beer, which is interestingly cheaper than bottled water (1000 won, or about a dollar). I tried the soju and found it to be a mix between rubbing alcohol and turpentine.

Now, every guide book I had read prior to Korea had made bold mention of the fact that drinking is part of Korean life. I found this to be undeniably TRUE. At first our room of men went back to the public lounge and started to drink…it took about 15 to 20 seconds for about 20 of the Korean peace buddies and other Japanese people to come out and teach us drinking games. My research shows that although Korean women love to drink, they cannot drink very much without completely losing their wits. After some time, a hotel manager came up and told us we couldn’t hang out in the lounge…so of course the only next logical movement was to our room. I had a great time without getting drunk (see kids, drinking is unnecessary). The Japanese and Korean girls were lots of fun and we hung out, took pictures, and practiced Japanese and Korean with each other. I think a huge reason all the girls came to our room was because of the Swedish, Finnish, and German guys who are very attractive. One actually models for Pepsi in Asia. On a down note, we got a warning from the hotel and the dean of Ewha international department came up to scold us all for disturbing other rooms. The following pictures sum up the party that went from 11 until 4 in our room:

Some girl and my friend Hiroki

Buddy Hyo Jin and another friend on the right.

Hyo Jin and I!

The crazy Su Min next to some of my roommates (the only other white guys at Ewha).

Some girl, japanese friend, me, model guy from Sweden, Angie.
As you can see, I'm terrible with names.

The next morning...I'm very friendly with most of these guys now. The shirtless guy is Nico from Holland.

Fact: Although Koreans like to think they are super trendy and materialistic...the only drive shitty Hyundais or Kias...and they only buy them in black, white, or some gradient combination thereof.

The lovely Rutgers Folks before leaving...

Christina and I

Olivia and Angie

Some stuff from the ride home: