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

12.10.05

Everyday Life

My normal day

So what is my normal day like? Well, if one were to try to envision my average day based on prior entries they would probably conjure up an arousing tale of enterprise and adventure. This however, is far from the truth. My normal day starts off at 7:30 AM, when I wake up to go to my FOUR hour long Korean class. Class lasts from 8:30 and goes until 12:30. It is a nine credit monster-course that covers reading, writing, speaking, and listening. While I have learned a great deal in this course I have also found that because I spend so much time in a classroom speaking Korean, I no longer want to practice my Korean after leaving class. How ironic.

In the beginning of the year I also ventured to take three additional courses. They were Political Economy of East Asia, Introduction to Society and Literature, and Introduction to Women’s Studies in East Asia. After discovering the sheer about of work and energy my Korean class required I decided to drop Political Economy of East Asia. My remaining two classes were ICU classes, meaning they are internet cyber university classes. I was not very keen on this in the beginning of the year because I felt as though I really wanted to be in a classroom with native Korean students. However, I then found this to be a very simplistic view….considering that I don’t really talk with them during class and that I am surrounded by Korean students and citizens for 80% of my day anyway. What eventually ended up happening was that my Society and Literature course had readings that I was unable to obtain. They were ‘located’ in the library or some other ‘ambiguous’ book stores. The last thing I need to do is to spend just as much time pursuing the resources as I do studying them. Thus, I decided to drop that course as well. I am very content, and occupied, with my two courses right now. Of course I would like to take more credits, however I do not think this is something I can seriously do if I want to learn the Korean language as best I can.

In order to fill some of the gaps in my schedule I have started a study group that I meet with once or twice a week to discuss topics from my Women’s Studies class. More importantly, I have made two very good friends from there as well, so my concerns over internet courses have proven to be unfounded. Additionally, some international students and I have also formed a school rock band and practice twice a week. Our singer is from Finland, our drummer from the Netherlands, and the bassist is American. I really enjoy playing with them, and feel that I will improve my lead guitar skills greatly in order to play at their level. Finally, I am advertising for mathematics and English conversation tutoring soon. I also meet with a language exchange partner once a week who helps me with my spoken and grammatical Korean. Finally, I am attempting to start my own tutoring services in mathematics and English conversation. I expect to start tutoring within a week or two.

In addition to all of the school activities listed above, I still have to deal with navigating everyday life. When people ask me what it is like to live in Korea the best answer I can give is “Energy consuming.” Doing absolutely anything requires a great deal of energy and focus. Whether it is buying food or finding a bathroom at a women’s university. There have been several occasions when taxi cab drivers try to rip me off by charging me extra and not expecting me to realize….or I have been given the wrong directions by some local people [And let me tell you how bad it sucks to get lost in a traditional village where many signs are in Chinese characters]. Despite all of that I still love to travel around the city, and also the country. I am planning to visit Pusan and the DMZ soon, and am starting to consider visiting either Tokyo or Bangkok. One day soon I will have to sit down and really start to plan…but for now, I just have my homework to worry about…which brings me back to my original reason for posting:

…so after class I generally go to eat in the cafeteria with some international and Ewha students. I usually get Dolsotbap, which is rice served in a scalding hot bowl, topped with vegetables and meat or fish eggs and of course spicy red sauce. After eating, if I don’t have any club or school activities to go to, I head to the international student’s lounge on the seventh floor of the IEI (international education institute) building. This is generally where I nap on a couch or do some class readings. Afterwards, we usually go out for dinner in the city. I think it is safe to say that I have to eat out for dinner about 95% of the time. I believe there are two driving forces behind this: 1) I love to go out and try new places and new foods (plus it’s cheap) and 2) I HATE climbing up the hill to my dorm to eat in the cafeteria. After eating I generally return to the dorm and do my homework…which takes quite some time…and then to bed, thus completing a normal day.




Sitting in Korean Class. From left to right: Rick (Oregon), Matti (Finland), Lauri (Finland), Ceci (Hong Kong).


Dolsotbap, my favorite dish at the cafeteria costs W2400. This is about $2.30 USD. So good.


Hanging out in the international lounge. Christina snapping some photos and Nico talking on Skype.


Going out for dinner in Sincheon.

And here are some random pictures from around campus:


Student Union Building...empty because this was taken before school started.


Student Union Building, as usual.


One of the Adminstrative Buildings on campus.


Centennial Library. One of the largest in Korea. Fives stories high and comparable to Alexander Library at Rutgers.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you're involved in a lot more extra-curricular activities than me, and you are in a foreign land! shame on me. =P

11:57 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post. :)

3:31 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you should get some of the korean students to teach you how to cook korean food :p

6:40 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You need to mail me back a woman.

11:35 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your being Korea alone is adventurous. You seem to be very involved too. That's really great!
I like your this entry the best. Now we get to know what's your life is like besides traveling and parties.

10:46 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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5:04 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Super color scheme, I like it! Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing this wonderful site with us.
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4:59 pm

 

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