Last Saturday it was time for our buddy group’s first field trip and what seemed to start like any other ”normal” field trip, later ended in for some people, terror.
Gwanghwamun square is an historical symbolic square where the statue of King Sejong is the main focus, however, as much as I love to learn about history, the thing that caught my attention most that day was the food we got to try once we reached Gwanjang market.
Having sacrificed my breakfast for 10 more minutes in front of the mirror I was quite ready for lunch once we reached Gwangjang market, a traditional food market with all kinds of foods. We split up into smaller groups and took off to find a place to eat in the crowded area, and when we finally made it to the first restaurant, we had some Sundae (순대), and no, not the ice cream kind but something very different. It is actually Korean blood sausage and I will leave it at that.
I’m pretty sure our Korean buddies were having fun watching a bunch of foreigners react to eating all of this unfamiliar food as they munched on the same happily because after that we were taken to the second round of food, and this is where some people did not manage to hold back their horror.
Sannakji (산낙지) & Yukhoe (육회) as are seen in the pictures above are raw octupus and meat served fresh with one sauce each and enjoyed after being dipped in the sauces. The octopus was so fresh it was still moving on the plate, a very interesting experience. Although the taste was not spectacular, it did not actually taste much more than saltwater, the experience of eating something so fresh was thrilling. I’m glad there were no vegetarians present in our group, or I would have felt very uncomfortable.
That was all for this time! Thank you for reading and I will see you soon.
After two weeks packed with classes, activities with the student organisation and adventures with friends I can finally take some time to write. Truthfully there hasn’t been a day when I have spent more than 3 awake hours at home since the university started which is a big change from my life back in Sweden which would probably be the opposite. As I mentioned in a previous post, we have a student organisation named KUBA taking care of all foreign exchange and visiting students and they arrange official activities at least once a week and often smaller events such as dinners a few times a week. This is something that I first thought was special for Korea but after talking to exchange students in other universities in Seoul I was shocked to hear that they did not have anything like that they have not had possibilities to actually get to know their fellow exchange students as personally that we have gotten the chance to do. I think that Korea University is very unique in that aspect and I am very thankful that I am able to meet people from all over the world, having fun together without having to put an effort.
Last week we attended a cheering orientation in preparation for the “Koyon Games” which is a an annual series of friendship matches between the two of the most popular universities in Seoul, Korea University and Yonsei University. The games include matches in baseball, ice hockey, football, rugby and basketball. Last Friday, we gathered in one of the university’s halls to practice the cheering songs for the games and it was like nothing I had ever experienced before. What surprised me most was how all the Korean students knew the songs and cheers by heart and their energy seemed to be everlasting as they did anything they could to encourage us to dance.
We danced, sang, cheered, yelled and almost broke our necks while head-banging to the cheers and by the end of the 2 hour long event everyone’s clothes were drenched in sweat, very charming and a sign of a good ”cheering session”. We ended the evening with some incredibly spicy food as always in Korea, that I have yet to get used to.
Sadly I was too immersed in the songs to remember to snap good pictures during the actual cheering orientation, but instead you can check out my favorite cheering songs below which are from Korea University’s official cheering channel!
쉬잇~! Shush~!: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6xVTGgyiPM
꿇어라 연세여 Kneel down Yonsei: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JTlhAYvtQA
영원하라 Last forever: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2Hope8BZbI
Since I arrived quite early in Seoul I had been able to visit the campus and taken a look around more than once but even so, when the first day of orientation came my heart was beating fast and my mouth started to become dry as I walked towards the area circled out on the digital map on my phone. All were signs of anxiety and excitement, a terrible mix which together with the hot weather made me sweat and feel cold at the same time.
(Picture: Main Gate of Korea University)
Something I really was thankful for however was that Korea University has a buddy program for exchange and visiting students, which means that I had already been contacted by a Korean girl named Choi Go-Eun who made sure that I knew all the necessary times and dates for the orientation as well as asking me if I needed any other help. Even if I did not need much more help than to know exactly how to get to the building, it was a comfort to know that I had someone who was familiar with the city, school and language that could help out if I ever needed anything.
(Picture: Campus Tour, Main Hall)
After the formal introductions had been made, the groups were put in the hand of the Korean buddies who then took us on a Campus tour, helped us with email registration, as well as took us to lunch in one of the University’s cafeterias.
(Picture: Meat with Korean side dishes, banchan; Sigeumchi-Naul, Kimchi & Kkakdugi)
The second day of orientation was very peculiar. The first thing we needed to do was to sign up for a Student ID card which would also be used as a bank card. We received a big pile of papers which needed to be signed, all written in Korean. ”Sign here, date here, name here” was probably the line I heard the most that day and in the end I wasn’t even sure if I had just signed up for a Student ID card or for something completely different, oh well, we can only hope for the best.