During our stay in Pohang, we visited a model home. These model homes are depictions of what the inside of the tall buildings that tower over Korea. Going into these model apartments gave me a good view of how most Koreans live today and how they utilize a small amount of space to make it a home. In America, there is a lot of land so many houses can be built wide or tall but the ordinary American home has a yard and is built for a family to have different bedrooms and other rooms. In Korea, it was the same inside but more compact and less spread out. It was innovative in that the kitchen had technology built into it and the rooms were very cool but I felt that it would be more like staying in a very expensive hotel rather than a home. Personally I don't think I would want to have a family and come home to that apartment every night when I know the options in America are much bigger than the house options in Korea. It seems that according to these apartments, many Korean households only have 1 or 2 kids. This is very interesting because like China I think Korea would like to keep the number of kids to 1 or 2 not for population control but for efficiency and living is easier with less. When I would have a conversation with other people in Korea and they asked about siblings and I said there was 4 of us, they would all gasp and say wow! How did your parents do that? So I know it is a shock to many Koreans who live in more city and urban areas of Korea.
We went to a place in Pohang that modeled what the 1970's and 80's looked like in Korea. Although it was a short walk through, I was able to see at a glance what it was like for my parents to live in South Korea at the time. They left to the States in '92. Seeing an old model then showing my parents and asking them if it's true was an experience I remember very well because I don't get to visually appreciate how my parents grew up and what kinds of activities were available for them. It was very fun touring this area and walking through different scenes of Korea during that time. Not only do I feel like I learned more about Korea by seeing an example of that time but also being able to relate it to my parents and talking with them allowed a window for our relationship where they can interject and tell me stories of their past time living in Korea. It is now made easier through holding up pictures and them pointing at them and telling me what kinds of videos they watched even to the kinds of candy they made after school with their friends.
This trip has been a unique trip and one of my favorites. I got the chance to practice my Korean and enjoy watching my friends and professors engage in my heritage and culture as well as enjoy the food that I eat and understand more about Korean history and lifestyle. I was able to use my little knowledge of Korea and Korean culture and participate with my friends and learn more about the history. When I come to Korea, it is usually with my family and we don't go to the museums or tours. This interim trip helped me learn more about my Korean background. I personally got the responsibility to "sweep" meaning I would make sure all the other students were in between the front and last person. I got to translate and interpret which was a very practical and real experience for me. These are just some pictures of the many things we got to do! I had so much fun and made so many good and new friends!