It’s a bitter sweet feeling! I miss the usual routine but not the reality of going back to school. I described my time in South Korea as a “fantasy”; it being a fun experience which was temporal. Looking back to when we first got to Seoul and when it was time to leave; I must say over the course of 20 days I fell in love with South Korea. It definitely takes a while to get used to foods from other cultures; some of which I describe as acquired tastes. Take kimchi for example, I had never tasted kimchi till I had the experience of making it, but I enjoyed it. My favorite part of the trip was exploring the cities on our own. It was fascinating whenever I had to communicate with the local people because I was amazed at how I came up with creative ways of communicating with them. Consequently, I felt I was interacting with the culture and understanding their lifestyle. We all have different perceptions of Koreans and it was interesting to hear what others thought of Korea during our group reflection time. I learned that culture is subject to misunderstanding which breeds stereotypes and I believe there must be a reason for every act and that’s what makes us unique.
Among the cities we visited, Busan was my favorite. At first, I thought Seoul was, but after I visited Busan, I concluded Seoul is nothing compared to Busan. I immediately fell in love with the state of the art buildings in Busan, the beautiful bridges and the breath taking view from my hotel room at night. I definitely felt Busan is somewhere I can live because the weather was just right, and the streets were less crowded, compared to Seoul. We took the city bus tour around Busan which was an eye opening moment for me; seeing the UN War memorial and how the US was influential in the Korean War was quite amazing. The tours made me wonder how Korea recovered from being the poorest Asian country to being one of the top ten richest countries in the world. I found that its culture and history have been the driving force behind its modernization and economic development. Its people share a common value which is translated in the way the country is run. With persistence and determination being its two key values, Korea has developed major companies with humble beginnings and stories that inspire other nations and individuals, including myself.
It was yet another day in Seoul! I wondered what this beautiful city had in store for us. We rode the subway to the Bank of Korea and then went on to the Samsung Innovation Museum. The subway experience is one of the few platforms that allow interactions with the Korean people, which is something I feel is important for my visit. The subway took us to the Bank of Korea where we listened to a lecture and went for a tour. During the tour, the guide showed us a remarkable display of the world currencies. I was pretty excited when I spotted the Ghanaian cedes. To round off our trip at the Bank we were given souvenirs, of Korean Won coins! After the Bank visit, we headed off to the Samsung Innovation Museum. I must say, that has been my best experience so far on this trip! The technology displayed was mind blowing to say the least. In a couple years, you wouldn’t need much of a doctor’s check; just a glass mirror can tell you how your vitals are doing. Wouldn't that be awesome?! - -Nadine