My trip to Korea was an amazing cultural experience that I was very fortunate to experience. There was so much to learn about Korean culture, including the long story of how South Korea became an independent nation, the way Korea influences the world, and the amazing foods that can be found there. Through this process, I was also able to appreciate the differences and similarities between Korean and American culture.
Our group also had the chance to witness several tours of different multinational companies that call Korea home. These included Samsung, Hyundai Motors, and a few others. The operations of these companies were sights to behold, and it’s amazing to see how many of these companies started out as very small business ventures that boomed into massive industries. For example, Samsung started out as a grocery store, and last year acquired $190 billion in revenue.
I’m grateful that I was able to experience this trip to Korea, and in some ways I really miss it. I hope that some day I am able to return and experience more of a such a wonderful country.
Blog Post #4
Korea was so much fun. The country and group we had was amazing. It was awesome to see the culture and see how it was different than the US. During the trip we had so many different types of traditional foods. Almost every day we had a different meal from the rest. One of my favorite meals was Korean barbecue. I also liked the fried rice and all of the Noodle dishes. Being an engineering and business trip, we toured and visited a bunch of companies. We visited kinemaster, posco, Hyundai, and Samsung. Is was really cool to see how culture is different and how companies work in Korea. We also visited historical and modern museums throughout the trip. My favorite was the Korean War memorial because the tour guide was excellent and it was more interesting to me. Overall I had a great experience and I made some great friendships.
This trip to Korea was extremely eye-opening for me. Even though I’ve been to Korea quite a few times, seeing Korea this trip felt like I was seeing Korea through different eyes. While I am used to going around places that are familiar to me in Korea, this time I was able to visit different cities, and tour places I never would have gone to on my own. One of the best parts of the trip for me was being able to see the extent of Korea’s development. After learning a lot more about Korea’s heartbreaking history and the struggles that brought devastation to the country, it made everything else I saw seem so much more impressive.
Despite the pain and difficulty of South Korea’s past, seeing how much it was able to develop in such a short period of time was extremely inspiring to me. The technology exported from Korea, the extremely advanced city and transportation, and the factories that create billions in revenue each year is a testimony to Korea’s resilience and fast growth.
My time in South Korea was legitimately life-changing. I met a lot of amazing new people, I had some of the coolest experiences of my life, and I ate some of the craziest new types of food. Some definite highlights of my trip included going to a cafe where we got to hang out with meerkats, seeing the Samsung innovation museum where we learned in-depth about the history of Samsung’s vast array of products (ranging from the very beginning of the company to products that haven’t even come out yet), getting to visit two unique amusement parks (one of which included sledding), and getting to go on an absolutely beautiful hike up Mt. Haeyeon. There weren’t really any bad parts to the trip, but it was certainly sad at times to see so much of the history of a country that was affected by war or being taken over by enemies for so many years of its past. I would say that South Korean culture has undoubtedly made a comeback in the modern age, however, and I had one of the best times of my life getting to explore different parts of the country.
The mere existence of South Korea is in and of itself truly phenomenal. When one considers the economic heights this country has reaches not even 70 years after quite literally being reduced to rubble in the Korean War, this phenomenon becomes nothing short of a miracle.
Being able to explore several of the corporations and institutions that undergird this global powerhouse has been an incredible experience, allowing a glimpse into an entirely different culture and philosophy than my own. Furthermore, my first-hand witnessing of the incredible hospitality and Christian values present in South Korea has also been extraordinarily inspiring: witnessing people around the world living into the Gospel truth is a humbling experience as well. In all, South Korea is a fascinating country that pairs traditional values with innovative ideas, and to be able to explore it with incredible people has been an unforgettable experience. Oh, and the food is fantastic as well!
My class in Korea was a chance for me to experience the culture and observe and learn independently. We saw and did a lot. I realized the importance of underetanding asian cultures when someone mentioned about 70% of the world population is asian. A big part of any culture is food and we certainly had a lot of food. There is hot water, kimchi and rice involved in most of the dishes here. Some students began to complaign about always eating “soups”. One of the biggest cultural differences was the level of respect between strangers and also the importance of age to relationships. When introducing oneself in korean it is important to mention your age so that the younger person speaks with in a formal manner. An age difference of just one year requires essnetially a different tense to express formality. In a lecure on cultural differences I learned that korea is a high context culture. This means that gestures and nonverbal formalities are deeply ingrained into behavior and disregarding them is taken as intentional disrespect. For example, when coming home children are expected to find the father and ask them how they are. Another example is when getting up for a drink or coffee failure to ask the others at a table if they want anything is insulting. This information is critical to anyone who wants to do any business in korea so i found it very valuable.
One notable things we did was tour Posco, a steel developer that was/is key to koreas economic sucess. We saw iron being thinned down and washed of impurities until it was rolled up and ready to be shipped out. Another highlight was hyundai. We toured both the facility where they build massive shipping boats and one of their car factories. Kinemaster is a company that developed a mobile video editing software of the same name. We met with the CEO and he showed us the product and had Q and A. I thought it was very interesting the path the company took to get to where they are. They did a lot of different things before ending up where they are now. We toured a Samsung meseum which was really interesting. Not only did they have old samsung technology alongside new but they also had some very early and nowadays primative batteries. The showmanship at samsung was really a highlight. The movie screen transformed into a walkway when the clip was over. Samsung also had a very roundabout path to get where they are now. I’m starting to realize good businesses follow the money rather than sticking to one idea. My least favorite part of the trip was singing in front of a korean church congregation. Public speaking is not my strongsuite and public singing i have never done before but i also disliked it. Of all the highlights mentioned i think hyundai’s car factory was the most enjoyable. The factory is really impressive. The logistics is overwelmingly complex and there are doors and parts moving all around you. Additionally its fun to see nice brand new cars.
I loved going to the amusement park as a child. Fortunately, I had opportunities to visit several amusement parks in various countries.
All of the parks, no matter how big or small, there are waiting time. As much as I hate waiting time, I guess it is given and just have to accept the fact that you need to wait.
Comparing the safety of the rides, ones is the States, Korea or Japan do a good job of making sure that people feel secure and the rides itself are secure. Whereas in Inida, some rides do not feel as secure. One could argue that not feeling secure on a ride could be a part of the thrill.
Universal Studios and Disney Lands have distinct themes to their parks. Other parks implement their own theme.
Overall, I think all of the amusement parks are similar.
On Wednesday we visited an amusement park in Korea called Lotte World. The park was very enjoyable, and I had a great time reconnecting with my friend Sawyer, an exchange student at Calvin last semester. The park itself was very similar to parks that I’ve been to in America, with a few small differences. Firstly, since the park was essentially half indoors, there were only two coasters, but the one I rode was very fun. Secondly, the snacks in the park were relatively inexpensive to an American park. The park also had a Disney world type vibe, since it had dedicated characters that were featured in the park. Overall, the experience was great and I’m glad that I was able to go.
One of the amusement parks we visited in Korea was Lotte World. I’ve never been to Lotte World while living in Seoul because it never really grabbed my attention but I was surprised on how much I enjoyed it. Comparing it to Disneyland, there are a lot of rides that have a storytelling theme. For example, one of the rides we went on was some sort of gypsy/pirate theme. There were tons of animatronics to make the story feel more real and of course Twist and turns and some falls because it is a roller coaster ride. Just like any Disney amusement park, they also have a bunch of story telling rides one which specifically reminded me of the Lotte ride was the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
I have been to one amusement park in America and that was Disney world, where a lot of the rides are very kid-friendly. While The one we went to in Korea, Lotte world, it was a lot of young people or a lot of couples who came, that or families with little kids. I also think the rides were more tailored to the kids around high school or college, or maybe even a little older. Comparing it to Disney World, where it has a lot more showing rides or ones that are just fun for little kids, rather than excitement and thrill.
The first thing I noticed about the amusement parks here is that their signs include Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese. In the US, most signs at amusement parks are only in English, and if they have another language, it’s typically Spanish. If anything, I think the US should have more translations on their signage. Although many employers, politicians, and educators here will expect everyone to speak English in the States, our population of non-English speakers and people speaking English as a second language is growing.
Second, the general appearance of both Lotte World and Gyeongju World was very cute and leaning feminine. In the US, amusement parks are designed to look more intense and intimidating (with the exception of Disney). They also don’t feature any characters like the parks in Korea too. In the States, people come mostly for rides and they expect to be scared – and that’s part of the appeal.
American and Korean theme parks inevitably have quite a bit in common. For the most part, they serve the same types of food, have similar rides, and the general theme of both the parks we went to in Korea even loosely resembled that of Disneyland. It actually surprised me how similar the food was, and even though they were a few significant differences (such as lots of corn based snacks and your typical places serving Korean food), they still seemed to have most of the “essentials” that you would expect to find at an American theme park. Another significant similarity is that many rides and products are based on a certain group of characters. As a whole, theme parks in Korea truly aren’t that different from those in America, but there did seem to be a couple differences that surprised me.
As far as differences are concerned, there aren’t nearly as many as I would have expected, but one thing in particular is that there is a bit more to do overall. While American theme parks will generally just have games rides and food, there was also ice skating and sledding and lots of virtual reality activities at the Korean parks we visited. The Korean parks also seemed to be significantly cheaper than American ones, especially when it came to the in-park food and gift shops. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t being completely ripped off when buying a snack at Lotteworld. While there were minor differences such as these, theme parks in the US and in Korea truly aren’t that different in the long run, especially when it comes to the core rides they are offering.
Blog Post #3
The only amusement park I’ve been to in the US that I remember is Six Flags. The biggest difference between Six Flags and the park here is with themes. Lotte World has all of their buildings and rides all with connecting themes and the park is decorated really well. Six Flags mainly just has roller coasters and such without a ton of decorations another big difference is that Lotte World had half of its park indoors. This allows for at least part of the park to be open all year long. There were also some fun roller coasters inside as well that spanned multiple floors. The food is comparable to prices in the US. Food is more expensive in the Amusement park. There was Korean food instead of things the US would have.
Today is Sunday and it is our last Sunday and our last full day in Korea. We took the bus to Onnuri Church which is another large church in Korea. The church is located south of the river and we were able to take one bus from our hotel area to the location of the church. The bus ride took more than 1/2 hour. The church service was great. The tunes of some of the songs were familiar, but the words were sung in Korean. During the service they had the baptism of 8-10 children and they had some members dressed in traditional Korean clothing who were playing some traditional Korean instruments. It was fascinating to watch and listen. They provided translation headsets for our group and so we could understand the sermon which was on II Chronicles chapter 16.
After the service, we were invited to a pasta lunch by the mom of our of our students. We really enjoyed the food and the generous hospitality they showed us. After that, we walked around the Gangnam area of town to see the shopping, etc. in the area. The students have a bit of free time this final afternoon and evening to explore anything else they want to see in Seoul. Tomorrow we will spend much of the day heading to the airport and flying home.
Two videos taken during the church service of the Traditional song: