Its crazy to think that this time last year I was just returning home from my month-long trip to Seoul, South Korea. This was my first time on a plane and my first time leaving the country. As you can guess, there was a mixture of fear and excitement during the whole way there.
I’m obsessed with the Asian culture so I’m truly happy that my first experience abroad was to an Asian location. My first plane ride was 13 hours long. I was actually more excited about riding in a plane than nervous, which was a good thing.
After that plane ride I had a 2 hr layover in Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan, which was super exciting because Tokyo is #1 on my travel bucket list. I could only stay at the airport though, but it just felt great to be in Japan.
I stayed in Incheon Airport overnight because the actual program didn’t start until the next day, July 1st. The next morning all I could think about was the people I would meet, food I would try, and the awesome time I would have during my stay in this amazing and beautiful new country.
My Resident Assistant (RA), Kevin, picked me and a few other students up from the airport and we all rode a bus to Seoul Women’s University (SWU) where we would all stay for the next month. Students from all over the world came to SWU for this program in Korea titled Bahrom International Program or BIP for short. Joey Yoo was the person in charge of the BIP and he did a great job at running it!
Everyone lived in dorms with Korean girls who attended SWU. My room number was 505! I made great friends with my room RA Kevin and the 6 Korean students who were my roommates, as well. A picture of my room is shown on the right! ^-^
So many awesome events were prepared for us during this adventure. All of us had to attend classes on topics such as Korean dance, costume, food, language, and film.
In the classes we got to learn a Korean dance and how to dance with a fan. We also watched a classic Korean film. I tried on a traditional Korean costume called a Hanbok, which was super pretty (pictured ….) and we learned how to bow while wearing the Hanboks (pictured on the left).
In one class we made traditional Korean food and got to taste it.Speaking of food…I love Korean snacks and desserts! I got addicted to these delicious cookies called Couque Dasse and a shaved ice dessert called Bingsu (pictured on the right).
When we weren’t in class we got to visit numerous places and landmarks throughout South Korea such as the border between North and South Korea, Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gyeongju, and Icheon Pottery Village. We also went on a cruise of the Han River and saw a NANTA Performance!
All of the dorm rooms participated in a talent show for $15,000 Won, Korean money. There were fun competitive games we played for snack prizes. We also got to learn how to play traditional Korean instruments!
One of my many favorite parts of this trip was called Homestay. As the name suggests, the students from other countries got the chance to spend one entire day and one night at the home of one of the Korean students. It was an amazing day because I got to visit an optical illusion museum and watched Korean dramas at my Homestay buddy’s house. It was great to see how another culture eats and lives on a daily basis.
Of course this post doesn’t describe everything I did on the trip because that would take foreverrr, but it does give a wonderful overview of my time there. And sadly, after 4 amazing weeks in Seoul, I had to go back home. There was a really emotional closing ceremony that everyone attended where we had to say goodbye to all of the SWU girls we met and the RA’s and the other staff. To the left is my RA Kevin and the ladies of 505 being silly on one of our last days together 🙂
There was never a dull moment during this trip and I truly feel blessed to have been able to attend BIP and live on SWU’s campus! This was a trip of a lifetime and I definitely plan on going back some day.