Korea is Korea was the opening gambit by one of our lecturers this week. What he meant (without putting words into his mouth) was that you are not from around here and that no matter how long you've been here you will never be part of Korea because essentially you are not Korean. There's a lot of truth to this and it's certainly noticeable as you walk around the street. To Koreans, you are like a White Tiger, people are fascinated by you, they are interested in you and they welcome you but at the end if the day they want to keep you in your cage away from being integrated into society. This isn't such a negative thing.
I've been here for 5 days now, it's been a pretty busy orientation period in which I've not had a great deal of time to get out and explore Seoul, but when I have I have loved it. The streets are busy and hectic, the people are friendly and approachable and the city is beautiful. Me and my roommate went for a walk along an ancient wall to the top of a hill that looks over Seoul which was fantastic. The food is good, I'm not sure weather my stomach agrees, but it's varied and spicy and flavoursome. But Korea is Korea
I've started taking language classes and it's actually fairly easy to pick up, I can pretty much understand most of the alphabet (hangul) now and can speak some basic phrases to make out like I know what I'm talking about. Koreans love this, as long as you try to understand then even the slightest attempt to try and speak Korean is really respected. However, I doubt they want you to become fluent because then you know their secret code and Korea is Korea. I'm sure that's an exaggeration
I've learnt so much about language, culture and teaching in the short time I've been here I've hardly had a second to learn anything about myself yet. Life is fast here in Seoul, I'm very much looking forward to my move to Gangwon province next week, where I'll settle into my new apartment and my new school.
I'm surprised I've had time to write this to be fair.
See you on the flipside.
Welcome to Korea.