Sunday, July 4, 2010

Achy feet

Sorry for not updating for a week. It's been so hectic. Classes started this week on Tuesday. We had orientation on Monday with all the other international students. There's close to a 100 of us from I think it was 29 different countries. It's evident in my Korean culture and society class - 8 students and 2 are from Portugal, 3 from the United States, 1 from China, 1 from Slovenia and one from Finland. Class is very interesting because we get to compare each other's cultures and we find out more and more about our own society by comparing it with others. In the afternoon, I take a Korean language class which has been kicking my butt. There's a Hangul alphabet that I learned but I can't seem to remember the characters and what letters they're associated with. When I learned Chinese, there was no alphabet to learn. When I learned Italian, the alphabet was like English so the fact that the Hangul alphabet is completely different is throwing me off so much.

Anyway, Seoul has been wonderful...aside from the generous amounts of humidity and rain that Mother Nature is giving us. I probably shower two or three times a day in order not to feel gross. The campus is nice. There's a lot of stairs and hills which I'm not used to in New York City, especially the hills. We're not too far from train stations and the bus stations so getting around is really easy. It's just that we don't know where to get anywhere and we can't really read most of the signs yet so we usually have our buddies come along with us. Our buddies have been SO SO SO nice. Honestly, I don't think I could thank them enough for helping us through this experience. Sometimes, we feel helpless because we can't go without them to get breakfast/lunch/dinner and they have to bring us to places that I know they've already been to 500 times already. Jesse, Christopher, Richard and I really want our buddies to come to New York sometime because we want to show them around like they've shown us around so far.

The food here is great. It's cheap, good and for the most part, pretty healthy. We've been getting breakfast from the student cafeteria before class and it's 1,500 won for rice, eggs, soup, kimchi, sometimes squid or mushrooms. 1,500 won is $1.22. A cup of coffee from 7/11 in the US is about $1.09. Lunch is anywhere from 2 bucks to 3 depending on what you get. Guess it's time to show you this past week in photos. They do say a picture is worth a thousand words.

Our first actual meal in Seoul: Shabu shabu

My buddy, Ji Hyun and I on the way to Homeplus (similar to Costco or BJ's)

Korea was playing in the World Cup against Uruguay last weekend. We went to a pub to cheer them on in our red gear, representing the Red Devils.
Left to right: Me, Jesse, Chun Gon (a buddy for one of Stony Brook's students)

Chris (another SBU student) rocking the red and horns!

@MyeongDong - a shopping district and eating dukboki (spicy rice cakes)

Us with some students from China and our buddies @Ice Berry

We went to the North Seoul Tower that day. We had to take a cable car to get there. Here's the view from the car of Seoul.

Other photos from North Seoul Tower:

People write messages on locks and clip it on the fences at the North Seoul Tower. They then throw away the key and try to find it many years later.

Next day, we had orientation with the other international students and our buddies. Here's Stony Brook students!
Left from right: Huo, Jesse, Chris, Richard, me and my buddy, Ji Hyun.

The food they served at orientation:
Yes, that is beer. They also told us to fill up our cups. They INSISTED.

Stony Brook University students and our buddies @Orientation.

Stony Brook University with Chinese international students

All students participating in the University of Seoul International Summer School
Groups 1, 2 and 3

Groups 4 and 5

Afterwards, we went to a club event at BarFLY for a past international student's birthday. Here are some pictures of that night. They're low quality cause they're from my cell phone. Sorry.
With the birthday boy, Tomas (from France) below

That's it for now. I'm worried that I'm bombarding you guys with so many photos so till next time!


  1. I hope u have great summer in Korea. :) I am gonna be senior on this fall semester at stony brook. :) I am staying for summer in Korea! If u need any help, let me know! :D

  2. Your posts are refreshingly entertaining, dfeng.