(This blog is completely my opinion and totally biased, and may not reflect others' opinions or perspectives on Korea or Koreans. Actual experiences may vary.)
Ok, Korea didn't die. And I didn't leave yet. But soon.
I'm sometimes overly dramatic and satirical, but I really like Amazing Grace bagpipes omg.
So it's been a semester. A wonderful, amazing, thrilling, educational, drunken, spectacularly (almost) indescribable experience.
Honestly. If any of you ever get the chance to study abroad, even if it's not in Korea, do it.
I feel like I've grown so much as a person, maturity-wise, and just gotten more in-tune to who I am, and what I want in life. I know it sounds so cliche and somewhat overly... utopic? Is that a word? Idyllic rather. Still not it. Not sure what word I was looking for. Oh well.
Anyway, besides me developing as an individual, the connections here, and friends I've made... I'll never forget. Perhaps if I get into a car accident and my hippocampus gets messed up I may forget, but otherwise it'll always be there.
God, where do I start. The food. Korean food is amazing. Not everyones cup of tea, but if you do come here. Try EVERYTHING. Even if it looks bad or smells bad. Just try it. I suppose that goes for all other foods, new culture wise. Just try it. Don't be a Sam-I-Am, yo. At first when I came and I had kim chi and ddukbokki, I was tearing up because it was so spicy. Now things that I thought were too hot before, taste soooo damn good. Soups. Amazing. Warm soups especially in winter. Mind blowing. The chicken and soju here. Such good memories.
The general culture here is... refreshing. It's kind of like, work hard, play hard. Koreans study their ass off. But when they have free time, they get wasted, and have fun. And study more. Friendships seem closer than in America with the hyung/noona relationship, and I really like it. Having some chicken and soju or beer with some hyungs and just talking about everything is relaxing and fun at the same time. I'll really miss that aspect.
Korean language. I'm still learning so much! I recently took a taxi to the nearest train station, and the taxi driver spoke... very little English. But, I understood almost everything he said, and had a decent conversation with him. We talked about how I'm American, but I'm ethnically Japanese, and he asked me if I like Korea better, and I said sure. He proceeded to clap and say 좋아!~ really loudly. (means I LIKE IT) He asked why, and I said Japan doesn't have Seoul. Not to hate on Japan at all, but I really like Korea. ^^ I can read Hangul a LOT faster, but I still need to study more. Conversation wise. I will continue studying back in Hawaii and Colorado. I want to get to near fluent, but it'll be hard without Koreans to practice with, Regardless, I will still study. It's such a cool language.
I've only been to a few SC2 events, but when I did go, I had a BLAST. Gom is really hospitable, and if you love SC and are in Korea, go! I brought some friends that didn't know what SC was, just that I played it a lot, and they had fun too! Really awesome experience watching the games live. It's somewhat enhanced with Korean commentators screaming. Awesome.
On a similar SC2 note. I managed to get a Korean SC2 account. Skill difference: obvious. I'm mid masters in NA. I'm stuck in diamond on KR. I even lose to golds sometimes. It's possible that it's because I play REALLY greedily, but I think that losing a lot more than usual has really helped my gameplay. Yes, if you want to get really good at SC2, play on Korea. I agree with the pros. The upper echelon of Korean masters players would definitely make GM on NA.
Nightlife is banginggggg. So much fun clubbing and getting drunk in Korea. I'll miss not being able to drink in the US. (Dumb US drinking age makes 0 sense.) Seoul really is bumping at night, and you'd be sure to find a nice bar or club to rock the night in. And then sleep in a jimjilbang. ^^
NORAEBANGS. SOOO MUCH FUN. Going sober is amazing. Going drunk is 10x more entertaining. Koreans can sing the shit out of ballads, and also rap. Some of them break out harmonies in duets, but when you go with friends after drinking a little, it's so much fun. I'll really miss being able to do that in CO. :[[[[ T.T
Had a girlfriend for a little while but then broke up with her after a couple weeks because I thought of her as too much of a friend. She got another boyfriend soon after. I'm not tearing up. Relationships in Korea are... different. Culture difference, expectations, etc. After talking with Korean guys and girls, the perspectives are just so... different. Can't really explain this specifically. It seems like Koreans tend to... settle a lot.
Conversing with Koreans in English is really entertaining. I'm not making fun of them, but I suppose it's similarly entertaining when I try to use Korean with them. Many things are mis-communicated, but most of the time the main idea gets across. Some Koreans have REALLY damn good English. The ones that do have usually studied abroad. You get used to hearing Konglish and being able to know what it means. Koreans are usually very shy, especially when using English, so don't expect to have full conversations when you first meet. After many attempts at conversation, and reassurance, they'll usually open up.
I'm made SUCH good friends with some Koreans here, I'll need to buy an iPhone so I can KakaoTalk with them when I get back to the US. T.T It's really sad, but I'm just happy that I had the opportunity to meet and get close with them. Their English has improved dramatically, confidence with speaking it as well, and in turn my Korean too. I know WAY more about Korean culture and norms, and understand things more. I've always been understanding and flexible, but this experience has... increased by understanding and flexibility in many ways. I want to stay. T.T I know a lot of American students that are happy to go back, but I'm not one of them. Korea speaks to me.
Wow that was an essay. Sorry. If you have any questions about Korea or whatnot, feel free to post/PM, I'll try to answer it as best as I can. Other than that all I can say, is:
Korea, I'll miss you. SO much. T.T
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