The land of Korea has always been a wonder to many people. Its culture has captivated people from all over the world and piqued curiosity in them. Be it with the musical keys from TWICE and Taeyeon to the spiciness of pure original Kimchi to the colourful and savvy Korean fashion.
Just like thousands of others, I have fallen victim to the magic of South Korea and without hesitation, jumped at the opportunity when I heard of this three-week exchange program to study at Dankook University.
While Dankook University did provide us with an airport pick-up, I chose not to, as I wanted to explore Seoul first before heading to their Jukjeon campus.
Unfortunately, the Jukjeon campus is an hour and a half away from Central Seoul, so the ride out of the way was a little bothersome. However, having a campus so far out means there is room for a bigger campus and boy, Dankook University is huge. I actually got lost when I first arrived on campus and needed help from some of its local residents.
Upon arriving, I was led to my room and was pleasantly surprised to find that my roommate had already settled into the room. I was surprised once more to find out that he is a Malaysian as well. It is always good to have a connection back home, especially when you start feeling homesick for a while.
During the orientation, we got to experience the cultures each participant brought from their respective countries such as the United States, Sweden, Japan, China, Taiwan and not forgetting good ol’ Malaysia! It was incredible to spend the month with them. Shout-out to all of you! The two lecturers that I had for my class were helpful and patient. They also made the class fun for all of us!
During the orientation, the National Korean Culture group came over to the campus and showed us the history of South Korea as well as gave us the opportunity to try out the famed ‘hanbook’. I, along with my roommate and two other students from China, was chosen to try it out and we learned the proper way to conduct a tea ceremony.
If you’re here in Jukjeon looking for a quiet place to chill, you can head over to Dankook University own’s stadium. It is both cooling and relaxing. If you’re lucky, you might even get to see freshman practicing their baseball skills.
Coming from a country as diverse as Malaysia, you probably have the thought that you might be sick of having Korean food every day. But fret not, there’s a wide range of food available from Donkatsu to Pizzas to Jajangmyeon — not to mention Isaac Toast. There is a store just outside of town where they sell the best sandwich I have ever tasted. Thousands of miles and a few days later, I’m sitting in the warm heat of Malaysia and craving for a bite of Isaac Toast. Do me a favor and go and feed your stomach with Isaac Toast, alright?
Dankook University provides a whole range of activities for it’s ISS participants and all of them were memorable. One, in particular, was the tour to Seoul. We were brought to Gwang Hwa Mun Plaza and marveled at the giant statues of King Sejong and Admiral Yishun. We also went up the Seoul Namsan Tower for a buffet and wandered into the night skies of Seoul 480 meters up.
We were also brought to witness the famed Nanta Theatre in Myeongdong. I guess I should thank my lucky stars that I was once again chosen to be brought up to the stage to assist in the performance.
While the distance from Central Seoul may be a little bit far, we had enough time to head down to Seoul once our classes ended at 1 p.m., and each trip was worth it. My particular favorite spots to visit was Gangnam, Ewha, Konkuk University and Bukchon Hanok Village. Followed closely by the shopping districts of Hongdae and Myeongdong.
No words could describe how much I am missing South Korea right now. While it is good to be back at home, the wanderlust in me is calling for a return to South Korea. Though, let’s not do it during the summer, shall we?