25 Jan 2014

'But they eat dog!!!!'

I've had it howled at me - yes howled, in a mix of utter outrage and disgust, no less - whenever I've mentioned South Korea and me moving to it, that people over here eat dog.  The outbursts are also generally, swiftly followed by a shocked expression and variations on a theme of  "don't you mind?" when I so intelligently reply with "um".

Because, really, 1) no, they don't, and 2) there are strange cuisines all over the world. I mean, (and please take this with a great helping of humour) the French  eat snails and frogs legs and meat so rare it's practically still breathing; Iceland has a dish made with rotten shark meat; haggis is eaten in abundance in Scotland and let's not forget the time when Tesco's thought we all needed a little more horse meat in our diets. Every country has their own ~quirky~ dishes that a non-native may (or will) find odd - but that's the beauty of food and culture and, well, things.

But my main point here is: South Korean people don't actually eat dog meat. Or, at the very least, I haven't come into contact with anywhere that sells it, just to cover all my bases here.  It's no secret that the east, especially East Asia, is seen as the ~wayward child~ when it comes to food (I'm looking at you, China) and Japan tends to fall into it's own category of crazy 90% of the time, yet somehow Korea gets landed with the dog-eating stigma. Dogs aren't even that big in Korea. As sad as it is, I'm pretty sure a large part of the population are still actually afraid of them. Pets definitely don't seem to be as popular here as in England (I think it has something to do with the 'r' word, not going to lie...) though they are becoming more of a thing now.

Pet tangent aside, Korean's are really rather keen on their meat dishes, 삼겹살 (Korean BBQ) is probably one of the things a couple of my friends have actually come to Korea for - and my instagram feed contains a rather large number of ~artsy filtered~ food snaps of various things I've eaten. Fried chicken is also insanely popular, so much so that when you have it with beer it becomes 치맥 (eww romanisation, but for those not versed in hangul that says ch'imek).  

Though I'm fairly certain the king of all korean foods has to be 김치 (kimch'i). Fermented spiced cabbage. Ultimate yum. #heavysarcasm.

If you've heard of/eaten any Korean dishes, which would you like to try/is your favourite?

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17 Jan 2014

Studying abroad~

I don't think it's physically possible for me to fit all I want to say about studying abroad in one post, and considering the fact I still have two levels and another 6 and a half (maybe more?) months to go, it would be a bit silly to try. In any case, I can attempt to write a little bit about what it's like to actually study in a city that has a problem with the concept of sleep...

It's no secret that South Korea has one of the most intense work ethics of any country... ever. You stay at work until your boss finishes, you stay at school until all your extra-curriculars have finished and then go to cram school. Here, it's perfectly acceptable to meet your friends at gone-midnight for a coffee because you couldn't when the sun was up. It makes my head spin sometimes, but then again, I come from a country that has a problem with breeding a culture that acts as though it's deathly allergic to any form of study, and mocks those that want to.

(Yes, I'm well aware that is quite a large generalisation, but if you've set foot in a state school recently -that's a school that you don't have to pay for in England- then a vast majority of the students simply could not care less about their education.)

So what is it like to study at Yonsei's KLI?

Well. For one thing, anyone who tells you that Yonsei is for 'lazy people' is, quite frankly, talking out of their arse. ^^".  I have 20 hours of mandatory class a week. As in, attendance counts towards my overall grade. If you miss 40 or more hours over the course of a level you fail automatically. It isn't even really comparable  to Sheffields' weekly 5 hours of Korean teaching. At Yonsei, I start at 9am and finish at 1pm, rinse and repeat Monday through Friday. Weh.

Content wise, in class we cover 2-3 grammar points a day, depending on the teacher. That's 10~15 grammar points a week.Taught entirely in Korean - with daily homework.  In Sheffield, it was roughly an average of 3 or 4 a week, taught in english (with good reason but still). If you can see a pattern emerging here you'd be correct. Yonsei is far, far, far, far more intensive than anywhere I've studied before, and I love that. It's the first time I've ever felt truly challenged by what I'm learning.

I don't really know what else to add right now, I'll probably think of some things after I've posted this, as is always the way... oh well!

If you were (or will be!) given the chance to study abroad, where would you like to study?

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8 Jan 2014

level up in positivity~

I think that this will definitely be my motto for this year, think positive, be positive, do things that make me think of myself in a positive light. Not in a 'the glass is always half full/cure cancer and solve problems like world hunger' kind of way - because that would be ace if it happened but it's just a tad unrealistic for me - more a 'uni starts again tomorrow today and I'm in a new class with new people and that scares me immensely, but it's going to be ok' sort of way.

Because it is.

One of the things I really love about Yonsei, as rigid as they are in some aspects, is that every semester you change classes. This is actually something that terrifies me because it means having to deal with a new set of people and new teachers and generally your only common language is Korean. But it's great because of those things. It doesn't make it any less scary though, for me, anyway.

Last year, someone told me to surround myself with positive people and I laughed and said it would be hard. But I was thinking that it would be hard to find sufficiently positive people to surround myself with, which, looking back now, seems so silly because how would that work? I guess I was expecting positivity to just seep into me via positivity-osmosis or something and work its magical influence, instead of changing the way i think more actively.

Well it's definitely time to change that. New year, new class, new game plan. Positivity, I choose you!


6 Jan 2014

hey there traveler~

It isn't every day that you get offered the opportunity to move to the other side of the world to experience the wonders of an entirely different country and culture for an entire year, but somehow in July of last year (2013), I was given that opportunity.

Well I say somehow... what I really mean is: 'following a year's hard slog learning Korean from scratch after applying to university'.  But that sounds far less ~romantic~ and ~whimsical~ and quite frankly boring, no matter how true it is.

Regardless, here I am, exploring the weird and wonderful things that South Korea has to offer in between partying attending my uni classes before I return home. Hopefully I'll also have the opportunity to visit some of the countries sitting on my bucket list before then, as well as pushing my rather shy self to things I wouldn't normally do in a bid to come out of my shell a bit more and become a little less nervous in certain situations.

If you want to know a little more about who I am, you can find all that on my about me page :)

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