Arriving in Seoul felt so surreal. The fact that all the signs in Incheon Airport were in Korean made me realise that we had finally made it to Korea. After a long 12-hour flight and a two-hour delay, we finally made it.
At the airport, the eleven of us split up into three cars and made our way to the Korea University dorms, our home for the next three months. In my van, there were five of us and the driver. Since the ride to the university dorms from Incheon was a good hour, we spent the hour trying to revise our Korean by working together as a team (without dictionaries and online translators) to talk to the driver in Korean.
Although this is not my first time travelling abroad, it was my first time travelling to Korea. I also only started to officially learn Korean this year as part of my Global Studies language. One of my goals coming into the programme was to become more confident in speaking Korean. So, I really pushed myself to try and converse with the flight attendants, our driver, and our dorm guard in Korean. Learning Korean at the University of Auckland (K110 and K111) made me realise how scripted Korean textbooks can be. While I have used what we learnt in class, speaking Korean in Korea and learning Korean in New Zealand are two very different things. So the fact that everyone understands me (the majority of the time) really amazes me.
Settling in the dorms
Since we arrived very late at night on our first day, I could only explore our dorms the next morning.
After waking up, I spent the day sorting out my dorm and walking around our neighbourhood. Since the dorms are on a hill, there isn’t much around our dorms (frontier house) apart from other dorms and one convenience store. If we want anything, we have to walk down the hill.
As the pictures show, it is currently snowing in Korea. Winter here is quite cold. Apart from the few days we arrived averaging around 3 to 4 degrees, every day is usually in the negatives (about -5).
Winter is one of my favourite seasons, so I look forward to the adventures I will share in the snow!
Till next time,