Cheonggyecheon Stream

This stream is 8.4 km long and runs through the heart of Seoul. The stream is artificially made and was a project to make Seoul more environmentally friendly. It is a popular spot for local and tourist couples. At night there are a lot of couples out on dates. There is also a lights and music show that happens regularly throughout the night. You can even put your feet in the stream! It is a place to read, eat lunch, and hang out.

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Dano Folk Festival In Seoul

So a couple of weeks ago I decided to visit the Dano Folk Festival. The festival only happens once a year and there are many events that are going on. There’s wrestling, art, martial art performances, and much more!

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My favorite performance was the traditional comedy show. I loved the masks and outfits they had on. I also enjoyed painting on fans. You could make any design you wanted and then you got to keep it. I drew Korean letters and copied a poem onto one. Overall, I really enjoyed my experience here and want to visit more festivals in Seoul.

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Volunteering in Korea

Last week I decided to volunteer at a children’s welfare center. When I first got there I met the other foreigners and Koreans who signed up to volunteer. Everyone was very kind. We decided to take the kids to play some sports and eat ice cream. Needless to say the kids were all very happy since they have nobody else to play with.

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Intense match of badminton
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Dodgeball (Peguu in Korean 🙂 )
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Tasty treats

We played dodge ball, badminton, and tossed around a frisbee. Dodge ball was my favorite because everyone was really good! The pineapple ice cream was delicious but very sweet. When we got back we read stories to kids in English and ate grilled cheese sandwiches 🙂 Image

Lets go to Gyeongbokgung Palace!

Greetings fellow travelers! South Korea is known for it’s palaces as a popular tourist attraction. Famous palaces include Gwanghamun, Deoksugung, and Changdeokgung. Today I visited Gyeongbokgung palace. The English translation means the “Palace Greatly Blessed by Heaven.”

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Stunning palace
Walking around the palace

The palace was rebuilt after World War 2 after the Japanese occupation. The palace looks stunning at first glance.The first thing I saw when I entered the massive square were the palace guards. I was unlucky since I missed the changing of the guard ceremony, but I got to take some cool pictures!

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Gotta love the outfit!
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Drum used for changing of the guard

My favorite part of the palace was the king’s throne. Another interesting thing about the palace is that it has heated floors during the winter. They use hot water underneath the floors to make the floors warmer. It’s interesting because this is still practiced in traditional Korean homes today. There are traditional Korean homes that surround the palace which you can visit for free along with a gift shop to buy souvenirs. There is also a mountain trail close by and City Hall nearby as well. This was my first palace in Seoul but I’m sure it won’t be my last:)

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I wish I could sit up there
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Interior of the throne room
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Lovely little house on a pond
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Pond surrounding the palace
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I wonder how long it took to paint the ceiling

 

Deoksugung

Working in Seoul

I work at Kookmin University’s International Office helping South Korean students transition into life in Toronto and Centennial College. I do presentations and answer questions about the programs, life, and culture in Canada. It is great to share my experiences and be of use to students who want to learn. Today I helped students navigate “MyCentennial”, the online website that professors from Centennial College use to communicate with students. Students have a lot of questions about dorm life, entertainment, and making friends in Canada. I also help Kookmin University by communicating with Canadian universities like University of Winnipeg and University of Victoria.

My workspace

Working in an office in Seoul is different than working back home in Canada. In South Korea there is formal and informal talk. This means that the way you speak to your friends is definitely not how you should talk with your boss or coworkers. There are levels of formality. For example, the way you talk with boss is very different than the way you talk with the president of the company. Additionally, when I worked back in Canada, you could e-mail your fellow coworkers to communicate. However, in South Korea it is better to talk to people face to face rather than e-mail. In my opinion this is better because you can form a better relationship with your coworkers and boss. This also allows you to network more efficiently. Some similarities include the dress code which follows Western customs. At my work place the dress code is business casual. Furthermore, the work hours are longer than Canadian work hours. Koreans work from 9am-6pm and volunteer to work on the weekend!

First week in the office
Preparing a presentation

Life at work is always exciting since I’m meeting new students who are curious about Canada everyday. The people at work are very kind and helpful. We go out to traditional Korean lunches regularly and learn more about each other. People at work are multilingual.  For example, they can speak Russian, German, English, French, Dutch. There are people of all ages and research assistants who help the office run smoothly. Overall working in Seoul has been an excellent and interesting experience.

Introducing myself to a coworker
Feedback on a report
Interacting with coworkers