Sunday, August 28, 2011

Korea 2011 Summer Fellows: In Retrospective

My trip to South Korea was amazing. Not only was I there to experience the crazy rain and flood during the Monsoon season, but I have also learned more about Korean culture living there than I did by reading textbooks. My summer in South Korea has left me a stranger in my own land. I am still in the process of re-intergrating back into American society. I need to constantly remind myself, that I should not bow or say annyeonghaseyo when I greet people, and that almost no restaurant in DC is open passed 10/11pm--so I should eat a lot earlier or cook at home because eating out in DC is a lot more expensive and less satisfying than having a delicious full blown out meal that cost only $5 in Korea.

In retrospective, my summer in Korea has been by far the best time of my young adult life. Though I am happy to be back home in my comfort zone, I miss Korea very much. I miss the new friends that I have made there, my host family, the curious ajummahs (older women) that made me food at all hours of the night, going to noraebang (karaoke rooms) on the weekends, the crazy shuffle dance young Koreans do, the massive comatose that comes after most meals, the efficient subway system, the catchy K-pop music, and the Korean lifestyle in general!

I can definitely see myself in 3-5 years working in Korea. It is also interesting to note how most of the foreigners that I encountered in Korea are English teachers. The demand and trend to learn how to speak English is ridiculous. I am not saying that I too want to be an English teacher, but I would like to find a different position there working with Koreans and development in Korea. And I feel that my intensive language program at Seoul National University has prepared me for Korean3105. Prior to studying in Korea I was nervous about going into advanced Korean without having a strong foundation in the language. Now I am starting the semester ready to tackle Korean business jargon. Bring on the heat Professor Pak! :]

Julianna Ngo

BA International Affairs and Asian Studies 2013

Sigur Center 2011--Korean Language Fellow

Seoul National University, South Korea

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