Tripping across Korea

Living in Seoul, it’s hard to resist developing a high-paced lifestyle where most decisions tend to be spontaneous and irrational. I realized it became very easy to trip and fall into unexpected experiences, whether positive or negative. Metaphorically, of course, but for some friends, quite literally when it rains! However, tripping isn’t always bad, as ...

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Tripping across Korea

Living in Seoul, it’s hard to resist developing a high-paced lifestyle where most decisions tend to be spontaneous and irrational. I realized it became very easy to trip and fall into unexpected experiences, whether positive or negative. Metaphorically, of course, but for some friends, quite literally when it rains! However, tripping isn’t always bad, as it brings you back to reality, reminding you of your priorities and mindset. In retrospect, taking multiple core classes at the 300 and 400 levels abroad may not have been the most intelligent decision, but it sure was an ambitious one. As we all know, at Drexel, ambition can’t wait. In this blog, I will talk about how I literally and metaphorically tripped across Korea and what I learned from it!

A goal I always had while in Korea was to visit all the port cities, considering how most of my classes were concentrated on two days, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This goal was quickly shot down by the status of my wallet. Upon realizing this, I was determined to at least go to the farthest ends of this peninsula, which I have finally accomplished. First, I visited Busan in the southeast, diagonally across Korea from Seoul. Then I took a trip to Sokcho in the far northeast of Korea. And most recently, I visited Yeosu, one of the most southern cities in South Korea. Of course, Jeju is on the list, but let’s savor our tripping habits over the entire study abroad.

BUSAN

Busan is the second most popular city in Korea after Seoul, not only because of the movie “Train to Busan,” but also because of its rich history. Busan boasts beautiful natural views hand in hand with its impressive cityscape. The extremely mountainous regions that connect directly to the beaches form a perfect weather dynamic. One memorable and recommendable experience was trying 아구찜, or Monkfish Stew. I came here with some friends who came to visit as well as my roommates!

SOKCHO

Going to Sokcho was quite literally on a whim, but worth every moment spent there. Sokcho’s diversity surprised me, and their well-known 아바이순대 (squid-filled sausage) was a memorable experience I will savor. As coming here was on a whim, there was no set agenda for activities. This also meant we could not get a bus ticket as they were all sold out, which forced us to rent a car, resulting in a happy “trip up” turning into a road trip. This mistake ended up being extremely beneficial as we were able to explore the areas near Sokcho, especially 설악산 (Seoraksan) National Park, a hike where the views are incredible. I went to Sokcho with my sister, who came to visit, and one of my roommates. Having a small group was a huge contrast to the previous trip to Busan.

YEOSU

My latest expedition was to Yeosu, a port city in the south of South Korea. Here, the air and vibes felt very relaxing, and everyone we met seemed so stress-free. An experience that I would recommend here would be to take the cable car that overlooks the city and the beautiful bridge. One thing I will never forget trying is 게장, or raw marinated crab. It’s an acquired taste and texture for sure, and one of the boldest things I have done so far in Korea.

Now that I’ve summarized the trips I took across Korea and my recommendations for what to try, I’ll end with some unexpected facts I learned regarding these journeys!

When going to places where there isn’t a train, driving may save you a lot of time! According to the experiences of friends who decided to go to Sokcho via bus, driving there saved over three hours and provided a lot more flexibility.

When traveling with over three people, it tends to be more economical to drive compared to taking transit, as you can split the cost of a car rental! Bonus fact: Driving in Korea is honestly not as intimidating as it can seem.

If you are planning on taking core classes abroad, be ready to spend the corresponding time studying for those classes.

Overall, I loved my experiences on these physical trips and learning from metaphorical trips.

Bonus! Korean words of the week:

사진 (Sah Jin) = Picture

원해요 (Won Hey Yo)= Want

So together… 사진원해요 would mean, “I want a picture”

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