Sunday, August 30, 2015

KGSP - Same Country, Different City

So it begins again. My three week vacation back at home was pretty good. Nice to eat familiar food again and it was really nice to see friends and family again. But alas, all things come to an end and I'm back in Korea.

But now I'm in Daejeon instead of Daegu. It's a bit weird cause a couple of weeks ago, I was a language student at Keimyung University, a relatively unknown school. But now, I'm officially a graduate student at KAIST, one of the top universities in Korea.

Dorms are better too.

Talk about a change right? Feels weird but at the same time it feels kinda good. After moving into the dorm on Wednesday I had to deal with a lot of admin stuff like opening a new bank account, applying for my new visa, etc. Been pretty busy the last week actually.

Thursday was kinda interesting because apparently M Countdown was held on campus. That's apparently a really big KPop show and for some reason they held it at KAIST this week. So we're just chilling by the stage and next thing I know I'm watching live KPop.

You know it's legit when even I know of the bands performing.

I took a trip up to Seoul on Friday to meet a friend from Germany and to go to the monthly meeting for the Olympics volunteering. I ended up messing up the times so I showed up two hours early, so I just went and walked around the area.

Luckily there was a sightseeing spot I haven't been to yet that was also near where the meeting was, so I took a trip to Gwanghwamun. First thing I noticed wasn't the statues, but the hundreds, if not thousands, of police throughout the square.

There were so many groups of them.

Apparently there was some sort of protest or demonstration or something going on, so the police were all on standby. Was kinda weird taking pictures of things with so many police nearby. Felt kinda paranoid actually.

Yesterday I went to Daegu to meet some people and to pick up the rest of my stuff. I left all my non-essentials there so I went to get them. Man that was a mission. Things were a lot heavier than expected so it was a pain to bring things to Daejeon. But I did it.

I can function again.

But I'm still like, sore. I've spent the last week doing a lot of walking and lifting. I feel like the veins in my arms are going to explode. They've gotten bigger for sure.

Finally we come to today. One of my friends randomly invited us to check out this arboretum and park in Daejeon. It was relatively close to KAIST so we went. Overall was alright. Was super super hot though, but it was a nice little walk.

We also went out to check out where the Daejeon Expo was.

But yea, I wouldn't say I'm settled into Daejeon just quite yet, but with all my stuff being in the city now and meeting some friends here and there, I feel a lot more comfortable with the place now than I did a few days ago. Classes start tomorrow though, so we'll see what happens.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

KGSP - Keimyung Complete

So right now I'm in Canada. My flight was on Sunday so I totally forgot to write the post for the week. Then, being back at home it kept slipping my mind until now. This week was a pretty big one. For one, it marked the official end of my Korean language program.

It's been eleven months. Eleven months of constant Korean classes. But on Thursday that all came to an end. Honestly it feels a little weird. When I started it seemed like there was so much time ahead of me. But now looking back it felt like it passed fairly quickly.

Done with the language program, but not anywhere close to done with the language.

I definitely learned a lot throughout the last eleven months. Of course, I learned a lot of Korean. I'm still pretty lacking in my language ability, but at the very least I can function and do basic conversations, which is a lot more than what I could do a year ago.

Aside from that, the last eleven months has also been pretty great. Learned so much about well, everything. Korea, myself, the world. Lots of things. Met a lot of people through the language program and have a lot of cherished memories. So it's a weird bittersweet moment to end it all.

Also I've accumulated over 100000 KRW in coins in the last year.

After saying goodbye to friends after the completion ceremony, I went to Seoul to kinda just enjoy the weekend before coming home. I had a meeting for my volunteering thing so I went to that, and figured since I was already in Seoul to just kinda chill there.

That was super tiring. Since I was going home immediately after, I had to bring all my luggage with me. And man, when it's like 35 degrees outside and you're moving like 40 kilos of stuff on the street. It sucks.

My body still kinda aches.

In Seoul I didn't really do too much. I went with a Russian friend and so the first night and the next morning was a bit unusual because we went for a Russian experience in Seoul. We found an area near Dongdaemun where there are a lot of Russians and Central Asians convene.

It was my first time having anything Russian related that wasn't like, vodka, so that was a cool experience. On Saturday we went to a Russian restaurant for some authentic food. I thought it was pretty good, but I can't really see myself eating it every day.

Meet, cheese, veggies.

Afterwards we didn't really have any plans. I kinda wanted to sightsee, but it was super hot outside so I didn't really want to do that. Eventually we decided to go check out the Women's StarCraft League because that sounded interesting.

It was interesting, but it was also kinda sad. The studio was one I've never been to before. It was nice, but there was barely anyone where. Aside from the players and their friends, we were like the only audience members there.

It's sad though when you know they chose the players purely on looks.

The games were so bad. Only one player had any real skill, and I knew of her before. The other players looked either completely mediocre or like they've played the game for two days before joining the tournament.

I really wonder how the tournament organizers thought it would be a good idea. There were four matches that day, but we left after three because the games were just that bad. Following that I met up with some other friends for dinner and drinks before calling it a day.

Craft beer in Seoul.

Overall my time in Korea has been very interesting. Like I said, I learned a lot and it's been a great experience. Now that my masters is starting I think my life will be pretty different when I return. Feels weird. I'll continue my blog posts when I return. I'm back home so I'm on vacation now.