My trip to Korea was definitely a unique experience. I had never visited Korea before this trip, or anywhere else in Asia, for that matter. Although I could already pretty much read Hangul, I was not proficient with the language at all, and so the language barrier became an immediate challenge. I was very excited to learn Korean even before I arrived. I like languages a lot and was looking forward to learning a fourth one. I gained some knowledge of the language, due to the fact that I managed to turn nearly every conversation into a Korean lesson, but I still didn? gain the level of proficiency I had hoped for.
The family I stayed with was really nice. I was kind of surprised, because I had expected them to all be able to speak English, but using a dictionary, context, and sometimes a bit of body language, I think we got along pretty well. I got to be good friends with Sang Me, and although we were both busy most of the time, me with my research, and Sang Me with school, we had some fun together. Everyone in the family was really sweet and concerned for my wellbeing, and wanted to make sure I had everything I needed.
The food posed another immediate challenge for me. I had only ever had Korean food once before coming to the country, and so I was not familiar with it at all. Most of the time food would be put in front of me and I wouldn? even know what it was. Now, this wouldn? be that big an issue, except that I keep the rules of Kosher, which is eating restrictions imposed by Jewish religion, which among other things forbid the consumption of pork and shellfish. Another problem was that I didn? know how to use chopsticks, and so for a long time I made a spectacle of myself during every meal. Consequently, I ended up eating a lot slower than I normally do until I got the hang of it. I like chopsticks now that I can actually use them. I bought a set and took them back home with me to the United States, and now I use them every once in a while. I wanted to teach my family to use them, but that didn? quite happen.
It was cool staying in Daegu, since Florida, where I live, is completely flat, so it was nice to look outside the window at school and see mountains. It was nice to be able to not drive all that far and actually get to climb one. I enjoyed the trips I went on during my stay. I liked visiting Kyong Ju, and Seoul, and probably most of all Jeju Island. I even took an insane amount of pictures, which is very uncharacteristic of me.
One of the best things was all the friends that I made during my stay. I mean, not many people here in the U.S. can say that they have friends in Korea. Plus, several people told me that they were planning on making a trip to the U.S. at some point sooner or later, so I think it would be really neat to have someone visit me and return the same hospitality that everyone in Korea showed me. I? be excited to show them various sites, and share with them a part of my life, just like they did for me.
I plan on coming back to Korea, at some point, to visit all the friends I?e made, and also just because it? be nice to visit some of the places again, but it probably won? be for another long time. One reason, is that a trip like that is extremely expensive, and it will be a while before I can fund such an excursion, and the other reason, is that I haven? given up studying Korean yet, so I? continuing it here, and I think it would be really helpful to be more familiar with the language and have some working knowledge of it before I get back. Although I missed my family and was excited to get home, it was kind of disappointing to leave, because I would miss all the people I had grown accustomed to seeing every day. But, theres always next time.
저작권자 © 영남대학교 언론출판문화원 무단전재 및 재배포 금지