Culture Abroad: First Days in Seoul

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Good morning!
My study abroad program begins today and I am super excited to share my first day in Seoul, South Korea with you!
Before I start sharing, I want to give you a little background story about myself, for example, why did I choose Seoul over other places? Seoul has always been a city that attracts me because of its fashion, culture, food, and the influence of k-pop culture. I personally think the best way to learn about a city is to live there for a certain period of time. To me, traveling is a good way to see the different sights a city has to offer, but there usually isn't enough time for one to really experience and learn about the city. When you live in a city for a long time, you are able to visit more places in a less tight schedule as well as pick up the language that is used locally. On the other hand, I think study abroad is a must for college students - you will be able to befriend people from different cultures and see yourself in a different perspective. With all these reasons, I applied for Rutgers study abroad program in South Korea, and luckily, I was accepted.
I landed at Incheon International Airport in the afternoon and by the time I arrived at Ewha Womans University, it was evening. Ewha Womans University is one of the most prestigious universities in South Korea; one of the unique things about Ewha is the school only accepts female students, except for during the international summer session (which is the session I am attending). The school is decent in size, not as big as Rutgers though. There are new buildings on campus. However, the designs of the new buildings do not stand out. Instead, they echo with the outlooks of the older buildings, which makes the campus really beautiful. Here is the view of Ewha Womans University from the main gate of the campus:
20130705_155307Some snapshots of Ewha Womans University:

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After settling in, I headed over to Myeong-Dong(명동), one of the main shopping areas in Seoul, where you can find the newest items and the most up-to-date fashion trends. If you are a shopaholic or a “make-upholic” like me, Myeong-Dong is a place you cannot miss.Korean cosmetic brands have good repetitions in the cosmetic market - they produce high quality products and the prices are relatively reasonable. If you are a huge fan of korean cosmetic brands, I will definitely recommend you to purchase the items in Myeong-Dong. The perks of buying cosmetic products in Myeong-Dong is you will receive a great amount of cosmetic samples depending on how much you spent.

If you are not into shopping, no worries, you can still have a lot of fun visiting Myeong-Dong. There are a lot of great Korean restaurants and cafes in Myeong-Dong.

No matter you like shopping or not, Myeong-Dong is one place that you cannot miss in Seoul.
For my first meal in Seoul, I had Bibimbap (비빔밥) - bibimbap means mixed rice in Korean. The rice is mixed with several kinds of vegetables and hot sauce, sometimes there are eggs and meat in it as well. You have to stir the toppings with the rice before eating it. In summer time, the rice is usually served with cold vegetables. In winter time, bibimbap is served in a heated stone bowl to keep the rice warm. Bibimbap is one of my favorite Korean food. I had it in the States before, but the one I had tonight is a totally different story. The Bibimbap I had tonight was delicious plus it was cheap compared to the States. You can tell how good it tastes by looking at the picture:
IMG_20130707_213209After dinner, I did some shopping in the area. When I was leaving, I saw the famous N Seoul Tower. The tower was lit up and the view was stunning.

20130624_212701I will say my first day in Seoul went really well even though I do not speak any Korean; there were issues when I was trying to order food and purchase stuff, which freaked me out a little bit. Luckily, I overcame those issues. The whole city is very energetic with breathtaking views. I can’t wait to see and experience what this city offers!

Katrina

xoxo