Hi guys, sorry for not posting in a long time, I have actually been pretty busy since school has just started. Actually today, Friday, marks the end of my 2nd week of school. Since I have been neglecting my updates, I will try and explain everything that has happened so far.
Here, is my schedule. I will be taking 5 classes (There are 6 classes in the picture but I am actually dropping Electric Circuits 2). Of my 5 classes, 2, are unfortunately in Korean. Thankfully, one of the classes is based 100% on attendance and the other one has English powerpoints and tests. Being in classes in POSTECH is not really that different than being in classes back in the USA. I guess the only difference is that instead of me being a regular student I am one of the foreigners. Now that I have the perspective of being a foreigner I think I can really sympathize with the the international students that are back at my home school.
One of the biggest and most obvious barriers is language. Knowing of this barrier is completely different from experiencing this barrier especially in Korea. There are two ways you can become deemed, one is obviously skin color and the other is not knowing the language. Once someone is perceived as a foreigner(usually if you can not speak the language), that person usually gets stuck in what I saw as the “foreigner bubble”. This is where foreigners end up only hanging out with other foreigners for most of the time rather than integrating themselves with the rest of Korea. This is what I was afraid of and what I experienced in the first week of school. The only people that talked to me were the other foreigners. I began to think that Korean people just did not like hanging out with foreigners…….. but boy was I wrong. Thank the Lord.
I am very selfish and self-centered. I was just waiting for another Korean student to just talk to me first. I put no effort into trying to engage them myself. My narrow-minded view prohibited me from thinking about how the other Koreans felt. After investigating and talking to many of the students, I found out that the Korean people are all just very shy people and they really appreciate it when a foreigner comes and speaks to them first. I learned that they are all super friendly and fun people and that all that is necessary is for you yourself to take that first step to engage them. This step led me to meeting many awesome people.
Instead of spending my time sitting on my bum, I took the initiative to meet new people and joined the club, AD-LIB. This club is basically a drama club and shows plays at least once a semester. I attended their first meeting of this semester and it was a blast. Before, during, and after the meeting they were super welcoming and accommodating. After the meeting they told me that they were going to have food and Soju(Korean alcohol) delivered to us. They were super excited to share this delivery food with me because they told me that delivery food is a must when in Korea. During this mini party, we all laughed, played, and talked together. We had a very good time as you can see below.
Korean people are very social because not two day later they invited me to their weekly lunch time get together. They told me that every week they order a different delivery food and that I have to come so I could taste all of it. So I came and I so well. I ate Cheese Dokboki, sun-dae, and dumplings. After lunch someone brought Baskin Robbins Ice Cream for everyone. I really enjoyed my time with the AD-LIB club and I plan on staying in this club during my entire stay in POSTECH.
Another very fun thing that happened this past week happened at the log cabin. The log cabin is basically just an on campus bar. Last night my German and French friends and I went to the log cabin to drink and play beer pong. Well we did exactly that except after that we assimilated ourselves with the Korean groups that were there. Instead of rejecting us, they received us with open arms.
I could tell that they were all curious about us and wanted to have a fun time with us as well. So we all talked, played drinking games, and had a very fun time.
My experiences in the club and at the log cabin rekindled my fire to learn Korean as fast as I can because I really want to participate fully in the activities of my club members and my new Korean friends. Because I can really see that I am definitely still a foreigner and not yet Korean.