Events

The Herd Mentality

love locks seoul

The famous love locks on the fence overlooking the city of Seoul.

I have officially been fully moved into my dorm at Yonsei University for 3 full days. Everything is put away (at least for now) and I am happy to call SK Global dormitory my new home for the next 6 weeks.

From last Tuesday – Thursday, I was away on a pre-program field trip with about 150 other Yonsei students. The trip gave us a chance to see some sights and meet new people. We made pottery at Icheon, toured a Korean Folk Village, explored Nami Island, ran around like children at a gigantic water park, ate tons of food, went up Namsan Seoul Tower, and had a grand old time in the evenings (photos to come). All in all, it was a pretty amazing trip and I’d highly recommend it to any future YISS student.

The hotel we stayed at was the Vivaldi Park resort and I couldn’t believe they were actually putting us up there: the rooms were spacious with two double beds, a kitchenette, a balcony, full bath, and plenty of space. The basement floor had a karaoke bar, pub, bowling alley, restaurants, carnival rides, coffee shops, and much more. Needless to say, we all immensely enjoyed the experience but luck was on my side when it came to rooming. The rooms were all intended to be for two people, organized by last name within your bus. I, by some stroke of good luck, got paired with a male roommate and when the guides realized their error, I got the gigantic two-person condo to myself. Unfortunately, it seemed that my air conditioner was malfunctioning so, on the second day, someone had to come and repair it for about an hour. You win some, you lose some, I suppose!

Since moving into the dorms, I’ve been exploring the area around the school with friends, eating all there is to eat, and trekking around in the astonishing heat: it’s been marvelous.

If I had one qualm about the past three days, it isn’t the fact that my dorm is a long walk from the subway stop, it isn’t the heat that makes those walks harder, and it isn’t the lack of WiFi everywhere. It’s the fact that the field trip has set us into a herd mentality. We are all clinging to the friends we made on the field trip (because we are familiar with each other and made some great friendships) and haven’t really branched out to the other 1,000+ kids in this program. We also feel the need to travel in packs of 15 to go eat or to do much of anything, which can get a little frustrating.

Clarification: I love the friends I’ve made here more than I ever thought I could after only 6 days. I really enjoy all 15 people in whatever giant, loud, pack of people walking through downtown Seoul I may be in at the time. I would just rather not have to enjoy them all at the same exact time. It’s hard to make decisions and it’s hard to get everyone to move at an operable pace (you all know I’m a fast walker who slows down for no one). In addition, a lot of people here seem to be very averse to the long walks necessary to get much of anywhere, but it’s just another part of life here in Seoul and I rather enjoy it! It is conducive to people watching, getting to know the area, getting used to the heat, and working on my tan (I intend to come home five shades darker than when I got here).

I begin classes on Tuesday (refer to the FAQ for which classes I’m taking) and I honestly cannot wait. I think they’re going to be incredibly interesting and a great way to meet even more people. I have encountered people from all over the world from all walks of life, all with different things bringing them to Korea. But we’re all here now and we’re all working towards the same goal for the next 6 weeks, and that is the herd mentality I want to be in. Stay tuned to hear all about it.

Side note: My Korean is getting better every day! My favorite people to practice on are cab drivers, in case you wanted to know.

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