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Journals from Yonsei University, Korea

2009-09-17 Cultural Assumptions and Mentor’s Club

Today was spent mostly taking care of things on campus. Having a Mac I had to go to someplace on main campus to get my wireless hooked up. Good news is that instead of having to get a new password every month like the PC kids do, I am set up through the semester. Bad news is that I ended up having to carry my laptop around for most of the afternoon while we did some shopping. The bookstore here is heaven for nerds who love school supplies like me. There were soo many notebooks and pens to choose from! Luckily I was with another fellow nerd who didnt mind spending lots of time trying to pick out just the right one. The most important buy was an alarm clock. Usually I just use my cellphone, but I dont want to keep charging it just for that. I found a dandy one that lights up like the Water Cube for less than $4. It is obnoxious sounding as all get out, but I guess thats the point. On the way back we looped around the outside of the campus to try to find a place for lunch and a grocery store and the bakery I had been wanting to try. I bought breakfast for the next two days for about $2.50. One of them turned out to have the red bean paste on the inside of a sugary-ish doughnut thing, sort of the best thing ever. We saw a sign for a 6,000W lunch that included dessert right near the East entrance so decided on there for lunch. The thing Ive noticed so far is that the sign may say one price, but you get inside and it is definitely a higher one being charged. And not really having the language skills to ask about it yet, I kind of just go with it. The place was really nice, though; the chairs were very comfortable couches and it had a nice view. We were all enjoying the music and laughing at how they only brought our Asian looking friend chopsticks when they turned on some English pop. Cute that they wanted to make us feel more at home and all, but we were definitely enjoying things as they were. Oh well, the place did have a killer kimchi fried rice. I had to leave lunch early because there was a Mentors Club meeting where I was supposed to meet my Yonsei student. Naturally there would be a torrential downpour as I was trying to run across campus. Thank god I stopped off at my dorm and grabbed a rain jacket, though; otherwise I would have spent the rest of the day see-through and all-around rather unhappy. I finally made it to the meeting, and as it turns out we were going out to dinner. Good news is that the place was a really good, inexpensive Chinese place nearby (which I had been dying to find). It was a lot of fun, though, because this was the first time that a large number of students had the opportunity to get together. After dinner we went to the Heidelburg House and took over the top floor with all of the groups. Pretty soon thereafter out came these HUGE insulated pitchers of beer. Now Im no connoisseur, but I will say that Korean beer leaves much to be desired. On draft Cass tastes like PBR in a can. It is weak enough to taste practically like water, so even I could bear to drink it. Drinking here is a rather big part of the student culture. There are many games that involve a lot of shouting and high levels of consumption. It was kind of funny to look around the room and see the different toasts and games being played from all over the world. After stopping at the I-House to change really quickly, a bunch of us headed back out to Sinchon for the night. We ended up running into our Mentors again and meeting more people. Ashley Price Yonsei University Fall '09

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