Let Classes Begin

The first week of clases started off with an early 9 AM class. Although back at Linfield I’m used to afternoon  classes, this 9 AM gave me the chance for an early enough start and a pretty relaxed schedule. Starting the week off with Law and Justice, my professor made a remark that really resonated with me.

“It is up to us to study the law, and then it is also up to us to determine if that law is just.”

As a political science major, I was interested in learning about law and justice, but studying abroad has given me a unique opportunity to learn about the laws in Korea, while living in Korea. This course also fueled my desire to go to Law School and continue my education. Overall, I’m really excited about not only that course but my other courses that I’m taking while I’m here. Those are, as mentioned Law and Justice, Korean 1, Philosophy of East Asian Literature, and International Relations of the Korean Peninsula.

After the first week of class, reality begun to hit! I was here, living, studying, eating, in a completely different continent, in a completely different culture. I was talking to a friend and she said that the newness wore off and she had begun to experience homesickness. Although, homesickness hasn’t hit me quite yet, I understood. The first week in Seoul, or what me and other kids called “Week Zero,” was almost like vacation. It was enough time for us to enjoy and explore the city. After this week though, there was a new found understanding. Being abroad doesn’t mean that we don’t have responsibilities, it just implies we can experience new adventures while maintaining accountability for our responsibilities.

This week, although all my friends and I were busy with classes, homework, and everything else that comes along with being a student we did find the time for Korean BBQ.  All you can eat Korean BBQ is one of the many delicious meals that is great for big or small groups and is very filling.

All You Can Eat Korean BBQ with plenty side dishes for our table.
All You Can Eat Korean BBQ with plenty of side dishes for our table.

This week also brought a lot of rain that reminded me of Oregon! But here, unfortunately, with a lot rain it’s also really humid. I’m not a huge fan.  This Saturday there’s a typhoon in Korea, so the sports festival was cancelled. And students are advised to stay indoors, so this Saturday everyone designated as a homework and nap day.

I’ll try to take more pictures soon!



Kia Ora Everyone!

It’s time for mid-terms at Otago and everyone is spending lots of time in the library! I had a foundations exam, a 2,000-word essay, and two 1,500-word essays. The exam was for my Maori 101 class and since there are so many students in that class they split the groups into 5 different test locations. My location was for students that had last names starting with A-B and had about 200 students. The exam had 45 multiple choice questions, and the questions were shown on a powerpoint presentation for 30 seconds each. You also had to bring your student ID to prove you were currently attending the University.

At a study break one day we went to a rugby game. The game was really fun even though I had no idea what the rules were! It was so impressive to watch them tackle each other without any padding and not get injured. The game was for a trophy between the Otago team and the Southland team. The stadium was pretty full and got really loud with the cheering! The atmosphere was very similar to a professional football game in the U.S.

Rugby Game
Study break at a Rugby game!

The weekend before mid-terms my flatmates and some of our other friends went to Te Anau. We left Friday night and drove through a rainstorm to get there. It took about 3 and a half hours and then we checked into the Backpackers Lodge located right in front of the lake. We stayed up playing cards and listening to music before separating into our different rooms to sleep. The next morning we were supposed to go on a cruise through Milford Sound but it got canceled due to weather conditions. Instead, we went to Queenstown, which was beautiful! The drive there was amazing and worth the whole road trip. The road was winding through the mountains and along the river until you pulled into Queenstown where you were surrounded by mountain ranges.

Viewpoint on the way to Queenstown

When we got to Queenstown we went to a park along the water and made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. After that, we took a Gondola to the top of Queenstown and rode luges. Luges are similar to a one-person sled with wheels and brakes. It was beautiful to ride the luges down the hill and see the views of the city!

View from top of Lookout
View of Queenstown from the top of the lookout
Ready, Set, Luge!

Before heading back to our hostel we got dinner at a really good restaurant in the K-mart parking lot. And when we got back to Te Anau we went to a gas station and got ice cream as dessert. The next morning we got up early and made breakfast in the kitchen before checking out and driving to the Kepler Track. We ended up only hiking for about two hours since it started snowing pretty hard. However, the forest became even more beautiful as it got covered in snow and was totally worth it!

Kepler Track covered in snow
The Kepler Track covered in snow!
My flatmates for the semester!
My Flatmates first snow angel!
My Flatmate’s first snow angel!

After hiking we went to the grocery store to get more food for lunch and then made the road trip home. When we got back we bargained for who got to shower first and then we all went to bed early that night.

The thing that is getting me and others through mid-terms is knowing mid-semester break is coming! Juliet, some other friends and I are going to the North Island for some warmer weather hopefully!