A trip to Busan

After midterms, a friend and I decided to take a trip to Busan, which is in the south of Korea. It was a nice weekend getaway from the busy Seoul life. And it was just what I needed after midterms. Although it was a weekend getaway, it was full of exploring, walking, and trying new things.  First, we headed to the Busan Tower. The view from the top of the tower is absolutely stunning, showing the whole city of Busan.

View of the city of Busan around a bay from the Busan Tower
View from the Busan Tower

While at the Busan Tower, a friend and I decided to try on a hanbok, which is traditional Korean  clothing for semi formal or formal occasions. This type of clothing dates back to the Joseon Dynasty period which was from 1392 to 1897.  The hanbok that I wore had made me feel like true princes, I had never in my life worn something so beautiful. It’s pretty custom that Koreans and foreigners alike rent the hanbok’s for a short period of time and take pictures. Since we were at the Busan Tower, it was perfect place to take pictures.

girl dressed in Korean Traditional Clothing called a hanbok.
Dressed in a hanbok, which is traditional Korean clothing.
The Busan Tower stands behinds female student wearing traditional Korean clothing.
Wearing traditional Korean clothing with the tall and proud Busan Tower behind me.
View of the metropolitan city of Busan, Korea, taken from the Busan Tower.
Looking at the view from the top of the Busan Tower.

We also visited the Yeongdo Lighthouse, which is a historical sight where the lighthouse provided a beacon of light to ships around Busan Port for over a hundred years. The air was fresh and luckily we got to see the lighthouse when the sun was out and shining.

Yeongdo Lighthouse
Yeongdo Lighthouse

One of my favorite spots to visit was the Busan Gamcheon Culture village. The tourist guide explained that the Culture Village was once a popular place for war refugees to settle in after the Korean War. Also known as the “Machu Picchu” of Korea, the village is full of paintings and murals on the walls and now has become a very popular tourist attraction. With cafes, shops, and many more businesses filling the area.

Culture Village, or also known as the Machu Picchu of Korea.
Culture Village, or also known as the Machu Picchu of Korea.
Student standing on balcony with the Culture Villlage in the background.
The beautiful and colorful Culture Village.

Overall, my trip to Busan was absolutely exhausting but it was so worth it. It was nice to get away from one of the busiest cities in the world and enjoy the beach and the breeze.

Ill update as soon as I can,


Chuseok Weekend

This year, Chuseok weekend landed on Friday, September 13th. This holiday is also known as Korean Thanksgiving and it’s celebrated for three days. The day before was Thursday the 12th, and the day after was Saturday the 14th.  Me and my friends used this four day weekend to check a few things off out “bucket list” of tourist attractions.

One of the first things we did was check out Gwangjang Market. This was recommended to us by one of our Korean friends that said it was a great place to shop around a bit and had a lot of great food options. Throughout the market there various Korean foods like mandu which are Korean dumplings. Plus fried chicken, bindae-tteok (Korean fried pancake), fishcake,  gimbap (rice rolls, Korean sushi), and live squid! Although my friends and I were feeling adventurous, we weren’t feeling THAT adventurous. We decided to eat dumplings from Yoonsun Cho’s stand. You might recognize the name if you’ve watch Netflix’s Street Food. Yoonsun Cho and her famous dishes were featured for the episode that Netflix did regarding street food in Korea. And reputation upheld, her dumplings were delicious in flavor and as was her dumpling soup.

Gwangjang Market, a market of delicious food, drinks, and a famous trourist attarctions.
The entrance of Gwangjang Market.
Manduguk (Korean Dumlping Soup)
Yoonsun Cho’s Korean Dumlping soup.
The small banner by the dumlping stand.
Netflix’s Street Food banner at Yoonsun Cho’s dumpling stand.

The next thing my friends and I did was visit the Sky Tower, or also known as Lotte World Tower.  Now that I look back on it, its kind of funny. We thought that because it was a holiday weekend that this attraction was going to be relatively empty. Well after making some stops at arcade, shopping, and getting distracted immensely we finally found the line for the tower. Unfortunately, it was a two hour wait. Every foreigner must have thought what we thought and headed to the Tower on that weekend for the same reasons. So, my friends and I decided to actually go on the tower another time, and watch the view from the outside.

Lotte World Tower
Lit up Lotte world Tower.
My friends and I behind the tower, and large cat.
Behind my friends and I, the tower and a large Cat.

Chuseok weekend was unlike my other weekends. There was a lot packed into four days and come that Sunday I was exhausted. But, it was well worth it. It also started to rain a bit during this weekend, it made me smile and think of home.

Diana Naranjo

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!


First Week in Seoul

The first week in Seoul was the perfect time to explore the city and get to know the area around us. One of the experiences that I enjoyed the most was taking in the city life. It really is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Mapo-gu, Seogyo-dong
Mapo-gu, Seogyo-dong

Seeing the vibrancy of the city, the people, and the energy of it all was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I think the beauty of these moments is knowing that because it is so new to me I can take in the beauty of what may seem like mundane moment like this.

One of my other favorite experiences this week was when a group of us international students decided to try a Korean night club. We all went to a club that’s called NB2, and it was a lot of fun. All the local people that we ended up meeting were really nice and helpful when we had questions. And although the language barrier is hard to deal with, everyone no matter what loves to dance! And NB2 was a pretty great place for that.

Outside of NB2
Outside of NB2

We also decided to go shopping, and try restaurants near by and some classic Korean foods that were recommended to us by the locals. Overall my first week in Seoul was a lot of fun and exploration, and now I’m excited to start my classes & meet my classmates.