This is a really late post because I’ve been traveling around. Having to use VPN doesn’t help either. However, this will be my last ‘summary’ post for the UCEAP Yonsei program. My stay at Yonsei ended on December 22nd and I miss it very, very much.
The last week at Yonsei consisted of one goodbye dinner after another. My friends all left at different times and we visited all our favorite spots for the last time-including the Gongcha nearest to Yonsei with the 10% student discount. Seoul must have been sad too since it was pouring rain. It was so bad that my friend’s umbrella broke and we ended up sitting in the subway station eating cup chicken. We ordered take out for the last time, and seeing that we were in our pjs and freezing our asses off, the delivery ahjussi let us go (with a service of mandu too!) even though we owed him ₩1,000.
We visited our favorite salad place in Edae and watched as they tore down the building next door. Finally, we went to Yeouido and ice skated outdoors for the first time in our lives, and realized that our old bones couldn’t take the physical exertion anymore (this dude skated past us doing flips and turns around five times before we completed a lap). Of course, we couldn’t leave without visiting Times Square one more time and we met our first celebrity while in Korea (not including concerts), Jennifer Lawrence…we were hoping to see a Korean star.
We also visited a few more cafes including Seungri’s mom’s cafe (shout out to Cinnie, my Big Bang fangirl for taking us to that hella cool art district) and another cat cafe near Hongdae where we lived our cat lady dreams one last time.
Our last week, we also visited the two other ‘SKY’ universities, Seoul National and Korea University. Their campuses were A+++ but I still like Yonsei the most, location and appearance wise. Seoul National was super modern and large are really reminded me of UCI’s campus and Korea University was really cool in its juxtaposition between old and new architectural styles, but the architecture was a little medieval and scary to us. After shouting Yonsei and cawing a few times, we left the campus and went to Dongdaemun for Gwangjang Market (광장시장) for some live octopus and jeon (전) or Korean pancakes. The octopus was good and not disgusting at all but it took too much effort to eat because you had to fight with the food and the pancakes were super delicious. We had came to the market at the beginning of the semester unfamiliar with the food and not knowing a lot of Korean, but now that we know more, the market has a lot more to offer than we thought before.
Finally, we went one last time to Myeongdong, the tourist trap (ps. prices for cosmetics differ according to location so try avoiding touristy spots when buying them!), to enjoy overpriced street food and the Innisfree Cafe. We got to go on a date with Lee Minho (five girls in one day wow what a player) and made a mess on our table because of the speaker craft they had at the cafe (so not our fault and we cleaned it up) and me spilling my really yummy ade all over.
Yonsei was an amazing opportunity and experience for me. It was a well organized program that allowed me to learn a multitude of things, not only academically but practically as well. I was able to meet many great friends and eternally grateful to the UCEAP staff here for providing so many fun activities. Korea made me a pro at navigating and planning trips. It made me reach far past my comfort zone. Learning the language as well has made me more confident, more proud that I can now figure things out by myself. I was able to explore such a range of foods, see so many different sides of Korea within and outside of Seoul. The classes allowed to learn histories and social dynamics I would have never understood living outside of the country. I was able to meet people from different backgrounds, from the people I met at the hostels we lived in to our LE buddy. This program has definitely expanded my horizons and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. Korea allowed me to mature a little more and I am glad I decided to participate in this program. Goodbye Yonsei and see you in the future too!