Reflection on Quarantine Life in South Korea

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~ As my time in quarantine is almost up, I wanted to share with you guys my quarantine food experience in South Korea. My study abroad program was through ISA at Korea University and on the day of arrival, we were quarantined at JK Blossom Hotel. My meal plan was the vegetarian option, and I received my meals 3 times a day.

Reflection: Did you survive quarantine food?

~In terms of survival, I survived the first week of quarantine food. However, I started to realize a lot of the foods were being rotated around, and sometimes I would even get the same breakfast for 3 days in a row. While in quarantine, I was not able to change my meal plan nor ask for an alternation to my meals. I simply had to eat what was given to me. While I have to say, most of the food was mediocre, the portion size was pretty decent as I was given just enough carbs and protein throughout the day.

Reflection: What was the toughest part about quarantine?

~The toughest part about quarantine was the “no waste” policy in South Korea. As most people are not aware, South Korea is huge on recycling. Since there are not many open spaces in South Korea to dump their trash, the country has been promoting recycling more. This has caused citizens to become more responsible with their trash. While in my quarantine hotel, I was given 3 different color bags for my disposable items. The yellow bag is only for food waste, while the white is for recyclable waste, and the blue is true trash. With the “no waste” policy implemented, I quickly learned the idea of not wasting food as I would back in the states. Even the food that I dislike, consume it to avoid the stress of separating my disposables.

Reflection: What is something valuable you learn while reflecting in quarantine.

~While quarantine life is not the best part about studying abroad during covid-19, I would say I actually appreciate the 2 weeks of quarantine. These 2 weeks have given me time to think about my mental health and plan my goals and schedules throughout this year. I feel like being in quarantine actually prepares me mentally for cultural shock and other things I might encounter here in Seoul. Quarantine also helped me regain back the sleep that I was deprived of back in the United States.

Reflection: What are some tips you recommend to survive quarantine life in South Korea?

~Please, Please, Please bring detergent! Since you can not leave your hotel room, the only laundry you will be doing is the old fashion hand washing technique. Due to the fact that I did not bring detergent, I was hand washing all of my clothes with soap and body wash. It would also be smart to bring extra clothes hangers since the hotel I was staying in only gave me 2 of them. If you usually eat a lot, I would recommend bringing snacks. However, don’t forget the “no waste” policy in which you would have a lot of trash piling up in your room. If I was you, I would prevent that as it can easily attract bugs into your room, and in general, it makes your room stink, which is not a pleasant experience. Lastly, download a lot of things to watch and bring something you enjoy.