Don’t we all love it when midterm week rolls around and everyone is running around on two hours of sleep and coffee induced hyperactivity? Me neither. I am writing this because I think most people, including myself, can get very wrapped up in the whole experience of studying abroad and we kind of momentarily forget about the whole “studying” part.
Let me tell you, midterm week while abroad will most likely be very similar to midterm week at your home university. The main difference I can identify here is that while back home in the United States most people study either on campus or at home, everyone, and I really do mean everyone, here in Korea goes to Cafes to study. I have joined in on the trend, since I have noticed I am more efficient when studying in a Cafe than in my room. The reason being that in my room I am very easily distracted, and sometimes find myself on my phone for an entire hour before I know it.
I have, however, been diligently studying for the past two weeks and I have only one midterm left this week. I took my Korean midterm today and I am proud to say that I think I did quite well. I am amazed at how much my Korean proficiency has been improving over the course of my stay here in Korea. Your proficiency really does improve without even noticing it. It has become a normal part of my routine to the point that I will be having a conversationwith someone only in Korean for ten minutes before I realize it. It is truly rewarding to know that the time I have put into studying and practicing Korean has actually paid off.
Enough about tests, right? Let’s talk about more fun things! After midterms me and my friends are taking a four-day trip to the city of Daegu near the southern tip of South Korea. The city is very close, an hour or so, away from the city of Busan, which I already visited last semester. From Seoul it is around two hours by the KTX, which is South Korea’s fastest train. Also, we are gonna visit the city of Gyeongju, which is right next to Daegu, during our trip. Gyeongju used to be Korea’s capital during the Silla Kingdom.
Because it used to be the capital, it is known as a cultural hub in Korea. The city has a very old, traditional feel to it and it is known as the “museum without walls”. This city is a must if you want to truly experience what the “old” Korea was like, as it is a city truly rich in culture and historical significance. The place I am the most excited about visiting in Gyeongju is Tumuli-Gongwon, which is a park that has 23 tombs from Silla monarchs and their families. Sounds a little creepy, I know, but the park is beautiful because with the way the tombs were built it looks like a park full of small grass-covered hills. In Daegu the place I am looking forward to visiting the most is Donghwasa Temple, where there is a Buddha statue that is seventeen meters tall! Definitely, visiting these two cities will be the perfect way to de-stress after midterm week. Cannot wait!