Hello everyone! I’ve been in Korea for about 14 days now and I’ve got to say, every day has been a great opportunity to learn new things and open my mind. My dormitory is located in Anam-ro, which is one of the more ethnically homogenous (besides other international students) suburbs of Seoul. Koreans have been very nice and welcoming, and are very well mannered in public/on campus. One of the first things I noticed was the difference in social interaction compared to the states. In the US I’m accustomed to usually acknowledging others near me when walking in public, but it seems in Korea it’s almost rude to do so. Most walk by each other without saying a word and consciously avoiding eye contact. My hypothesis is that due to the high population density it would be cumbersome to do so, so most walk around as if they’re alone. Although, this might also be a smaller town vs big city difference that I haven’t experienced before, so I’m not quite sure yet.
Now the fun stuff, food! My first thoughts on Kimchi were that it’s very salty and sour, and it seems to mostly be used as a side dish with other foods. There’s a diverse array of restaurants with many different cuisines and styles. So far in terms of Korean food I’ve tried bulgogi (thinly sliced marinated beef), tteokbokki (a spongy rice cake served in spicy chili pepper sauce), kalguksu soup (thick noodles with sliced vegetables and mild sauce), and kimchi dumplings. I’m heading to the beach at Busan next week so I’m looking forward to trying more Korean seafood dishes.