When studying abroad you want to get the most out of your time spent in another country. This means visiting places where you are as well as anywhere close by. Normally travelling to Asia is expensive, but most of that expense resides in the cost to get there and not the cost to stay or explore.
Within Korea I took a weekend trip, with the program I was a part of, to Busan. We took the bullet train to Busan and went straight to BIFF Square. There the group of us walked around trying the many food stalls, as well as, checking out the shops in the area. The next day, we went on Songdo Cable Cars to the Songdo Skywalk Bridge. There was a beautiful view from the clear glass bottoms on the cars. The Skywalk bridge also had clear bottom to get a get view of the sea from the edge of the mountain it was on. Normally begin so high up with a clear bottom to see how far I could fall out of something would scare me, but my friends and I started singing songs, like we were at karaoke to ease our fear. Busan is also famous for Gamcheon Culture Village. This place houses traditional homes that you can walk around and look at. It also has many craft shops with handmade crafts, like paintings. I personally purchased a stamp that has my name in Korean on it and a beautiful tree engraved in the shaft of it.
Busan was a lot of fun, but it is a 6-hour train ride from Seoul, which can be expensive and mean more of a weekend trip than a day trip. For a day trip my friends and I went to Nami Island and Wolmido, on separate days. South Korea has many islands that are connected by bridges to the mainland. Nami Island has a zipline or ferry that you can take to get there from the parking lot, and once there you can bike ride, pet animals, and do crafts. It is a beautiful place to walk around and has a café with wonderful food to try, like Hotteok. Wolmido has more of a Coney Island kind of vibe. There are places to play carnival games and even things like archery. It also has fair rides, like ship that swings back and forth. The ride we went for was the DiscoPang, it is a ride that America does not have and takes a great deal of arm strength. I left that day with blisters on my hands from trying not to fall off.
These places take a while to travel to by public transportation, but they are worth the trip. My friend and I took a 2-hour bus ride to Everland, and amusement park. And Wolmido is also a 2-hour trip with the bus and subway. But in these areas, you get to see other people that travel to get there and have different kinds of fun. Even though the ride is long the contentment you feel on the way back makes it all worth it.
I also took trips to Thailand and Japan with my friends and family, but I will talk about that in another journal. :)