Week 15 – Exploring Korean History

Read all the exciting things our scholars have been up to!

My friend moved in with me this week. It is our first weekend together and because of the limited amount of time we have together we decided to share our top “must do activities in Seoul” lists together and try to make a plan for every weekend. This week we wanted to visit some historical sites and a traditional craft market we had heard about. On our way to our first location we stumbled upon a museum called the Korean Folk Music Museum. It was housed in what appeared to be a traditional style Korean house called a Hanok which we thought was beautiful and drew us towards wanting to go in. But the final decision was made when we found out it was free…
I am glad we went inside because I took a Korean Traditional Music and Culture course last semester. Wandering through the museum I recognized many of the songs and explored new styles I hadn’t learned about. The museum itself was creatively built with speakers, headphones, motion activated music, and so many more interactive displays. It did not feel tiring to go through it, it was fun. We only spent about 30 minutes to an hour there before wandering back outside and heading to our actual destination, Changdeokgung. Changdeokgung is one of Seoul’s 5 grand palaces. We decided to visit this palace because of their famous secret garden which can only be visited when attending a guided tour. There were only Korean language tours left for the day, so we didn’t understand everything that was said, but it seems the royal family enjoyed this palace immensely for the garden in the summertime. But what I enjoyed the most was the architecture and the rich colors that the palace was painted.
Overall, it was a great day of exploring Korean traditional culture and history. I have always believed that it is essential to understand a country’s culture by studying its history. There is so much that can be explained about how people in a country behave, by their shared history. This day was a great way to see that at play. This is also a great thing to learn as someone who wants to work internationally or in a multinational setting!