Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why Korea?

Hi everyone,

I know it's kind of early, because I'll be going to South Korea in two months, but I would like to make an introduction of myself before leaving. This will save me time when I'm probably trying to recover from my major jetlag. O.o

My name is Abdi and I'm a Tourism student from the Netherlands, Europe. I'm studying at Hogeschool INHolland Haarlem. I'll be attending the prestigious Yonsei University in Seoul from the end of August till December 2010.

I hope my blog can help other students in the future in deciding whether to come to Korea or Yonsei University. And of course I also want to share my experiences with my family and friends.

Well many people ask me why Korea? My answers mostly goes like this: Why not? Most people don't know much about Korea. And to be honest I had to do some research myself. We were given the option to choose between many countries such as:

France, Germany, Estonia, Italy, Sweden, Australia, Argentina, The United States of America, China, Spain, Turkey, England etc.

But when I saw South Korea on the list I was intrigued. I had an image of all of the countries listed, but I practically knew nothing about South Korea.

The more I looked into it, the more I had an image of this country. This country is fascinating. The Republic of Korea is called Asia's best kept ''secret'' and is the 15th largest economy of the world. That is a great achievement considering it was a third world country before the 1960's. The Korean War ('50-'53) devastated the country and eventually led to the separation of North and South Korea.

South Korea is famous for taekwondo, kimchi ( spicy cabbage ), Korean drama and Korean pop music, a.k.a. K-Pop. But it's also famous in technology. Brands such as Kia, Daewoo, Hyundai, LG Corp and Samsung are Korean. It's a very competetive country. Especially in schools and universities. Most parents want their kids in the best schools possible, but in Korea the standard is very high. I'll be attending Yonsei University, because my grades are good (not the best). But in Korea getting a grade lower than an A is considered a failure. This country also has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, 97.9%. That is amazing!

Korea is also one of the most westernized Asian countries. Strangely enough I heard they're not that fluent in English. Let's wait and see before I come to false conclusions. They love American stuff like baseball, Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts and there are plenty more examples where that came from. It is one of the most homogenous countries in the world. So I'm pretty sure I'll be stared and gazed at by many people in Korea, lol.

Religion wise Korea is very diverse. According to CIA Factbook, Korea mainly consists out of :
Christians : 26.3 % ( Protestants: 19.6%, Roman Catholic 6.6. %)
: 23.2 %
or unkown : 1,3 %
None : 49.3 %

I found it strange that there were so many Christians in Korea. But the evangelizing of Korea, mainly done by Chinese and American Christians, really paid off. But then again, there are 49.3 % people without a religion. That is the highest percentage I've ever heard of.

Anyway, I hope this experience will be amazing and memorable. There are many things I want to learn about Korea and the region.

Don't be shy to leave a comment in this or the next posts!

Till next time.

안녕히 계세요 Annyeonghi gyeseyo! - Goodbye!