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!


pim.thunnissen said...

Hahaaa nice Abdi! Krijg je hier ook ikapunten voor?:p

Abdi said...

LOL. Geen idee man! Zou wel tof zijn. Maar moeten we volgend jaar ook IKA punten scoren? Gaap, ik heb nog steeds moeite met het bij elkaar sprokkelen van de IKA punten van dit jaar ;)

Sudi said...

Wow I was sceptical at first! But Southern Korea sounds/looks awesome! I won't be that judgemental anymore Abdi!

ps. I hope North Korea will hold their truce

pris. said...

Hi! My name's Priscilla, and I'm one of the people commenting on/reading the I-House thread on Facebook. I found your blog and thought I'd say hello (and apologize if I sound creepy). I'm starting a blog documenting my experiences at Yonsei next year too, and I'm enjoying reading yours! My reasons for going to SK are quite similar to what you've listed here--mostly simple curiosity. Glad to know that I'm not alone :)

Abdi said...

Hi Priscilla. No you don't sound creepy at all! It's nice of you to comment. So I'll probably be seeing you soon.

And no you're not alone in your interest in Korea. If I'm correct there will be around 300 exchange students from all over the world at the university.

When are you checking in the dorms?

pris. said...

Yeah, 300 sounds about right, it's going to be great to meet everybody :)

I'll be arriving on August 19, but I'll be checking in on August 22. I'm so happy, my dorm payment has just gone through, haha. How about you?

Abdi said...

I'll be leaving the 21st and then arriving the 23rd. I have a transit in Dubai and I'll be staying over there for a day with my family.

I just checked the status of my housing and I've overpaid 267010 KRW. Haha I read we'll be refunded the money when we're at the SK Global House.

pris. said...

Wow, Dubai! Hope you have fun. So you'll be making it right in time for orientation?

Yeah, hopefully we get the refunds back quickly, the extra cash will be great :D

Abdi said...

According to their website;

'If any overpaid amount, you will get refunded during the stay.' I hope they're fast in refunding as well.

And yes I will arrive on time I hope. The orientation is the 24th and I'll be arriving the 23rd.

pris. said...

Just wanted to thank you for the link about bookstores, I'll be sure to check them out.

Mohamed said...

Abdi my brother from another mother. I wish you the best of luck in Korea