The Korean Experience

As I sit here writing this final blog, it blows my mind knowing that our trip and this summer is already over. Looking back, I remember how awesome it felt to get back to America but also how depressing it was to leave Korea. Korea stole a place in my heart that I’ll never forget and I truly hope that I’ll be able to return there sometime in the future. As an overall experience, I don’t know what else to say besides totally amazing. The research portion of this trip was exactly what I needed to ensure in my mind that biology is the major that I want to pursue. Due to the generosity of our professors and the grad students, we were able to experience a wide variety of research opportunities with the bird research team, the frog research team, and finally the grasshopper research team. Not only were we able to participate within all these teams but we were able to contribute to them with our thoughts, ideas, and hard work. I am so thankful for the opportunities we were given and I would like to applaud all of the grad students who worked with us through the language barrier to get all the work done. We couldn’t have done our work without you guys.

As for the culture, Korea was so much different than what any of us would expect. People seemed much more polite and generous in Seoul than in any other big city I have ever experienced. Koreans were always down to help out a foreigner at any time in any place. Whether it be finding your way in the city/subway, ordering food on a menu completely in Korea, or pretty much any other problem a foreigner could run into, Koreans were always looking to help you out. Compare this to a larger U.S. city, I can’t say that too many Americans would go completely out of their way to help out a foreigner, or so that is my opinion. Korean culture also seems to be more family based. From social outings, to restaurant/business ownership and jobs, Koreans seem much more in sync with their family and what they can all do together. Also, dinner or really any food outing is not just a time to stuff their faces with as much food as possible, but rather a time to talk, catch up, and laugh while on the side casually eating. Korean culture also seems to be healthier as a whole. Meals are much more portioned than in America, walking and exercise is much more common, and the consumption of fast food products and transfats does not seem as high. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not ragging on American society and culture at all, I am just simply pointing out some differences that I witnessed. Both cultures have things that I like and dislike and it would be very interesting if the goods of both worlds were some how combined.

From the culture, to the food, to the hiking, to all the other amazing experiences we had in Korea, it was the trip of a lifetime and I am so unbelievably happy I went. Not to mention it was even better to experience it with several other totally awesome Americans. It almost made the trip that much better because now I can look back on the trip and recall all the funny and cool experiences with someone else other than myself. I’d like to again thank all of my family and friends for the support I received on this trip along with all the funding from my parents. I couldn’t have done it without all of you either! Finally, a big thanks goes to all those who read my blogs this past summer, I hope you all enjoyed them 🙂

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