LOCALITY SUMMER SCHOOL 2017 (Experience)
It has been an honor for me to be part of Locality Summer School 2017’s family. My experience was like a dream come true. Everyone was so cooperative and supportive from day one until my departure.Ck project team specialization followed our steps since the day we applied, by replying to our e-mails and concerns, making sure we were all set and had nothing missing.
First, my excitement got on its highest level when I arrived at Incheon Airport. It was so big and functional. Even though my flight was long and tiring, the welcoming I had at the reception was exceptional. It made me forget all of my concerns.
I was really happy to meet my teammates and I could see the joy on their faces as well, with their shiny bright smiles glowing from miles away. We were all shy at first and the situation was kind of awkward for me but as soon as we left the airport, and we got to know more each other, our conversations flew naturally as we realized that we had many things in common and became friend right away. I will be always grateful for them for being so nice to me, welcoming me with so much love and warmth as if we were family, helping me when I had problems, being curious about my culture and celebrating my birthday.
Then, my excitement kept rising as we reached 경기도. It was calm and not crowded, what made its charm. After that we reached the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies’ campus. The view was astonishing. Trees were aligning from side to side on the road with their beautiful colors, reddish-brown and green. It was wonderful and looked like an art creation of some sort. I would stay on the benches every morning after breakfast, enjoying the fresh air and the peaceful environment.The dorm had really comfortable rooms with fresh beddings and was fully equipped and functional. Just what a student needs.Moreover, the foreign students also were really amazing. We all had classes in the morning where we got to socialize and became friends.
I got to know a little bit about everyone’s background and habits. I liked those morning classes about Korean culture and commerce strategies as well. The professors were friendly and understanding. They made sure we understood everything. If not they would speak in English. Their behavior with us wasn’t just like any professor to a student but as a friend to another.
I had also the chance to taste Korean food and dessert everyday and live the full Korean student experience. The food was really delicious, I enjoyed every spoon. I also appreciated the fact that CK specialization Project team has thought of all its students and even prepared halal meals for us. The other thing that I enjoyed was the traditional music show.
It was new to me however it didn’t keep me from enjoying it. The one thing that I won’t forget from my sejour was playing on the traditional music instruments especially the 가야금 and the 북. I had so much fun playing it.
The Focus on Locality project was also really important. It gave me the chance to introduce my culture to my fellow teammates and other students as well. I loved that they were so interested and had so many questions. I liked knowing more about the student’s culture as well through our exchange in the In-depth project. And I realized that our two countries had so much in common as if they had the same history.
I had also experienced staying at a traditional Korean house “한옥” which I really liked. I only saw hanoks on pictured but experiencing one was really amazing. I was so thrilled. The owner also was really nice to us, she offered us lots of food also. I’m so thankful that she was speaking to us slowly because our Korean isn’t perfect, taught us some Korean words, told us the story of the Hanok and even offered to take our pictures.
Furthermore, my teammates and I went to visit some schools which I liked a lot. I especially liked the uniforms and the fact that students are the ones who clean their classrooms and not a maid who does that. I was surprised when I saw that students have to keep their shoes in cabinets before entering their classrooms, we don’t have that back home. I was also surprised when I saw my teammate Yunjin’s art school, it was so fancy. I’ve never seen a school like that before it looked just like a museum. We went also to visit education-related museums which I liked and was touched how the Korean people cared about their history and background. Another place that I enjoyed was the 경복궁 palace. It was huge and well maintained. I loved the architecture and the history behind it as well. I also had the chance to wear a Korean Traditional dress –한복- and walk on the palace’s ground just like they did 500 years ago. I felt like I was in some kind of historical drama, which I really loved.
On the last day of our Seoul tour we went to 이태원. A place where people from different ethnicities got along and blended together. Shop signs were written in different languages, even in Arabic. Halal food was available everywhere what made me feel like home. Even my teammates were surprised on how much ethnicities there were. I had halal food for dinner and was thinking on how much korea has respect for people from different backgrounds and religions. We then stayed at a coffee shop where we played different games like 할리갈리 . It was such a cool place.
Lastly, I would like to thank everyone who contributed in making this project. It was really advantageous for me, I got to experience myself in unfamiliar surroundings and got to improve my social awareness and clear out all the stereotypes about beautiful, rich country. That way I can pass my knowledge to my friends and family. This country is not just like everyone sees in dramas or pictures but there is much more to it. I would recommend all people to visit at least once in a life time. Thank you Locality Summer School for making this summer the most meaningful one in all my 20 years. I hope I would get the privilege and participate in another program with you.