Thursday, June 30, 2011


Thursday morning start off at 9:30. Wansai. EunJi, JiAhn and Tae Eun pick us up. Mr. Choi did not join us today. The van driver drove us to Seoul which was about an hour and a half. When we got there we went to the National Museum of Korea. It has really old artifacts dating back to the beginning of time basically. The things reminded me a lot of Native Americans, like the tools they used. This museum is the 9th most visited in the world.

After having spaghetti to eat at the museum restaurant we went to a street in downtown that had a statue of King Sejong. He is on all of the money in Korea. From this street we could see the house of the president. You could enter a big gate to get a closer look. But it started to rain so we didn’t go explore in there. The president’s house had a bright blue roof. The US Embassy is also located on the street.

We then rode to Insa-Dong. It has many different types of culture type stores. At this point we were all getting very hot and the rain made it very humid. We didn’t stay in this area long. After deciding that we were very hot and worn out they took us to an artificial river that was in the middle of the business district and let us sit by river and out our feet in. this felt amazingly cold and refreshing.

The last stop of the day was to the shopping district. The main street had upper end stores, way out of our range…. So we settled for looking on the side streets. This area reminded me of Little Italy in New York. We were treated to Smoothie King for a snack to cool us off and refresh us. The ride back seemed very long because we were so worn out. But today was a great day because we got to bond with the buddy students and ask them all kinds of questions. We are going to miss them greatly next wek when we have to go to Dong-A University in Busan.

Our final day here in Incheon is Friday; we are getting to go to an amusement park. They showed us pictures and it reminded me of Disney World. We are all super excited!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tuesday and Wednesday

On Tuesday morning Mr. Choi and the other students picked us up at the hotel. We went to E-Mart to buy groceries for our over night stay at the cottage we rented for the night. E-Mart is something to compare to Wal-Mart. It is 3 stories. The basement is the sporting goods and other outdoor activities department. The main floor is groceries and some clothes. The 3rd floor has stuff like office supplies and other home ware type things. The quality of everything looked very nice. It reminded me of Belks. The home ware department reminded me of Target or Pier 1 because of the colors and style of things.
We bought a lot of groceries. Beef, lettuce, peppers, zucchini, potatoes, watermelon, rice, noodles and mushrooms were all on the list. We got to pick out snacks and candy on the candy isle too. Along with the food and snacks we got coke, sprite and water, that was labeled DMZ Water… I questioned the safety. But it was good. 

There was a food court in the E-Mart. It had McDonalds, Pop-Eyes and other names that were Korean style. We dined at a Chinese place. It was not my favorite, but still a very nice meal. After finishing lunch we went to the parking deck, which was on the top floor. Escalators carried us to different floors in the store. With all the food be got and our bags for the overnight trip it was very crowded in the van. I got lucky and had to ride in the very back with all of the bags and food. The ride to the island was a little over an hour and very bumpy roads but we did get to see some more rural areas. On the drive I asked where they get oil from here. They said the Middle East. We also asked how much gas is here after calculating it we think it is around $7 per gallon. So we cannot complain in the US.

We finally arrived at the house. It was a cute 2 bedroom cottage. It reminded me of the house I stayed in in Mure-Cho, Japan. After getting all of the food in we changed clothes and took a 5 minute drive to a beach area. I can now say I have been to the Yellow Sea. It was very cold water so we just put our feet in and sat on the sand and socialized. The group stayed there for a little while and then we drove about 10 minutes to another beach area. This water seemed even colder. There were people on this beach taking naps and fishing. I saw a few strange looking trees so I asked Mr. Choi what kind they were, he responded with “green trees” and laughed. Earlier in the week at the seafood meal he asked me what kind of shells were on the table (4 different kinds) I told him seashell for all. So this has been a joke for the week.

After time on the beach we went back to our cottage to the pool. Once again this water was too cold for my liking so I just sat on the edge. Lane was the only one of us to get in. Wansai, EunJi and JiAhn all got in. Mr. Choi joined along too. The group finally decided the water was too cold and we went back to the cottage. Dinner was grilled on charcoal type grills. We sat outside on the screened in porch area while the men cooked for the ladies. We had traditional Korean barbeque. They grilled the beef and veggies. To eat the meal you take a piece of lettuce and put a small piece off beef on it and then add kimchi and kimchi sauce and roll it up and put the whole thing in your mouth. It can be a bit messy but it was delicious.

Through out the meal we all went around the table talked about our life and what we want to do with it. And why we wanted to come to Korea. Mr. Choi asked some deep questions like what was the hardest time in our life. I felt like I was either at an interview or on stage at a pageant. I also explained what a sorority was and went through the history of ZTA.

I expressed my feeling about how sad it is that America is considered the melting pot of the world because it has many different types of cultures. But yet many Americans never leave our borders to explore another part of the world. And learn what other cultures are really like. Traveling only makes you smarter, but it seems that Americans are closed minded when it comes to accepting people that are not like them. It was then time for me to ask my famous question. “Is the granite in Korea?” The Lander students started laughing. I told them I was talking business. I learned there is granite on an island off the southern coast. It is very red in color. My Dad may want to look into buying Korean granite now, especially if I take well to the Korean language.

I learned that Mr. Choi used to write the news for TV stations. I was fascinated during this conversation. The hard hours were getting to him and being away from family so he then got into the international program at the university because his English was so well. After listening to music and talking more we turned in for the night. Our beds were mats on the floor like I had in Japan. I slept rather well.

We woke up to pouring down rain. We were sadly informed the DMZ tour was cancelled because of the heavy rain. For breakfast we had bacon, eggs, and fruit, all very good. After we all helped in cleaning up the kitchen we packed our bags and left. The ride back was not fun, I was very sleepy, still sitting with all of the bags and the road was bumpy.

Because the tour was cancelled we decided to go see a movie. We saw Transformers 3 in 3-D. I’m not an action movie person but the movie was fun to watch because of the 3-D and other features. At least I can say I saw he movie in Korea. After catching a taxi back to the hotel, which only cost about $5.50, we checked back into the hotel and had dinner in the hotel restaurant.

As I right this I am watching Korea’s Got Talent and enjoying the view from our room. We are across from the tallest building in Korea. I counted 75 floors, but that may be slightly off. Because of the economy the building is not complete, but will hold different business offices when it is finished. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday in Incheon

 We started the day off by waking up to pouring down rain.  We knew that we were meeting the President of University of Incheon, the weather put a damper on our wardrobe, and so we all were casual but very nice looking still. The drive to UI was not that long. When we arrived we met the other “buddy students” and they took us to the UI tower to show us the nice view since we could not walk around campus due to the heavy rain. The weather here is very cool, probably 60 or 65 degrees. It is a nice change from the hot South Carolina summer.

After the view from the tower we went back to the Administration Building and met President Ahn Kyung Soo.  He gave us a letter opener and pen as a gift. We talked with him with Mr. Choi translating while we had traditional hot green tea to drink.

Lunch was served on campus. Mr. Soo told us everything we were eating. We had pork, duck, squid (that was not the calamari we see in America, very scary looking) it was all very chewy. As the other meals we had many different types of vegetables mainly in a salad type dish. In Korea for many business meetings alcohol is served with the meal. We all had a glass of Korean famous Chungha, rice wine. To me it was sweet, similar to Moscato wine.

At this point we were all starting to get tired so we were treated to some coffee at the coffee house on campus. This was very nice because it was still raining and the wind was blowing. While we drank our coffee we talked with the UI buddy students. Korean dramas, American dramas, music and differences in Korean and American government and politics were discussed.

At 2:30 we “removed” ourselves from UI and went to Korean Culture House. There we learned how to make rice cakes and decorate them. It was a lot of fun sifting the rice powder and making it into the cake form and then rolling out the decoration dough and making flowers with them to place on the rice cakes when they were finished cooking.

To go along with the rice cakes we went to another room where we learned how to conduct a tea ceremony. We got to make the green tea. I believe I made pretty decent tea. For it to be green tea it tasted pretty good. After making the tea we got to eat the rice cakes we made. They did not have much of a taste but were still good.

Hanbok are the traditional Korean wear for formal events. We all were dressed in these. They are very colorful. Certain colors and symbols have different meanings.  They are two pieces. The skirt part has straps for your arms to go through and the top part fits on like a jacket would.

For dinner we had “Kraze Burger.” It is a burger diner that has scenes from NYC on the walls. It is located in a very modern section that reminded me of SoHo. It was a very cute street. The burgers were delicious. Mr. Choi asked if we would like to have a beer with our dinner, so I wasn’t going to turn him down. I chose to have a Korean beer over Budweiser or Corona. I was served draft Cass Beer. It was a very light tasting beer and very good. I doubt I can find it in Greenwood when I return.

 Tomorrow (Tuesday) we will go to Yeongheung Island. We will spend all day there and also stay in a house UI has rented for the night for us. On Wednesday we will pack up from the island and go to the DMZ. On the itinerary it says that will be a 6 hour tour.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

First Day in Incheon

Mr. Choi picked us up at the hotel at 10:30 this morning. We then ate in the hotel restaurant. EunJi (the exchange student that is coming to Lander this year) met us with  him. She is very sweet and will do well at Lander. After that We went to the Fish Market. It was so colorful in there. Fish, shrimp, crap and octopus were everywhere. it was like nothing I have ever scene in my life. After walking around the fish market we had lunch in a seafood restaurant. We cooked it ourselves. It had a gas stove in the middle of the table. We had conch shell, clam and oysters. The oysters were amazing!

After lunch Eunji got us all a subway pass and we caught the subway to the under ground mall. It had many stores with clothes, shoes and cell phones. It was very crowed and busy being on sunday. The jet lag was catching up to us and EunJi could tell we needed a little rest so we found a Starbucks. We rested there for an hour as we talked to her about Lander and Korean culture.

After catching the subway to another part of town we met Mr. Choi again along with another student at Incheon that will be with us for the week. Also joining us was an American exchange student at University of Incheon, his name was Michael. It was time for dinner so Mr. Choi took us to what I would compare to a Japanese steak house, but with Korean food and we once again got to cook it ourselves. I ate what i understood to be raw beef, low beef and a verity of vegetable.

At dinner Mr. Choi ordered 4 bottles of SOJU... a korean liquor that compares to vodka. We all took shots. I had 7, orders from Mr. Choi. It was a light tasting liquor. After dinner we were tired but not ready to be in for the night so we went to karaoke. Much to my disappointment they did not have "Wagon Wheel" but I made up for it by singing "Sweet Home Alabama" some NSYNC and Christina and ending with "Tik Tok."

Today was am amazing experience. I loved every minute of it. Being in a country that I know very little about and speak zero of their language isn't as scary as one may think. It is all a learning experience and I am very fortunate that I have this opportunity. I know the next 5 weeks will just as much fun as my first day.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

FInally in Incheon

So after 3 planes, 1 train, a 19 hour layover, trying to sleep in the airport, one airport having wi-fi, the other having a desk that 10 people were standing at it to get wi-fi, barely eating anything and around 48 hours of traveling we finally made it to our hotel for the week in Incheon.

My last post was when we made it to Tokyo-Haneda Airport. We stayed there over night from midnight here to 6:56am. WE tried to sleep but were unsuccessful. Thankfully we had Wi-Di there so we could get caught up on Facebook, Twitter and of course CWS. WE then had to buy a train ticket to get to the other airport Narita. That train left at 6:56am and as around 2 hours. WE got to see very little Tokyo on the train because it was basically like a subway; but still a very cool experience.

When we arrived at Narita Airport we had to find our way to Delta check in. As we drug our luggage through the airport we finally got checked in and through security and found a spot to camp out for 10 hours. We were starving at this point and it was only 9 am, we didn’t want breakfast food so we waited it out until lunch. And still had McDonald’s to eat.

To kill time I saw on the floor at the huge windows and watched plane after plane land, unload and reload and leave again. I felt like a little kid but it did make the time pass by a lot quicker. A few hours of the layover I stood at the desk to get wi-fi to watche the live stats of the USC-UVA game, which lasted forever. Finally it was 7 pm and time to board our final flight. I was asleep before we even go in the air good, as were the other girls too. That was the first sleep I had since my 2-hour nap on the long flight. We finally landed after 2 hours, went through immigration, got our luggage and met Mr. Choi. He could tell I was exhausted obviously because we carried by bags for me.

On the 30 Minute ride to the hotel we went across the 6th longest bridge in the world, which was around 16 miles long. I want to see it during the day because it didn’t seem like any bridge I have ever been on. The town on Incheon at night reminded me of Atlanta on a little smaller scale with tall buildings. As we walked into the obby of the hotel some Australian guys asked us to go out with them, we laughed it off. After checking in to the hotel we went to our rooms and never has a bed or shower looked so nice.

After a long shower Rachel and I attempted to figure out how to turn the lights off… we ended up having to call the front desk.  I slept like a baby. It is now around 11 am here 10 pm at home. Today we will be going to lunch and meeting our “buddies” for here and then visiting around the area and going to a fish market. We will eat seafood tonight. It is the rainy season here, great (sarcasm). So today I will be wearing my yellow Sperry rain shoes, or as I call my duck shoes. So this starts my first of many days here in Korea!!

FInally thought:
As i write this post I am listening to a Korean girls group on MTV here. It's really cool. I like the music even though I have no clue what they are saying.

I will post pictures of the day tonight J

Friday, June 24, 2011


After leaving Greenwood at noon on Thursday we have finally made it to the half way point. We have landed at Tokyo-Henada Airport. Due to it being after midnight here we must wait until 7:40 am to catch the train to Tokyo-Narita airport. That ride will be 2 hours. I'm sure it will be fun though seeing the city of Tokyo.

The flight from Detroit was around 13 hours. We all watched movies. I entertained myself with 'Just Go With It' which was adorable and 'The Hangover'. 'The Hangover' is not a movie to watch on an airplane that is silent. I wanted to laugh out loud so bad but didn't want people to think I was a weird American.
After watching that I knew I should watch something that was a little educational. I watched a documentary on how Coke is bottled and America Pickers.

We all tried to sleep but were unsuccessful being so cramped up in the seats. After landing we went through customs, got our passports stamped and got out bags. We then learned that we had to wait until morning to get the train to the other airport.

We have another 18 hours or so before we fly to Incheon. Good thing I found Koala cookies in the store here. I screamed from excitement, they were my favorite cookie when I was in Mure-Cho.
Until next time!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Preparing to leave

The delegation from Dong-A arrived in Greenwood on Monday. We met with them on Tuesday, June 21st. Before leaving on our tour to Fuji Film I got to present them with granite name plates that my Dad had made. I did not get a picture but the Lander photographer did, so I will post that as soon as I get it. Dr. Cho, Dr. Song and Ms. Na were all very appreciative of their gifts.

At Fuji we toured the part where they make disposable cameras and then had a Japanese meal for lunch. After lunch we went back to Lander and had an orientation meeting with Ms. Na for our stay at Dong-A. This got us all very excited for our trip and experience. Ms. Na was so helpful explaining everything we will get to do while in Busan along with telling us about the dorms and meal plans.

We learned that we will be grouped together with 10 students from the UK, 1 from Ireland and 1 other from the US. We will also have a Korean "buddy" that will be our guide/mentor. I am very excited to meet the students from the UK and Ireland. While living at Dong-A we will be rooming with another Lander student, Lane and I will be rooming together and Allie and Rachel will be together.

The brochure of Dong-A had a picture of the dorm and dorm rooms and it looks very nice. The campus is set on the side of a mountain so my new tennis shoes will definitely be used.

This Morning, June 22nd, There was a special signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Lander University and Dong-A University. Many leaders from the community and members of the upstate alliance were there along with special guest Dr. Underwood.  Dr. Underwood and his family have had relations with South Korea and higher education dating back to the late 1800's (4 generations). He is very well known to many Koreans and his family started a very successful university there as well.

Lane and I both attended the signing and got one last pep talk from Mrs. Eleanor Teal and Dr. Park.  Our flight leaves tomorrow from Greenville at 4:44 pm to Detroit. We leave Detroit tomorrow night at 8:15 pm and fly to Tokyo. That flight is approximately 13 and a half hours. We then have to get on a bus and change airports along with a 19 hour layover. We will finally get to Incheon at 10:15 pm on Saturday, June 25th. That will be 8:15 am Saturday morning in South Carolina/Georgia. We will spend a week there, probably recovering half of that time.

Please be thinking about the 4 of us for the next few days. As this is a great learning experience getting there is going to be a great accomplishment in itself. 4 girls, an extremely long flight, having to change airports in one of the largest cities in the world, not speaking a word of Japanese or Korean and one mission... to have the time of our lives and represent Lander University.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Brief Hello

As a rising Senior at Lander University I am spending 5 weeks in South Korea. Lander is sending 4 students to experience the Korean culture. This is a great honor to be chosen for this inaugural trip. As part of this trip I will spend a week in Incheon, South Korea and then 4 weeks at Dong-A University in Busan, South Korea. We will be introduced to the Korean language as well as many other culture experiences. I appreciate this wonderful opportunity and honor to represent Lander, South Carolina and the United States.

I will be updating this blog as often as I can to keep everyone updated on my adventures. We leave on June 23 and will return to the USA on August 1. I encourage you to post comments throughout my travel.

I will be traveling with Lane Riley, Rachel Piper and Alexandria Beebe. To find out more information on our trip go to Summer Study in Korea.