One of the most exciting things I did during my time in the Ulsan International Program was go to Seoul, South Korea. We had all been waiting for this trip since the first day, and we weren't disappointed when we did go. The UIP staff had a lot of things lined up for us during our trip and even allowed us to stay for the weekend on our own if we wanted to. Since there's just so much to talk about with Seoul (and I'm really not trying to turn this into a travel blog) I decided to share the highlights in this post. So enjoy my favorite adventures of Seoul, South Korea!
JSA and the DMZ
One of the highlights of my trip was going to the Demilitarized Zone and the Joint Security Area . If you're not familiar with any of these, this is the area where the North and South meet. I had always imaged the border between North and South Korea to be heavily armed with both sides staring defiantly at the other, arms ready for battle with tanks aimed at either side. It wasn't exactly like that. There was kind of a face off when we went. South Korea soldiers where standing at the ready on their side of the border facing the other. There were North Korean soldiers on the other side as well, but closer to their buildings. There was no tanks or machine guns in this area as I had originally imagined. There were also buildings for both the North and South on built upon the border, so each country basically was half way in the other. Once we left the building, we saw a bunch of North Korean soldiers begin to march down our way. I guess we got out of there just in time!
Before going to the JSA we had to make sure we (girls) wore clothes that covered our legs, shoulders, and arms. I didn't think I was going to be able to go because of the splits in my skirt and only brought one pair of pants which one of the other girls in the group had to wear. Luckily I was given the okay and was able to ride along. We were restricted on what we could photograph and when we could take photos of items,so there are a few things that are left out.
The first places we went once we came to Seoul were the Samsung Building and Lotte World. The Samsung building was pretty fun, and we got to see a lot of the new technology that they were creating and play a few games. But the real excitement came from Lotte World. I overheard someone say that Lotte World was basically a Korean rip off of Disney world, but since I've never been I can't compare. I do say it was like your typical theme park. Over priced food, long lines, but eventually lots of fun. We only were able to ride 4 rides during the trip before we had to leave. But we did get to see a great parade and show. I tried capturing a good bit on my phone I'll try to edit and post soon, but here are a few pictures I took while there. Surprisingly, a lot of the performers in the parade were foreigners, which I thought was funny.
We went to a local temple as well. My friend and I actually got mobbed by a group of Chinese tourists who wanted to keep taking pictures of us. After exploring here, we went to a shopping district and took a few beauty photos, and ate lunch.
|Ready for our close up.|
NantaWe were also treated with a little theatre show while in Seoul! We watched a performance of Nanta, a Korean musical play where the actors uswd kitchen tools as instruments. There was no dialogue in the show, and the actors focused on exaggerated expressions and movements to move the story along. It was a great show from beginning to end and UIP even got a shout out at the beginning of the show!
|More love locks on Namsan Tower|
If you read my earlier post, you know that I was able to connect with a few students I don't normally hang out with during my Seoul trip. We went to Namsan Tower or Seoul Tower. There we saw a lot of locks put on trees, railing, and a giant heart there. People use the locks to express their eternal love or friendship. Our group had a couple who left their locks/phone cover on the tower and plan to return one day. Later that night we roamed around the foreigner district and went to a few clubs, before ending our stay in Seoul with a Seoul with a church service.
|Got the whole city behind me . . .|