Seoul is a big city and it is always interesting to go and explore different areas as each part of the city is very unique: Sinchon (where Yonsei University is located) is very busy and there are many young people, Ewha is full of cute little stores and shops as this is where Ewha Women’s University is located, Insa-dong is a touristy place, while Itaewon is very Western-like as most of the Westerners who work in Seoul live here, and Gangnam is very modern with skyscrapers everywhere. This city has so much soul and spirit that it is rather hard to comprehend it all. There is, however, one place where you can take a good look at the entire city of nine million people and enjoy the view of a place where modernism and tradition coexist – N Seoul Tower.
Last week a group of my friends and I decided to go to N Seoul Tower and see Seoul in its full beauty. It was really good that we had nice weather as the sunset was beautiful and the skyline was breathtaking. Getting to N Seoul Tower gave us a view of different parts of the city as we had to go to the subway stop in Sinchon, walk through Myeondong, take a cable cart and finally hike up to the Tower. The best part of it all was seeing how different Seoul is and then getting a good view of the entire city, which makes you wonder how is it possible that so many diverse areas are so united and make this city what it is. The view is rather breathtaking – you can walk around in the 360° observatory platform and see the city from all the sides. We managed to see the sunset from the outside before we took an interesting elevator ride (they show you a short video clip that basically takes you from the Tower to outer space when going up, and when going down it takes you from the outer space to the Tower in Seoul in a mere 30 seconds) to the top of the Tower. This is definitely one of the top touristy activities I’d recommend to anyone (even though it took me over a month to do it). I’ll definitely go back to N Seoul Tower in late spring!
Being so far away from Richmond doesn’t mean it’s impossible to find Richmond affiliated people in this part of the world. Since Ms. Leslie Stevenson from the CDC was on a conference in Seoul, she invited all the Richmond graduates and students currently in Seoul, as well as Yonsei students who either were, or are going, on an exchange to UR for a dinner in Gangnam (unfortunately no one thought of getting a group picture as we were all too excited for the reunion). It was really great having dinner in a Richmond spirit, as well as getting to know so many new people. I also enjoyed talking to three Yonsei girls who will be studying abroad at Richmond in Fall 2013. I tried to give them some advice and they seemed super excited to start their semester at UofR. Seeing Ms. Stevenson was also great! She accompanied my Leadership and the Common Good SSIR group trip to Spain in January last year and seeing her in Korea this year was just wonderful. It truly shows how global Spiders are!
Seoul is a diverse, modern, and global city full of surprises – you never know who you might meet/see. One of my favorite things in Sinchon is seeing a Husky dog that is usually chilling outside one of the numerous Korean restaurants in the area (supposedly since his owner works there or something of a kind). This big fluffy ball of fur is just about the most amazing dog ever. He is so friendly and playful and it is always great running into him when walking around Sinchon.
I have also noticed that as midterms are approaching (last week of April) I have more school work to do. The beautiful spring weather, blossom, and temperature of about 67 degrees is unfortunately hard to ignore. However, it is very much possible to stay on top of the schoolwork and also enjoy the life in Seoul. All it requires is a bit of sacrifice and hard work, but it is completely worth it.