Monday, April 14, 2014

Preparing for Korea! - Stacia

Korean Tea Ceremony Presentation
I can't believe how quickly this semester is going! Looking at the syllabus and seeing only 3 more meetings for this class is unbelievable, feels like we're just starting! I guess when you really think about it though we have learned quite a bit in the last 7 weeks of class sessions to prepare for the trip. The class speakers and the readings have been so insightful into a different culture and I am more excited every day to leave for Korea.

From tea ceremony experts, to actual Korean students we have been lucky to have so many people willing to share their knowledge with us. I think the little differences in Korean culture compared to ours is so interesting and have been excited to read about it as well as hear it from experts.

For instance, it seems Koreans are more reserved and quiet compared to most Americans and the Korean students told us that most Koreans don't emphasize their emotions as much as we do here. One student mentioned that while a Korean person might not respond to something, an American might exclaim, "Oh My Gosh!" to show they are interested in a story. They also mentioned that they were surprised in America that random people you don't know will smile to you since that isn't normal in Korea. Koreans aren't a mean group of people though, I read that if someone is sitting on a bus it is not unheard of for someone sitting to take their bags so the person standing didn't have to carry all that weight, how thoughtful is that?! 

My biggest worry at this point is learning even the simplest of Korean phrases, I didn't think it would be hard, but I was so wrong. There's an app to learn some common Korean phrases though and it has been helping me along the way, and I guess we can all start looking forward to our intensive language classes once we are there!

I've also been enjoying the tidbits of information on the agriculture there. Being that I'm only familiar with local agriculture in Pennsylvania, I'm eager to be exposed to something different. One thing that blew my mind was that an average Korean farm is only about 6 acres! I live on about 100 acres and it's just a family hobby farm so it's crazy to me and I'm curious to see how they are efficient on such a small amount of land.

The class sessions have given me some great information about Korean culture and agriculture to prepare for this trip and I know we will be flying out before I know it!

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