The first week here was a mini vacation due to the fact that classes did not start for a week. It gave the international students a chance to get to know each other and explore Ulsan. So far, I have met people from all over the world. Not only do I get to experience Korean culture, but I am also learning various aspects of European culture because most of the international students here are from different parts of Europe. The main countries are Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, and Germany.
The third day I was here our Korean buddies informed us that March 1st is Korea’s Independence Day. The day celebrates the movement in 1919 where the Korean people declared their nation’s independence from Japan. Now, they do not celebrate Independence Day like we do in the U.S., they just simply hang Korean flags all over the country.
However, my colleagues and I thought we would celebrate by going to Illsan Beach for the day. The beach was absolutely incredible. The clear blue water, the massive rocks surrounding the ocean, and mystic trees made this beach a sight to see.
Right beside the ocean was a beautiful park. There were stairs and paths that led onto rocky peninsulas. My friends and I took about three hours just exploring the different viewpoints. Below are places that we found to be quite peaceful. We stayed here for most of the afternoon just enjoying each other’s company and listening to the sound of the waves hitting the rocks.
Daewangam Rock was another location we stumbled upon, which has historical significance. Supposedly one of the early Korean kings wanted his spirit to manifest as a dragon and stay under these rocks, to protect the country against any invaders from the east, like Japan.
After a long exploration of the different peninsulas we walked over to a large lighthouse. We went inside of the information building and read more about Illsan Beach. In addition, we got the chance to stand on top of the roof and view the ocean one last time.