I have officially been in South Korea for a month and I have to say it’s stealing my heart. One of the best things about the University of Ulsan is that they offer a simple conversation program for Korean students to practice English, Spanish or French from the exchange students who are native speakers. I cannot thank the University enough for choosing me to be a part of this program for the semester.
While practicing English is the main focus with my three groups that I meet with three hours each per week, they are so excited to show me their city and the surrounding ones! From movie nights and coffee shop dates the men that I am a conversation partner are making this experience all the better. However my two favorite memories so far have been 1) a beach trip to Daewanggyo National Park which offers an incredible bridge that connects a look out point on the rocks in the ocean to the mainland (pictured below) and 2) a pet café located just down the street from the University.
Aside from making memories with my tutees, the other exchange students and I have had quite the time getting to know each other and going on adventures. Located within Busan (about 45 minutes away) are several Buddhist temples and we took a day trip to Hongbeopsa Temple. Upon arrival we were greeted by grounds that are covered in sculptures, waterfalls, lanterns and so much beauty. At Hongbeopsa specifically you are welcomed to the temple by the largest Buddha I have ever seen. During our day at the temple I witnessed several traditions. The main one being the Prayer of 108 Prostrations. During this time those within the prayer room bow 108 times cleansing their minds during each bow. It is said that during each bow your mind and body become more of one and take away the thinking mind and return it to the natural mind. Upon entrance in the Hall of 1,000 Ancestors we found temple workers creating hand-made lanterns for the upcoming celebration of Buddha’s birthday. The simplicity that the lanterns start as and then created into an immaculate creation is more than awe worthy. Words simply cannot describe the beauty that was found that day at the temple.
Until next time,
Chloe King- Ulsan, South Korea