Seongdong-gu: First Impressions

After braving through a 12 hour flight from Toronto to Seoul, I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I arrived to South Korea. All I knew was that I was ready to see what this experience had to offer.

The first thing I noticed was that just like any other major city, there is traffic during rush hour. I didn’t mind though because it gave me a chance to sit and really soak in the fact that I was in a totally different country away from friends, family, and my lovely job at TJ Maxx (I hope you can feel the sarcasm radiating off the last one).

Meeting my homestay family over dinner along with my internship supervisors felt familiar. There weren’t any awkward moments, or fleeting moments of panic. I felt ok, I felt comfortable, and I was happy to be staying with someone around my age. After dinner Sheon, the girl my age who I am living with, took me to Seoul Forest where we relaxed and listened to music. She and I actually enjoy the same kind of music. Over the weekend I also learned that we both like to sleep, eat, and laugh a lot. Lol

My favorite things so far have been:

  1. Taking the train: I rarely get to do that at home because I live in the suburbs. The only time I may ride the train is if I’m spending the day in Atlanta, and even then most of the time I am driving. Taking the train has been so easy! There’s an entrance to the station right by my homestay, and it only takes 1 exit to get to the office building. It’s also very cheap, so it only cost about $1 coming and going. It can get a little crowded in the morning, but it’s a quiet and peaceful ride. No matter what time of the day it is, it seems like everyone is in a rush to get somewhere at the station. Like literally, people are running of these trains in the morning. It’s either punctuality is important, or everybody is trying to get a little cardio in. I’ll let you know when I figure it out. I pulled a picture of it from google so you can see what it looks like.

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  1. Trying new food: I love food. Well, I think everyone does. I just recently became a vegetarian, so it’s been kind of cool figuring my way around Korean cuisine with that in consideration. So far my favorite foods have Korean Melon and vegetable Bibimbap Bowls.

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My first day of work was pretty great too! Me and Colleen got to meet all of the staff that work within the department we are in, as well as spend some time getting to know our supervisor and “supporters”. Our supporters are staff members who will help us learn more about the city each week. Our job is to basically learn as much as we can about Seongdong-gu, and create engaging content for their blog about the city. Pretty cool right?

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The staff at the Seongdong-gu office makes it so easy for us to do our jobs because they go above and beyond to answer all of our questions. They’re really a great group of people! One thing that really stands out to me already is the fact that for a government office the environment is so relaxed! Typically, when you think of a government office you think of a boring, stiff, and strict environment. The Seongdong-gu offices is quite the opposite. Everyone works diligently throughout the work day of course. The top supervisors over the department speak with the staff members throughout the day, and have done so almost every day since I’ve been in the office. The dress code is way more relaxed as well. Everyone isn’t wearing a suit and tie, but they are dressed presentably in business casual attire.

All in all my first couple of days have been pretty good, all I need to do now is beat this jet lag!

 

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