Foreign students, who were new to Korea and reside in Seoul, went on a one-day tour around Seoul and experienced various Korean cultural activities on October 24. The Seoul Administration and Culture tour was conducted under the support of Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) for newcomers to learn and experience Korea, and therefore lessen the culture shock.
“Participants of this tour will have opportunities to participate in various international events as foreign volunteers, so that they can have more pride as Seoul residents,” said Yang Ji-ae, the SMG staff in charge of International Cooperation.
For this tour, 40 foreign students, four of them being Ewha exchange students, from ten universities in Seoul participated. Participants were from 14 different countries, including France, Mongolia, Germany, Vietnam and Chile.
The tour started with watching the Seoul Design Olympiad, held at the Jamsil Sports Complex. Foreign students participated in a festival called, “i-DESIGN Playground,” where they viewed the “Design Exchange Exhibition” and “Index Award 2009,” the world’s biggest design award. And then they headed to Gyeonghuigung Palace, one of the five grand palaces built by the Joseon Dynasty and participated in the Kimchi Love Festival 2009. They made kimchi by themselves and learned about Korean foods through tasting.
“Making kimchi was surely unforgettable. I have tried making kimchi in Vietnam before, but the kimchi I made here tasted better with Korean ingredients. I even received a box of it after the activity. I would like to try making other Korean foods as well,” said Bui Thi Thu Hien, a Vietnamese exchange student at Ewha.
At the Seoul Museum of History, students viewed the 1/1500 miniature model of Seoul, which made them able to see the Seoul at a glance. The tour included an interesting performance called “Playing at Namsan,” which was presented at the Seoul Namsan Gugakdang. The performance fuses Korean traditional culture with Western classical music by performing Korean traditional dance to the classical music pieces, such as Handel’s “Lascia Ch’io Pianga” and Bach’s “Air on the G string,” which will be played with Korean traditional instruments.
“The tour, which the SMG provide to foreigners, are very helpful since participants can tell other newcomers about what they experienced and useful information about Seoul. I hope to see more various activities, such as Korean food cooking competition,” said Bui.
Yang from the SMG commented, “This was a great opportunity for foreign students, who are new to Korea, to learn the history, tradition, and culture of Seoul. We plan to provide more opportunities for foreigners to feel the Seoul and settle easily.”