Back to School in Seoul

Exciting times ahead for the missus. In specific it is 5 weeks’ worth of excitement as I spend the said duration in Seoul as a student of Korean Language and Culture. And so totally a dream come true! As a linguist wannabe, I have have the luxury of learning several foreign languages in the past: from Japanese to Italian, and French to Korean. Over the years, I have come to realise that my sustained interests lie in the Japanese and Korean languages, in particular the latter.

It is not so far from the truth if you deduce that Korean drama (K-drama) and Pop music have somewhat played a pivotal role in piquing my interest (in the language). I used to love the Japanese Language. But the thing with Japanese drama (J-drama) is that, they sometimes tend to mirror social issues faced by the country (think: ‘God, Please Give Me Some More Time’ – filmed during a time when teengage Japanese girls were prostituting themselves so they could afford luxury goods or expensive concert tickets). As expected, J-drama could really be heavy-going. Furthermore, they almost all but disappeared from Singapore’s TV screens slightly after the turn of the century due to a major copyright issue. It took them years to reach a compromise, which by then, many Singaporeans have already caught the K-drama fever with ‘Winter Sonata’ and ‘Autumn in My Heart’.

I still love J-drama but its absence for that few years has a lasting effect – the actors and actresses I liked grew older. They either lost popularity (and thus disappeared from the small screen altogether) or became so established they pick only a couple of projects per year. Not seeing them often enough on the small screen means I find it more difficult to sustain interest, and I’ve long past the age where I identify young, new faces to like. Hence a much more lukewarm stance nowadays.

It isn’t nearly as expensive as most people imagine a 5-week stay in a foreign country would be. Not exactly a walk in the park either, but manageable. Here’s a detailed breakdown of my budget (less the budget for shopping):

DESCRIPTION BUDGET (S$) 
Round Trip on SIA (redeemed with KrisFlyer Miles) S$367.70
Travel Insurance for 5 Weeks S$233.10
Course-Related Fees (including Registration, Tuition Fees and a 2D1N Excursion) S$2,000.00
Accommodation S$650.00
Daily Expenses S$1,750.00
Total S$5,000.00

The final decision wasn’t made without struggles. For a start, it does require me to step out of my comfort zone to live like a local, and not like a tourist, in Seoul. I will also be quite alone, at least I thought I will be when I first made the decision. T’is a relief that a good friend was finally able to make the trip with me. Although we would most likely end up in different classes, it’s always good to know that she will be around if I ever needed help, or support.

I know I’m privileged to have everyone (especially the mister) supportive of my decision to go fulfill a lifelong dream, and I am not about to take it for granted. For starters, I’m going to study very hard – this is what I’m here for anyway.

Stay tuned for more updates. Will be blogging often if time permits. 🙂

Sogang Field

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