Traveling to Seoul has officially become the best trip, domestic and international, of my life so far. It was an amazing experience and one that will be very hard to top. One thing that made the trip for me was the people I got to travel with. Everyone was so much fun and even when we were jet lagged, exhausted and didn't want to be physically doing anything other than sleeping, everyone was a great sport and just powered through and didn't care how tired we were, we were going to have a great time. That and the Sarahs and Professor Rector always kept things interesting and us on the move. Professor Rector even coined a catchphrase from the first day on, "SO in Korean Culture..." with usually some false or at least not entirely true statement attached.
Just walking the streets in Seoul was exciting to me. The streets were always busy, the sidewalks always packed and the lights always on. I've been to London, New York, Paris, D.C. and other various places thought of being highly busy and always moving but Seoul to me wasn't even comparable. To me, it is truly the city that never sleeps. It was always amazing to me how many people were packed in the city and how busy they all seemed to be. Everyone was always going somewhere and appeared as if they had an important place to be.
The food in South Korea was beyond amazing. In fact I'm having withdrawals. I enjoyed everything I ate, and miss it so much. I miss eating kimchi and rice for breakfast, being able to get BBQ and grill it in front of me, and all of the cafes they have lining the sidewalks. I have been eating Korean food in the D.C. area for years, and although I have found several authentic places nothing compared to the food in Korea. It often was the same thing, often cheaper, but every time it was even more delicious than here in the US. I don't know if it was the atmosphere, the people who made it or the ingredients themselves, but it was the highlight of the trip to me and I was never disappointed expect when facing the fact that I could not eat anymore and felt like I was missing out.
The things we did in Korea that were planned for us by Dr. Rector and Sarah LaRosa, were great too. We experienced a lot of cultural things about South Korea, and learned their history, and got to talk to so many people and get their opinions. This all was great, but the things I liked doing in Korea most was the free time and when we got to explore the city on our own. I felt like we truly experienced Seoul when we did this, going to restaurants, markets, eating the street food, and going to a few Noraebangs. Several times we ended up just picking a sign or a building that we thought would be good and it was great.
I, having already been interested in South Korea before this trip, had what I would say were pretty high expectations. Something about this trip or everything combined, exceeded my expectations easily.