Do You need a reason to go to south korea ?… well there you go!

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South Korea is an amazing country and I’m sure no one can deny that. The reasons why you should pack your bags buy a ticket and fly to S.Korea are many, I’ll try to give you the main reasons … so here we go!

  1. First of all FOOD ! Many of you will say that Korean restaurants are every where no need to fly to south Korea just to eat their food. Sorry guys but eating Kimchi in your country may look as delicious as the one in S.Korea, but it’s not! Original spices, local vegetables, Korean chef, traditional Korean restaurants … Trust me all of these factors affect the food taste, you will never be able to find the same flavors and variety of Korean cuisine as in Korea itself.There are combinations of flavors , spices and recipes that you can not find anywhere else.
  2. PEOPLEI’m sure that you’ll be amazed by the kindness of the Korean people. They are friendly, very kind and willing to help you if they can ( There are some exceptions of course ).I watched their dramas for over 8 months and you can not believe how it has affected my behavior ( positively ) so imagine if you could meet Korean people in person and learn from them.
  3. The Korean sauna: When I first heard about it I thought it’ll be a small , maybe, individual room ( like Hamam or spa ) where you can relax for little time and that’s it, but actually it’s a whole different story than I expected ! In their sauna you find three rooms or you can call them halls: The traditional Korean kiln sauna, The steam rooms and dry saunas. they offer different services like body scrubs and traditional Korean massage… But the thing that caught my attention is : If you can not find where to sleep go to the sauna, you can find  people there sleeping, eating… all I can say is go and see it by yourself it will be an amazing experience !
  4. Shopping !! Let me say this : Seoul is a 24/7 city. You can go there and do your shopping at any time of the day or night. Plus you have a variety of malls, shops, articles that match everybody’s taste. Also the many shopping centers are built next to amusement parks, places of interest for tourists, so make sure when you finish shopping go there and have some fun ;).

© Copyright Sanaa Ouhessaine.

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Festivals and Performances in Seoul

 Seoul , the capital of South Korea annually hosts a number of festivals, among them are:

 Changing of the Royal Guards Ceremony:

Every day visitors to Gyeongbokgung palace can watch a reenactment of the “Changing of the Royal Guards” ceremony, which takes place at the Gwanghwamun and Heungnyemun plazas.

The royal guards of the Joseon Dynasty (1392~1910) were in charge of protecting the gates of the capital city and the royal palace. The royal palace guards, who were known as the ‘Wanggung Sumunjang’, had the very important duty of protecting the king. They were in charge of opening and closing the palace gates, inspecting all visitors, and maintaining a close surveillance of the palace. They were divided into day and night shifts, and this ceremony used to take place whenever the shifts changed over.

The ceremony is reenacted exactly as it used to be held, with guards wearing the Joseon uniforms, carrying traditional weapons and playing instruments. The ceremony takes place every hour on the hour from 10:00am to 3:00pm.

Visitors can also try on the historic uniforms of the royal guards and take photographs in front of Gyeonghoeru, thought to be the most beautiful pavilion in Gyeongbokgung palace.

Lotus Lantern Festival 1,600 Years of History:

the Lotus Lantern Festival, celebrating the birth of Buddha, dates back to the Three Kingdoms Period (57 B.C. – A.D. 676). During the Goryeo Dynasty (918 – 1392), when Buddhism was the state religion, colorful lanterns were strung and festivities were held across the country from palaces to small villages.

During this festival, there will be performances of Korean traditional percussion instruments and the Foreigners’ Traditional Dance Show offer much to see. Visitors can also take part in making lotus lanterns, experience of traditional straw utensils, and a variety of other Buddhist-related activities. Additional activities include Continue reading

11/11 Time to eat some Pepero !

In Korea, there are many special days celebrated, sometimes for no special reasons at all. And Pepero Day is the exact example of such celebration. But it’s kind of cute how they make11.11 (11th day of November) special. So yes, Pepero Day is celebrated on 11.11 every year.

Pepero is a cookie stick, dipped in chocolate, manufactured by Lotte Confectionery in South Korea since 1983. Pepero Day is somewhat similar to Valentine’s Day and is held on 11th of November, since the date “11-11” resembles four sticks of Pepero. Currently Lotte has come up with various types of flavors for their Peperos.

So what do people do on Pepero Day? It’s actually akin to Valentine’s Day as couples (and also friends) exchange or give Pepero to their loved ones.

11.11 looks like a big yummy row of Pepero sticks, and it’s no coincidence that Pepero Day falls on this date! The clever peeps at Lotte created this day as a commercial haven to maximise sales of their yummy Continue reading

Korean University Life

Student cheering team at the spring festival.

South Korea is known around the world as a country that values education and study. From kindergarten through to university, Korean students (and parents!) work hard to ensure educational needs are met. Academies, study rooms, and national tests abound, all with the intent of furthering students’ academic skills. Whether you agree
with their system or not, I won’t convince you otherwise. Instead I’d like to share with you a glimpse into Korean university life, a microcosm of Korean society that is so much more than just tests and study rooms. I should divulge however, that my Canadian nationality identity means that I can never truly understand what it is to be a Korean student. What I offer here are observations from my work teaching university students and about 100 interviews with current students from four Continue reading

South Korea: Cultural Etiquette

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The People

Korea is one of the most homogeneous countries in the world, racially and linguistically. It has its own culture, language, dress and cuisine, separate and distinct from its neighboring countries. Hard work, filial piety and modesty are characteristics esteemed by Koreans. They are proud of their traditional culture and their modern economic success. Education is highly valued as the path to status, money and success.

Meeting and Greeting

  • The bow is the traditional Korean greeting, although it is often accompanied by a handshake among men. To show respect when shaking hands, support your right forearm with your left hand.
  • Korean women usually nod slightly and will not shake hands with Western men. Western women may offer their hand to a Korean man.
  • Bow when departing. Younger people wave (move their arm from side to side).

Names and Titles

15 Most Unusual Korean Dishes!

15. Budae Jjigae (Army Base Stew ):

After enduring the second world war, and then the Korean War, the Korean people were left hungry and in need. In order to feed their families, many parents who lived near US army bases took surplus supplies of army goods such as spam and canned frankfurters and added them to a basic kimchi stew. The end result was Army Base Stew. This stew, which can have virtually anything in it – including eggs and ramen noodles – has spread across South Korea and is wildly popular to this day.

14. Dakbal (Chicken Feet ) :

Chicken feet are probably one of the least unusual entries on this list, considering that most countries with a Chinese restaurant can get Chinese-style chicken feet. The texture of this dish is very unusual to western palettes – it is sinewy and chewy. Once you get past the idea that you are eating feet, this dish is truly delectable and I couldn’t recommend it enough.

13. Gejang (Raw Crabs):

These delightful little crabs are not cooked before consumption; instead they are seasoned with various sauces and eaten raw. Interestingly another raw seafood dish of baby crabs is soft enough that you also eat the shells which are not unlike a slightly Continue reading