I have arrived in Seoul! I flew in Sunday at around 3 p.m. Another student from UNM offered to come get me from the airport and help me find my apartment, but when I got there she was running late and told me it would be simpler and faster if I could meet her at Seoul Station rather than the airport. Incheon International Airport isn’t actually in Seoul itself, but rather on an island adjacent to the city. Getting to Seoul Station is just one simple train ride away… if you know what you’re doing. After going around in circles a few times, almost falling down an escalator with my luggage (that was highly embarrassing) and being thoroughly confused, I eventually found the correct train to get to Seoul Station. It was a nice, 30-45 minute train ride. Eventually my friend showed up and I finally felt a bit more at ease. We went outside and tried flagging down a taxi for what seemed like a very long time but to no avail. They were either full, seemed to ignore us or couldn’t read the English address of my apartment. Eventually we just decided to go get my friend checked into where she would be spending the semester and get Wi-Fi to get my address in Korean. Finally, after getting her moved into her new place and getting my address, we managed to get a taxi and get me checked in. I met my roommates, Salia (from France) and Cecilia (from Mexico). We basically all have the same name… someone’s idea of a joke? We aren’t sure. Anyway, I now know that we really didn’t need to go to all of that trouble at all… my apartment is easily accessible from one of the exits of Seoul Station! Ah well, you live and you learn, right?
On my second day I went to meet up with a couple of students from UNM once again with one of my roommates, Salia. We rode the metro to a popular tourist destination, Itaewon. We ate breakfast at a pancake house, then got back on the metro to visit our university, Dongguk, for the first time. The campus is on a mountain so there are many, many stairs and steep hills.
Today, my third day, I woke up exceptionally early. I’m still suffering from jet lag and have been waking up basically every hour on the hour at night from 2am on. This morning I gave up at 6am and did homework for a few hours. I hope my jet lag goes away soon! I did everything right (not taking naps, going to bed when they go to bed here) and yet I’m still suffering. Around noon I met up with some other exchange students and we went to Dongguk to eat lunch and meet with my “Korean buddy.” Dongguk has a program in which they match foreign students with Korean students to ease their adjustment to Korean life. My buddy’s English name is Zoe, and she is very nice! She is studying English translation as her major, so her English is really great.
An unforeseen problem I’m having here is money. I can’t figure out how to withdraw any cash from my accounts! ATMs aren’t accepting my card and the bank I went to also wouldn’t accept it. Zoe is trying to help me out, but she doesn’t know what to do either. I really hope I can get it figured out quickly, because I can’t do much if I don’t have any money…
Another completely absurd problem I’m having is being locked out of Facebook! Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, but Facebook is how I’ve been communicating with the other UNM students here! Facebook locked me out because I logged in on an unfamiliar computer. The only way to unlock my Facebook is by receiving a text message with an access code… I can’t receive text messages here however, so I can’t unlock it. It’s a ridiculous problem, but a real one. Hopefully I can get network access so I can receive the text message!
That’s all I’ve got for now, but I’ll check back in soon. My classes start in two days, so I’m sure there will be lots for me to report on in the next week or so! Thanks for reading!