So quick update on something I forgot about last week before taking about this week.
Last week Wednesday and Thursday, there was this beautiful thing that I would call a club fair. They had booths set up all along the main road of the campus with all the clubs. Music clubs had their instruments out, there was a rowing machine, tents pitched and lots of sound. We got to go around and see all the clubs that we could be a part of and sign up for the ones that we were interested. (Full list here). What we found out though, which is a little unfortunate, is that a lot of the clubs require a decent amount of knowledge in Korean or a longer stay on campus. The snowboarding club, the travel club, etc all wanted students who werre year long at least. Some of the other clubs wanted those who could speak Korean better as they didn’t really have any members who were good at English. However, there were still some clubs I was interested in that were extremely welcoming of exchange students. So sign up I did. It’s funny because signing up here isn’t just leaving your email. It’s also leaving your student ID, year, phone number and KakaoID (KakaoTalk is an app used by almost if not all Koreans in place of texting (visit their website here).
Anyways, on to actual week 2~
This week was actually pretty tame. Received my first homework assignment on Friday so over the weekend and some other school nights, I met up with two only two other international students in my Controls class to do Laplace and Convolution review. I have found out that I tend to overcomplicate problems. So a homework that should have taken not even 3 hrs, ended up taking way longer.
Wednesday night I had an OT, or orientation, for YG LE (Yonsei Global Langauge Exchange). This is a program that I signed up for (for free!) that pairs me with a local student so that everyone has their own language partner. Mine didn’t show up ㅠㅠ but that’s ok because I did get in touch with him anyways.
Friday night was by far the most fun yet. We had cheering OT for Akaraka. Akaraka is a spirit festival held annually here at Yonsei. One of two annual events that pits Yonsei University against Korea University (KU). The two have a healthy rivalry and so in May during the Akaraka Festival there is a cheering competition and in September/October there is a sports festival. Everyone goes wearing the colors of their school: Yonsei University in blue and Korea University in red.
School spirit is such a big deal here. Everywhere I go, I see people wearing letterman jackets of various shades, sporting their home university in big block text. Every single day people wear their lettermans. On campus or off campus on any given day, I’ll see the normal blue with white sleeves or I’ll see white with gold embellished words, black with gold, gray with light blue or any other combination. I once saw a dark green one that said Yonsei on a girl in the environmental engineering picture.
Anyways, the cheering OT was a lot of fun. When we got there, there was already a lot of people in both red and blue as Korea U’s students had shown up. We did a lot of singing along and screaming. There was a lot of movement involved with all the cheers and it was super exciting. We sang along to all the songs regardless of they were Yonsei songs or KU songs. The OT lasted 4 something hours and we went through so many songs but it was great. I’m so excited for May when the Akaraka Festival actually is.
I heard for the Akaraka Festival that there is a lot of food trucks, activities and performances. They even invite idols and I found out that last year IU came to perform at Akaraka. Well, whatever the reason I’m super stoked for it.
After cheering OT, we went out into Sinchon for a late meal and hit up a beer mart. The way a beer mart works: you go in and sit down. Along one wall is a bunch of refrigerators that have all different sorts of drinks. You go and take the one you want and drink it and at the end of the night you take the bucket of drinks to the table and whatever else you got (I got ICE CREAM :D) and pay.
Saturday was super fun. March 14 is White Day which is where the guys return the favor and give gifts to girls. Guys go out with girlfriends and such, but honestly I didn’t really notice all the PDA and stuff, but that’s probably because I was having my own fun. My program has something called CIEE Seoulmates which are local students from nearby universities who come and hang out with us. They plan events and we each have our own small groups with 3-4 of the CIEE students grouped with one local student. They had planned an event for us so we were playing games and having fun and afterwards we all went out for dinner to Donenu and had 삼겹살 (samgyeopsal – pork belly). That was Round 1, there was also Rounds 2 and 3 afterwards. Round 2, we went to a place called Double Double and got to learn a lot of Korean drinking games (There’s a separate post on drinking culture in Korea found here). My friends and I bailed after Round 2 since we were going out with others later into the night: clubbing. Going clubbing and doing it sober is always an experience but still fun. The smoke smell gets absolutely everywhere though and boy was I glad to be standing near the air conditioner.
Everyone was too tired this morning to do anything, and I’m pretty sure none of us actually got out of bed until after 12, whether we were awake or not… I still think it’s crazy that some of us decided to go out today too.