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Seoul Searching: Seoul in mourning

27 April 2014 By Ellen Back, Columnist No Comments

It has been a very sad and trying time in Seoul this week due to the sinking ferry disaster. Despite my attempts to refrain from writing about this event, 24-hour live news broadcasts have made it nearly impossible to avoid, serving as a constant reminder of this tragic incident.

On April 16, a South Korean ferry consisting of 476 passengers and crewmembers sank during a high school field trip. As the death toll rises to 181, people on campus walk with heavy hearts. It’s like a huge fog has clouded the once bright and vibrant life of Seoul.

With dimmed smiles and quieter laughter, many students at Yonsei stayed in during the weekend.

After hearing the news, my mom called me last week and advised that I do the same. Expressing happiness and excitement during this somber time is considered inconsiderate and a means for scolding.

So this weekend, my friends and I spent most of our free time inside, planning our trip for next month. Thankfully, our semester break in May will allow us to visit Reina’s family in Thailand which will give us an opportunity to take our mind off of the sadness during this difficult time. We can only hope for the safe return of the remaining passengers.

As for other study abroad updates, I applied for a tutoring job this week. After reading an ad on a bulletin in the lobby, I contacted a tutoring service provider and submitted my application to teach English.

I am really hoping to hear back from them in the next couple weeks. I would love to make more Korean friends and save some money for my trip.

Other than preparing for our visit to Thailand, Reina, Kerry and I went out for a couple hours on Saturday evening.

We attended a talent show with our mentor’s club to support our exchange friends who were performing. This semester was the first time the club hosted an event that showcased the talents of the international students.

Unfortunately, my friends and I did not have time to be a part of the show due to our time spent studying. But luckily, Patrick, a student in our group, won first place! He received a prize of 100,000 won (which is equivalent to about $100) and bought us all a drink at the after event. We didn’t stay out too long but it was nice to celebrate and enjoy a couple hours out with our friends.

I will be leaving for Thailand on May 4 so next week’s post will consist of more excitement. Until then, I will be impatiently waiting for my departure.


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