Jessica’s South Korea Photo Blog

Jessica Park, a Media Studies and Studio Art major, is currently studying abroad in Korea on the UVA Exchange at Korea University. Check out her photo blog below!

Taken at my grandmother’s apartment where she fed me my first homemade meal in Korea (I am Korean-American). I took this photo because of the authenticity and history behind her Korean cooking, which was passed on from generation to generation. Korean meals are set up with rice, several homemade fermented side dishes, and usually a soup or protein.

At a barbecue restaurant near my grandparent’s place. I took this photo because this way of cooking meat is very typical in Korean culture. The meat is cooked on the table in front of you and the man typically handles the meat, which can be paired with cooked kimchi, bean sprouts, mushrooms, and garlic. This particular restaurant had the meat cooked on top of a traditional stone rice pot.

Ehwa Women’s University in Edae, Seoul. I took this photo because this university is one of the top most prestigious universities in Korea and I felt a sense of empowerment to be a Korean woman standing there amongst all the other strong, young women students.

Lotte World Tower in Jamsil, Seoul, which is the tallest tower in Korea. It was recently built, and boasts 123 floors, making it the 5th tallest tower in the world.

At the National Museum of Korea. I remembering taking this photo in awe of how beautiful the building was. I hadn’t been so amazed by a building since my first trip to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. This museum is the largest museum in Korea and tells the story of ancient Korean history all the way to modern times.

 

Namyangju Film Studios — This location was a setup of a traditional Korean village for drama shoots and movie shoots. Many top movies and dramas were shot in this village setup such as Dongyi and JSA.

Korea University Graduation Day— I remember wandering out from my dorm looking to explore around the school, with no real plans for the day, and stumbling across the graduation. The ceremonies were all over, so all the families were taking photos with their children in fancy graduation robes, giving and receiving flowers and gifts. One family even asked me to take a photo for them.

Sulbing—Sulbing is the one of the top dessert cafe chains in Korea. Dessert cafes are not very popular or existent in America, but they are huge in Korea. Groups of friends go to these cafes, order one or two large dessert dishes such as the one pictured (green tea chocolate bingsoo) and share them while relaxing and talking.

Local street food—Street food is a common and large part of the city life in Korea. They mainly sell fried corndogs, fried sausages, rice cakes, and fish cakes. Each item is roughly $1-3 and you stand as you eat.

Traditional Korean Painting Club — I had tried out a club at Korea University that focuses on painting traditional Korean paintings with traditional Korean ink. There is a specific method on how to hold the brush, what kind of lines one should draw, and how thick the lines should be. The materials used are also very specific for the paper, ink and brush.

 

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Why I studied abroad

Alexis Ferebee is a third-year currently studying abroad in Lyon for the semester. Check out her decision to study abroad below!

I almost didn’t study abroad. During my first 2 years at UVA I had decided that leaving the country would be more of a hassle than anything. After all, I was probably just going to major in Media Studies anyways. Then, at the end of fourth semester, I realized how much I greatly enjoyed French, and decided to double major. Even then, I wasn’t thinking about studying abroad. Suddenly, at the beginning of this school year, I realized that I would be wasting the chance of a lifetime and that I needed to apply. Luckily, I had this enlightening realization just in time to submit an application for the spring semester, which would have been my last opportunity. And now here I am.

Tomorrow I leave to study abroad in Lyon, France for 5 months. I have done so much preparation for this moment and yet I feel like I still have so much to do. I have realized though, that stressing about it doesn’t help much. I truly do not know what to expect from this experience, and do not have many preconceived notions, but I do have many aspirations. First of all, I want to be able to enhance my French. This seems pretty obvious but the betterment of my French could help sway me in a certain direction career-wise. I also want to make international friends. I say this because I have two very good American friends going with me on this trip and I don’t want to just hang out with them while speaking English. I can do that any time. My biggest goal is to gain more confidence. Even now, I am sitting at my computer worrying about many insignificant details about my trip but I want to be more sure of myself, and I feel like this trip will give me the independence I need to make this happen.

There is such a mix of anxiety and excitement that I can’t explain. I’ve never quite experienced anything like this in my life, so I guess that feeling is pretty normal. I am anxious about my flight, my train, but most of all, my communication. I am confident in my French abilities, but what if I forget and freeze up? I guess I will have to wait and see what the next few days bring. All I know is that I am excited to be in a beautiful country studying a language I love!