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A Year in South Korea/P.J. Sproule

Cooking, drumming and dancing

October 11, 2011
The Daily Mining Gazette

Now that I have spent a little over a month in South Korea, I am starting to feel very comfortable here.

Most of my time has been spent in school though, so most of my adventures have occurred on the weekends. I have found my time in school very exciting too (even the Saturday school every other week), but I spend most of my class time studying Korean, as the language used in class is far beyond my level.

The first weekend this month, I got to see what school was like on Saturday. I found out that the use of the word "school" to describe it was a bit untrue, as we went for a hike in the morning and were finished by noon. The hike was very nice, as it was my first time climbing up a mountain on foot. The weather was also great, so we could see a lot from the top.

One weekend, our school went on a camping trip. It is easier for our school to do things like this because we have only a little more than 50 kids in the entire school. For this camping trip, we went to an old school that had been converted into a campsite with the addition of buildings for cooking and showers. Although it wasn't sleeping under the stars (we slept in what used to be classrooms instead), I had a lot of fun getting to experience camping from a different perspective. My favorite part was when they had one of the largest bonfires that I have seen, along with the ceremony to light it.

This month, we also started our Korean culture classes. These culture classes are after school on Monday through Thursday. On Monday, we have my favorite class, cooking, where I've been able to try out making and eating a lot of different foods. On Tuesday and Thursday, we have salmulnori, which is Korean traditional drumming. I had the opportunity to try out most of the instruments used here previously when I went to Korean camp, but I am learning much more complex music here. On Wednesday, we have traditional dancing, which is probably my least favorite. I don't really like dancing, but I make sure to participate anyway, because the teacher is really nice and makes the trip from Seoul every week just for this class. I enjoy the classes, even though they make my weekdays very busy.

We have also started Korean classes, which we have for about half of the school day on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Because I did a lot of work beforehand, I am finding the content covered in the classes to be a bit below my level, but I feel that it is good review. The language has been giving me some trouble, but I am doing my best to work through them and use it as much as possible. The classes are helpful in cementing these basics, so that I will be able to add in more that I see and hear.

I have been having a great time here with everything that I have been doing. The people have treated me well and I feel that I have been improving a lot in many areas of my life. I still haven't really fathomed that I am on the other side of the world, but I would like to thank everyone who helped me get here.

Editor's note: P.J.?Sproule is a Rotary Youth Exchange student from the Houghton Rotary Club living near Seocheon, South Korea, for a year.



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