Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea
Annyeonghaseyo! I had the opportunity to study abroad in the beautiful country of South Korea at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. My trip was filled with tons of memories with people that I will never forget. However, the two most memorable events during my time abroad were the 21st Boryeong Mud Festival and the Jogyesa Temple Stay. On our first weekend in South Korea, Hankuk University coordinated a field trip to Daecheon Beach.
We arrived to our accommodation two blocks away from the beach the night before the festival. Although the sleeping situation was not ideal and equated to me not receiving any sleep, for the first time, I was able to enjoy the scenery of South Korea’s nightlife into the morning sunrise. I as the day progressed, a friend and I took a morning stroll on the beach walk, embracing the beauty of the empty beach and indulging in the salty sea breeze that reminded us of Hawaii! When the festival kicked into full swing, masses of people filled the beach walk, as they participated in the various games & vendors set up throughout the beach. Many others chose to participate in their main event of mudslides and mud games as me and my friends did. Surprisingly enough, it was really nice to be bathed in mud!! After being drenched from head to toe, me and my friends jumped into the beach water to wash up and cool off. It was amazing to be back in the ocean after being away from Hawaii for a few days. Our night ended with us returning back to the beach where the festival continued with a concert. It was an unforgettable experience to stand alongside my friends in Daecheon beach watch BewhY live in concert!!
My second favorite event was the Jogyesa Temple Stay that my professor coordinated. The experience was open for everyone in our program to participate in, and a few people did. The temple grounds were absolutely beautiful! Just beyond the entrance point of the temple were rows upon rows of lotus flowers blooming amongst the temple. Lanterns were hung around the temple in a color coordinated fashion that held wishes and prayers for love, health and prosperity. During our visit, we were provided a temple dinner that was completely vegetarian and utterly delicious! We were then invited into one of the temple rooms to pray and participate in a salt mandala activity that taught us about the concept of change within our lives. We must accept those changes without fear or inhibition, and only then will we find peace with what we have. We were also given the opportunity to drink tea with a monk from the temple. She allowed us to ask her questions about her life as a monk whilst we drank tea with her which was an astonishing experience. We were also given the opportunity to meditate and make wishes while we were in her presence and it was an experience that was simply purifying and peaceful.