The Study Abroad Newsletter

Cultural Experience of a Lifetime

Leia Seguancia

Sociology major
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

While at HUFS I’ve experienced many new things, I wouldn’t have back home or elsewhere. The two events that was the most memorable was going to a Hanawon and the DMZ. The first was the Hanawon, it is a facility that re-educates North Korean defectors when they first get to South Korea. The defectors then spend three months in these facilities where they get taken care of and in the sense reeducated in order to live in a socioeconomic society. They also learn things that people learn anywhere else; like buying things with money, learning the value of money, how to use an ATM, pay bills, etc. We couldn’t take any pictures as they covered our camera on our phones so we couldn’t. But the Hanawon looks like a college campus in a sense where adults and children go to school and field trips and get to experience new things in their lives. But I liked this trip because I’ve always read about the Hanawon’s but never thought I would get to visit one. And the one we went to had just women and children, we even got to say hello to a class of women at this time.

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My second memorable event was the Korean Demilitarized Zone or DMZ. Though we didn’t go to zone specifically we went around popular areas to see around the DMZ. One specific place we went to was the Dorasan Observatory Platform. From there we could see across North Korea at a distant and even use binoculars to see into North Korea as well as the flag. We were told before we wouldn’t be able to because they are still getting reeducated, so this was nice. And the women there were nice and waved hello to all of us. We tried to look for people as well as the statue of the country’s first leader Kim Il-sung but couldn’t find it. I enjoyed this trip because this would be the closest thing I could get to the DMZ or North Korea in general, but to see the flag was also another goal that I achieved personally.