University of Iowa

Chuseok Holiday

October 30th, 2018
Sitting outside the palace with a few beautiful friends

Sitting outside the palace with a few beautiful friends

During Chuseok, a national holiday, there was no school which meant more time for me to wander around Seoul and spend quality time with quality people. Initially, I went with Naomi, a friend from the CIEE program, to Gyeongbokgung and Deoksugung to explore the beautiful palaces. I was amazed by how huge the palace area was. There were so many different places to explore inside the palace area and so much to see. I was very fond of the details in design that you could see while looking at the palace structures. Since it was Chuseok, it was free entrance for everyone, meaning a lot of people were there. There were so many Koreans and foreigners dressed up in hanbok posing for their next great profile picture. At Gyeongbokgung Palace, we were able to see the changing of the guards, which was filled with lots of drums and a group of guards marching. At Deoksugung Palace, there is also an art museum filled with both architectural drawings and modern art.

Naomi and I exploring the palaces on our day off

Naomi and I exploring the palaces on our day off
The beautiful textural painting on so many of the palace buildings

The beautiful textural painting on so many of the palace buildings

I also had the opportunity to spend the night at my boyfriend’s family’s apartment and go to a baseball game with them. Baseball in South Korea is quite an experience and I would highly recommend going if you have a chance. We went to Doosan versus Nexton. The night before Doosan had won the season, so there was a lot of hype and tickets were sold out on that side. Mrs. Kim was a little upset because that is her favorite team and we had to sit on the opposing side. However, the baseball environment is much different than America. South Korea has cheerleaders. There was one guy and two girls who stand on a platform in front of the cheering section. Every team has different songs that the sing (with music to accompany them) and hand motions to accompany the songs. Then in between the innings when the players are warming up, the girls dance to a K-Pop song. In the end, Doosan won again, which was great for Mrs. Kim but maybe not so great for the section I was in.

The baseball game in Seoul

The baseball game in Seoul
Fans cheering while the cheerleader stands and leads them

Fans cheering while the cheerleader stands and leads them

The following Saturday, Seoul Mates, the buddy system that CIEE offers which allows local Korean students to be paired up with us and plan fun things for us to do, took us to Deoksugung Palace. Before we went, we were able to dress up in traditional hanbok and get our hair done to match the tradition dress. It was a little bit difficult to choose because there were so many different colors and options and we had to choose the right length for each dress. I had help choosing mine, then after trying it out, I got my hair done with little pearls in it and a ribbon. The palace was so beautiful when it was lit up. It looked so much different than during the daylight hours. Everyone looked so elegant in their traditional hanbok. 

This weekend was very helpful in better understanding Korean culture outside of the modern-day culture. Being able to take a walk through the historical sights of Korea really puts into perspective the amount of change Korea has undergone throughout history and helps realize a more complete picture of Korea. People can read about these sights in history class or look up pictures on the internet, but it really is completely different to be able to step foot into these historical sights. 

A view of the palace area and the back of a hanbok

A view of the palace area and the back of a hanbok
An example of what some of the hairstyles looked like in the group

An example of what some of the hairstyles looked like in the group

 

Taylor

Taylor Wertheim is an Italian and international studies major at the University of Iowa, pursuing a minor in Korean. She will be spending an academic year in Seoul, South Korea, on CIEE's Arts and Science program. 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

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