Hello, my name is Alejandro Ruiz and I am from Spain. My major is mechanical engineering and I am going to summarise a story about the best six months in my life.
It all started November of last year in a small city called Jaén, my homecity. Jaén is located in the south-west of Spain, near to the tourist city Málaga. My city might be quite small if we compared it with the big Seoul but the population is around 600.000 resident as Cheonan. One of the principal characteristics of my country is the Mediterranean food, we always use a balance between vegetable, bread, meat and of course olives. Jaén is internationally famous mainly because we have some of the best olive oil in the world, the weather and the dry air create a perfectly environment for these sort of trees. But it is not all, the people here are very friendly and hospitable, they always want have a beer with you for talking and spending time together. In addition, you should not be worried about the price, Jaén is a
very cheap city. The young people usually go to the bar and order the typical “tapas”. It is a really good and cheap way to eat and have fun. Basically, when you order a drink you have a little dish with Spanish good in it completely free, but you only pay the drink. It is a good deal, right?
So, I was selected as one of the next exchange student by my home university for studying at the Korea University of Technology and Education. This moment was amazing because during my whole life I was dreaming for an opportunity to travel abroad and meet people from different countries. But it is not everything, I was selected to join the Koreatech Summer School Camp as well. Can you imagine how I felt?
First of all, I have to say that it was not easy saying goodbye to all of my family members but they really knew how I would want a chance like this. So, I packed my baggage and on the 11th of July I realized that I was really flying to South Korea. But you know what, it has been the best choice in my life.
During the summer school camp, I met with incredible people from different countries such as Canada, Denmark, Cyprus and China. You may wonder, how could I make good friends in just two weeks? I am not able to say enough words for my camp-mates because they deserve the best wishes and the best things in their lives. We had the opportunity to spend much time together by going to parties, taste korean food and talk about our cultures. Even, we still keep in touch through Facebook and we are planning meet up again the next summer in Cyprus. It is awesome, isn’t it?
However, it would not have been possible if the great Koreatech staff would not have worked like they did. It is an important challenge to deal with almost forty different people and do stunning things in only three weeks. They passed with a very good score in my book. They took us to some places such as Seoul, Gyeonggijeon Hall, Independence Hall, Cheonan and many more that even I do not remember. They provided us an idea about how South Korea has become one of the most developed countries in the world only in fifty years. We felt how the Korean people live their lives, the balance among traditional and modern culture and of course the great Korean cuisine.
When the summer camp finished, I started my new life as a student in Korea University of Technology and Education. I always wanted to be involved in Gec activities and my life in the International House dormitory provided me a great environment to learn about different cultures and even more about Korean people. Because of that I have met more people than I had ever expected in my life.
I would say my Korean life started one day when I was heading to the student cafeteria in Koreatech and three international student stopped me on the sidewalk. They asked me if I wanted to go to Seoul that night because it was the birthday of one of their friends and I accepted. Actually, I did not know them at all, but they seemed very friendly and really good people. I trusted them and I have to say that they have become my close friends during my entire stay here. So, we arrived to Seoul, the big city of South Korea and I realized how big that city is.
We were walking next to the Han River and enjoying the stunning views before going to party. Then, we went to a Korean restaurant with some international friends and we were talking about various things. At the end, we went to so many busy and exciting places, and we had fun together until quite late. I was worried at first about the finding a place to rest before heading back until I experienced a Korean sauna. In my opinion, this was a great experience to me because we do not have these kinds of things where I’m from.
Although, I have only lived here for five months and it has been my first journey in Asia, I am especially fascinated with Korean culture. For me, one of the most shocking things was that Korean people look like very serious and concentrated all the time. If we compare it with my culture, it seems like they have difficulties to express their feelings. However, it is only the appearance. When you get to know them, you realize that they are the most respectful, friendly and fun people around the planet. They make you feel at home.
Finally, I just want to say thank you so much. South Korea and all the people here have shown me another life’s point of view and how different cultures can work together in harmony. I hope one day come back again to this wonderful place and having the same fantastic moments that I have had during six months. I also would like to invite everyone to visit Spain because everyone should have at least one experience like that in their life.