Living and teaching in Korea over the past six years has created so many wonderful memories. From traveling, to living in the countryside and the city, to meeting people from all over the world. Every day has been an adventure - a taste of old and new, the present and the past. Since arriving back in Korea, over 2 years ago, I have traveled to three different countries and have had amazing experiences while working for Chungdahm Learning and living in the bustling city of Seoul! Here is a photo story of my best experiences and moments from 2014 to the present.
Amazing Race in Seoul
Chungdahm Learning held a company sponsored "Amazing Race". Various branches signed up for it and teams were expected to compete against one another, by locating tourist sites and participating in local activities. Here, Balreet Dhoot and I, are having a ball of a time dressing up in one of the many famous Korean photo booths. You can choose an array of ridiculous wigs, clothing and photo screen options.
A Winter trip to Chungcheongnam-do
Balreet Dhoot, Johnothan Wood and myself took a trip down to Chungcheongnam-do, in the mid-Western part of Korea, to visit an old co-worker and co-teacher of mine, Mr Lee Sang Hee. It had snowed a lot the week before in the province, which is two hours south-east of Seoul. The day was spent enjoying a delicious meal at a duck restaurant, in Hongseong-gun, and then at Sudoksa, a famous Korean temple.
Rooftop BBQ in the Summer
The summer in Korea is a perfect time to enjoy a rooftop BBQ with friends! On this day we all brought a potluck of food and drinks. One friend prepared a watermelon punch, and another brought a board game. We enjoyed BBQ-ing in the afternoon sun, and then when it had cooled down we enjoyed some food and drinks while the sun set.
A Fall Trip to Seoraksan National Park
Seoraksan National Park, located in the north-eastern coastal region of Gangwon-do province, is one of the many hidden treasures of Korea. The hiking is some of the most phenomenal, surrounded by natural beauty and rich in culture. My boyfriend and I took a trip up to Gangwondo province during the Fall, which is the recommended time to hike in Korea, as it was prime time for foliage and weather conditions. One of our favorite things about Mt. Seorak was the temple hidden inside the cave on the Ulsanbawi route. There were Buddhist monks praying and singing inside a temple made of rock.
Cocktails and White Sand Beaches in the Philippines!
Korean public holidays are the best times to travel internationally, especially if it's nearby. Last Seollal (Korean New Year), we traveled to Panglaos beach in the Philippines. We enjoyed a relaxing five days on some of the best beaches in the world, and ate delicious seafood BBQ almost every night! The Philippines is super cheap and reasonably affordable if you are traveling from Korea. Anything to escape Korea's winter!
A South African Christmas Lunch
Christmas is a time when all foreigners in Korea come together. Of course living abroad, Christmas can be a very difficult time, as you miss your family and friends. So a couple of friends and Chungdahm Learning teachers decided to get together at a South African restaurant in Itaewon called Braai Republic. We enjoyed a great three course meal including, lamb rump, sautéed vegetables and hot gluvine. We were surrounded by merry people, African Christmas carols and delicious "Springbokkie" shots!
Summer Strolls in Olympic Park
I just love walking outdoors in the spring and summer in Korea! One of my favorite places to venture to is Olympic Park. It is a great place to unwind, take in nature and see a beautiful sunset over Jamsil and Seoul. You can also see Jamsil Lotte Tower from here and enjoy various Korean cultural activities, like visiting the art museum or renting a bicycle.
The Local Korean Markets
Shopping in a Korean market is one of the fun cultural experiences I have enjoyed while living in Korea. Not only have I met interesting people but I have also become a 'local' shopper who the market vendors look forward to engaging with. The old lady pictured above for example, every time she sees me she waves at me, and gestures for me to come over! I do not always buy from her, but when I do she does give me great discounts and attempts to tell me about Korea, understanding various words in my broken Korean.
A Spontaneous Summer Trip to Busan
Busan has got to be one of my favorite destinations in Korea. From Haeundae beach, to Taejongdae, to the various beach temples - what's not to love? This particular weekend, a friend and I, ventured spontaneously to Busan. We got a room at Pobi guesthouse for the weekend, and sunbathed at Haeundae. We took a trip out to a beach temple, about 20 minutes out of Busan, and had an awesome cultural experience in the Korean markets and listening to the various dialects of the Busan people.
The Seoul Lantern Festival
The Seoul Lantern Festival happens every year on the Cheongyecheon Stream, close to Gyeongbok Palace on the orange and blue subway lines. This year we walked along the stream for about an hour, enjoying the various lantern installments from all over the world - including various themes and ideas related to Asian Confucianism and Korean Modernism. It was truly spectacular to see the intricate designs and different artistic ideas that the East and West have, and how they perceive various concepts.
Sister Love in Ireland!
A truly memorable experience from these past two years, is when I visited my sister in Ireland. I got a week vacation to travel from Korea to Ireland, where my sister showed me all the beautiful sights that the Ring of Kerry and Dublin have to offer! This day was one of my favorite, when we took a tour to the Cliffs of Mohair, and saw the natural beauty that the country has to boast! traveling is one of the many reasons I love teaching English abroad!
Celebrating my 5th Birthday in Korea and my 30th
On my 30th we enjoyed Bills' almond flour chocolate cake, various delicious cocktails and the famous piggy chips at Southside Parlor in Itaewon. About 25 people pulled through and we enjoyed a night of great chats and festive vibes! It was for sure one of my best birthday celebrations in Korea! Other birthdays have included skiing, traveling and spa days.
Black Pork and Hallabon Oranges in Jeju Island
Jeju Island is absolutely stunning! It is one of the most scenic places in Korea and a must travel-to-destination while living and teaching English in Korea. On this day, we walked out to Sunrise Peak and enjoyed the natural beauty that the island and route had to boast. There were the famous Jeju women-divers in the water, and horseback riding for tourists. Also, there was a cute house made out of candy and a big lighthouse at the end of the trail. Sunrise peak is one of the most recommended places to travel to when visiting Jeju Island.
Hiking the Various Mountains of Korea
Korea is a hiking country. If you live here, you have to get into hiking and enjoy the great outdoors every chance you get. The countryside and mountain resorts, are beautiful. They are the least touristy places and some of the most peaceful areas outside of any bustling city. My boyfriend and I have climbed various peaks this past year, from Soraksan to Bukhansan to Achasan. Spring and fall have been our favorite times to hike, as the foliage and cherry blossoms are just stunning and make beautiful and memorable photos!
And Finally...a Trip to Africa!
And finally...what would a year abroad be without the people you love the most! I was so lucky and appreciative to be given the past Christmas off to spend time with my family in South Africa! I had not seen my parents in two years, and it was just such a humbling and memorable experience for my whole family. It also re-set my Korea button, to look forward to another year, living and teaching abroad!
It is no surprise that Tijana Huysamen, a South African born Capetownian, avid traveler and travel journalist, fell in love with South Korea and its people. After Tijana arrived in South Korea in 2010, she had the opportunity to live in the heart of the Korean countryside. During her time spent in Chungnam province she learned to speak Korean, prepare Korean food and experience the humble nature of the countryside people. After a year break in New York, Tijana jumped at the opportunity to return to Korea again, and is currently working at the CDI Jamsil Branch, in Jamsil, Seoul. Read Tijana’s Aclipse blog to gain a unique perspective on Korea and her shared experiences and adventures both in a major city and in the countryside. Follow Tijana on Twitter @TeeAnni or email firstname.lastname@example.org to request more information on teaching in Korea!