This post is super duper long overdue! Haha! I have been so busy last April because of midterm exams, presentations and tons of reading materials. I did not even notice that it’s already May ㅜㅜ
Anyways, one of the highlights of my month of April was our school’s field trip! It was not actually a field trip where you can play around and do picnics and such but it was an academic field trip. I have been to field trips in Korea before when I was in Hannam University but I was with foreign exchange students. This time, I was with foreign graduate students and Korean graduate students as well! The trip was called a 답사 (Dapsa) and when I looked for its English translation, it was like “field study” or “field survey”.
We had a 답사 scheduled last Fall semester but I didn’t join the trip because I kinda didn’t like the itinerary and it was only a one day trip. The 답사 this Spring semester is also different compared to the Fall semester because it is school-wide. The trip organized during the Fall was per department but the Spring one is bigger in terms of participants and budget (I guess ㅋㅋ) and has a longer duration too!
The Spring field trip was 3 days and 2 nights trip to Pohang, Gyeongju and Ulsan. From Seongnam, where our school is located, we traveled around 4 or 5 hours to Pohang, which was our first stop. There, we visited Posco’s steel plant and had a tour around their museum and factories. We also had the chance to eat at their company cafeteria! The food was rice with black bean sauce and of course tons of side dishes. But the food was not as fabulous as it’s name ㅋㅋ After eating, we went to their small museum where they showcase the history of the company. After that, we proceeded to a factory trip! We were inside our bus and then there was a guide who boarded the bus. Before the bus drove to the factory, the guide collected our phones and cameras because taking of photos is not allowed. My Korean is not so technical to understand everything she said but I think the guide explained the features of the factory, the roles of each machine and how they process steel. We also had the chance to go inside one of their processing plants and we were really amazed on how the machines process the raw materials.
After the POSCO tour, we headed to the beautiful city of Gyeongju! If you love Korean history, you should really visit Gyeongju! We went to Oksan Seowon Confucian Academy and Dongnakdang which is the house of a Joseon Confucian scholar. I felt goosebumps after visiting these places because it felt like I was travelling to the old Korea. The first day of the trip was amazing except it was raining! ㅜㅜ
The second day was still in Gyeongju wherein we visited King Munmu’s tomb, Gameun Saji, Seokguram, Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju Museum, Cheomseongdae Observatory and then Wolji Pond. Thank God the rain stopped so we enjoyed going around the different historical places. I can’t pick my most favorite place among the sites we have visited because all of them were sooooo beautiful! ㅜㅜ Every site has its own charm and own amazing history but if I were to pick my Top 3, it would be Seokguram, Bulguksa Temple and the Wolji Pond. The ride going to Seokguram was so amazing! Since the site is located on top of the mountain, you’ll be able to see the wonderful nature of Gyeongju! No one should also miss the historical Bulguksa Temple. We were lucky that one of the temple’s monks guided us and explained the significance of each part of the temple. Of course we saw the two pagodas but the Seokgatap is still under renovation so it was placed inside a shelter. Visiting Wolji pond is also a must! I suggest to visit this place in the evening in order to witness the beauty of the site. If you’re planning to visit Gyeongju anytime soon, don’t forget these places! My iPod’s camera did not give justice to the beauty of the places but they are really amazing in person.
After going around Gyeongju, we went back to our hotel and had some sort of a meeting. It was a gathering of everyone who joined the trip and we had an evaluation of the trip. I didn’t know that there is such activity in Korean schools so it was a really new experience for me. There were representatives from each department who shared their thoughts about the trip, both positive comments and negative comments. After the gathering, we proceeded to the department meeting. It was the time wherein we drank, ate and play with the other students from our department.
The last day of the trip was dedicated to visit Ulsan’s Bangudae Petroglyphs, Petrogylph Museum and the Whale Museum. We only stayed at Ulsan until lunch time because we were already scheduled to go back to Seongnam. It took us roughly 5 to 6 hours to go back to our school from Ulsan because of the long distance and traffic ㅋㅋ.
I really enjoyed the trip with the other students! I was also able to practice my Korean speaking skills by talking to other Korean students that I met. My Korean listening and comprehension was challenged by the Korean tour guides and the other Korean professors too! Even though it was still hard for me to understand lots of words like historical and Buddhist terms, I am so happy that I was able to get a grasp of what they were explaining ㅋㅋ. I should also thank my new found Korean friends for re-interpreting what the tour guides said.
The food in the Gyeongsang province was also good! I think I have tasted the best Dwaenjang Jjigae in one of the restaurants we visited in Gyeongju ㅜㅜ. I’d love to go back there again to go to other places in Gyeongju and to eat good food haha! The trip only cost 70,000 won, yes only 70,000 won including all the food, transportation fees, snacks, accommodation at Hanhwa resort hotel and all the entrance fees. The trip was cheap because of course, it was subsidized by our school. I think it was a really good decision that me and my other Filipino friends joined the trip haha! Everything was so worth it! I hope that the Fall semester’s trip would also be as nice as this ㅋㅋ.
For those who are planning to visit Gyeongju, my friend told me it’s easy to go around the city. There are lots of information about Gyeongju at Visit Korea‘s website so don’t forget to check them out.^^