Gabriela Bueno is a student at the Flagler College and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Seoul, South Korea.
1. Fried Chicken is a Religion
Yes, Seoul is fried chicken heaven. Near my school there are at least five chicken places and no matter the day, there is a waiting line. On the menu, you will find an assortment of fried chicken; they have garlic fried chicken, sesame, curry, the list goes on and on!
2.But Coffee is the Main Religion
If you are a coffee lover, just come here. I am not joking. There’s a coffee shop every five meters and they are amazing. Lovers of tea and coffee will find Seoul a paradise. Plus, it is socially acceptable to drink coffee at any time, the shops are open until midnight.
3. Restaurants have “Ajummas” as Chefs
Best thing ever, almost every restaurant I have visited here (street restaurant) the food was made by an ajumma, which is the name elderly women go by in Korea. It makes you feel at home. There are homemade food restaurants everywhere and it’s amazing.
4. Street Food is a Big Deal
Myeongdong. Just go there and be welcomed by miles and miles of street food and all those foods you see on Facebook and Instagram.
5. Clothes! Clothes! Everywhere
Seriously, shirts, pants dresses, shoes and everything in between. Some things can be found for as little as $5, sometimes even less. Come ready with empty luggage if you like cute and fashionable clothes.
6. Dessert Cafes Should be an International Thing
Bingsu. Just imagine shaved ice with a whole piece of cake, with chocolate, Oreos, fruits, strawberries–just so much food. Besides Bingsu, you can find all types of cakes and sweet breads that will make you crave them 24/7.
7. Will it be Spicy or Sweet?
Be careful, whatever you think is salty might not be. My Chicago pizza had sugar sprinkled in the crust. Most of the snacks at the convenience store usually have some sweetness in it. It has become a game between my friends to guess how it will taste.
8. Many Opportunities to Watch your Favorite K-pop Artists
Yes, if you like K-pop and want to watch your favorite band perform you might be lucky, but you have to look for it. Be aware of your artist’s social media since that is how I found out about many performances. I watched six bands for $45! If you come during spring, be aware of the Universities Festivals, since they have famous visiting artists and they are usually FREE.
9. There Might be Some Coed Bathrooms
Yes, and a urinal right next to a stall in one single room. I haven’t heard of any bad experience so far. Boys and girls are very respectful when it comes to this small culture shock.
10. English is Well-Spoken
People might expect Koreans to know no English at all, but they do, and they are pretty good at it. In my perspective, they are scared that their English is bad and feel embarrassed by it. In reality, they want to practice their English–they are just scared to approach people.
The world awaits…discover it.
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