By Josh Tyler, sport management student who graduated in May
Today marks the first full week that I have been in South Korea, and holy cow this country is awesome. I have seen so many different things and experienced things unlike any other place in the world. I truly am lucky to be here, this country has shown me so many different perspectives of how people live their lives. Everything from food, leisure, transportation, sport, everything has a different way it can be done and I have only experienced a week of it and I am very excited for the 5 more weeks to come.
Throughout the first week I have experienced a lot of Korean culture. Dating back from historical times to modern day events. Something that really stuck out to me was the historic presence this country has within itself. For example, when we toured the Gyeongbokgung Palace you could feel the history coming out of the place. From the palace itself, to the museum of all the historical clothing, food, weapons, everything was just incredible to see. I really appreciated how the country keeps the traditions alive in some parts of the country. For example, today we were able to experience a traditional martial arts show performed on a stage for people to enjoy what Taekwondo was and how it impacted the culture for Koreans. Another event was a traditional dinner where we sat down crisscross and ate a traditional meal. That was quite the experience itself seeing how people really used to eat every meal. The food is a whole another part of Korea that has been an experience within itself. Although I was never a fan of fish or spicy foods, Korea (from what I have had thus far) has given me so much variety in picking something that can suit my liking! Oh ya don’t forget to master chopsticks, you might die if you don’t. I have grown to like the food and its different tastes, its quite good actually, also the portions are huge so you’ll never leave hungry. The culture is so much different than back home and that’s why I am really enjoying myself.
Something I loved seeing being a Sport Management student was how the sporting complexes varied from the US. The university we are staying at (Seoul National University of Science and Technology) is currently constructing a field to host soccer games and has a track around it assuming for the colleges soccer and track teams. It was completely different in my eyes from a US stadium because there was not much seating and a lot of like training rooms, locker rooms for the school. It was just different where in US the goal is to get people in seats, where as it felt they were just building the best facility for the athletes. It was just really cool to see. Also, there are parks everywhere in Seoul. Basketball courts, soccer pitches (some on rooftops of malls), kid parks, even some have work out equipment in the parks themselves. That was the first time I had ever seen work out equipment in a park, really cool because its different. People also ride bikes everywhere, the city of Seoul kind of reminded me of Portland in the sense everyone rides bikes. Seoul on the other hand has 10.4 million people in the city itself (World Population, 2014), where as Oregon barely has 3 million total people (Census Burrow, 2014). The city offers so many different things and it just really is incredible how much you can do. Another thing that is really close by is a driving range for golfers. It is across the entrance to our dorm buildings. It’s cool to see how close things are for the students to be able to access and use. As I continue to experience Korea I am going to be excited to see a lot of the differences that this country has to offer in sport.
For the first week here in Korea I think I have experienced so much I am shocked with all that I have experienced and the sheer amount of things that this country has to offer. I am really excited and eager to see what else I can learn about sport and how Korean culture is around it while I am here for five more weeks. I think it is going to be very different from the United States and I can’t wait to be able to share it. This first week has been a blast and I cannot wait for more to come. #GoCougs