June 2013 - Vikingess Voyages

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Goodbye Korea and Kyung Hee GIP!

11:33:00 AM
My year as an exchange student in Korea is over! I have learned a lot during the time I spent at Kyung Hee's GIP campus, and met so many great people during this year. Although I have spent a lot of my time in the GIP (perhaps too much time) studying by myself I have still been fortunate to make some great friends along the way, and I believe that the best thing about our school might be the chance to meet such talented and kind people from all over the world.

I am really thankful for all the experiences I have made at the school. There have been both good times and hard times, but all in all I believe that my stay in the GIP has helped me improve myself as a person and inspired me to pursuit a career where I also can be of inspiration to others. The knowledge I have gained at the GIP will definitely be used to the fullest so that I can become a better person in the future. Kyung Hee has taught me a lot about our society, and inspired me to work for global peace and prosperity through whatever path I might find myself walking on in the future.

Thanks to all of you who have been supporting me throughout this year! I really appreciate each one of you a lot :)

The GIP peace dove statue
GIP Batch 57
All my posts about Kyung Hee

Friday, June 21, 2013

Stressed in Korea? Get your Blood Pressure Checked at the Seoul Metro!

11:37:00 PM
Today was my last day in Korea, and while taking the 3 hour long trip from my campus to the center of Seoul I was thinking that there could impossibly be anything worth experiencing on this trip that I have gone through so many times. But I couldn't have been more mistaken. When I got onto the blue line at Hoegi station I quickly realized that the interior looked quite different from what I had seen before in Korea. The usual row of seats had been placed, and instead there were a section where travelers could get a medical checkup and health advices from a doctor.

Some of the travelers even got their blood pressure measured while on the metro. I was thinking that this might have been one effect of the so-called "aging society" that also Korea is experiencing right now. Getting their blood pressure measured on the metro might also be a good solution for tired businessmen who spend the most of their days and evenings at the working place. Must be pretty stressful.

One of the the guys giving health advices to the travelers started talking to me, and he told me that he was going to work until 10 pm that evening. Oh, the East Asian working system! The word karōshi says it all (過労死/かろうし/과로사- death by exhaustion).
You can even get some healthy food on the metro these days it seems...
This did indeed turn out to be a memorable trip with the metro! Who knows what I'll experience next.. Anyway, new adventures in Japan are waiting for me ;) ciao!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Bangladeshi Roommate!

3:41:00 PM
This blogpost is dedicated to my friend and roommate during the past semester, the intelligent and warm-hearted Nazzina from Bangladesh! Although the GIP has a general rule that foreigners should share room with Koreans I ended up loosing my Korean roommate due to some unfortunate complications with her undergraduate school, and in the end the office let me and Nazzina share room instead.

My roommate is a true activist who has long experience in working for her countrymen for instance through her many years as an employee for the British Council. I have enjoyed her company a lot, and we have had many interesting discussions and shared information about issues concerning development and the status of our different countries. I have learned a lot from her, and as her kōhai I hope I can become as wise as her in the future.

Cultural exchange: Trying on my roommate's hijab!                                           
She has also been a bit troubled this semester due to the difficult situation in her home country. Just last year in November there was a big fire in one of the factories in the outskirts of Dhaka where over hundred people lost their lives, and one would have thought that the government had taken measures to ensure that the factories would be safer. But the collapse of the commerical building Rana Plaza on the 24th of April resulting in over 1000 deaths showed again how carelessly the political leadership and buisness leaders have dealt with the improvement of safety standards at the Bangladeshi factories. It was very frustrating for my roommate to see how such a big factory accident could happen again, only half a year after the previous Bangladeshi factory catastrophe that made headlines all over the world.

It is always nice to know that when you buy something it will actually benefit the person who spend their time making the things too. I wish that companies would be more transparent so that customers could have more information about where the money from their newly bought objects end up. Although most companies do not give out such information it is always possible to try and avoid the ones that are known to have bad practices when it comes to the ethical treatment of employers. There are also a number of companies that make ethical consideration a central part of their business. This is for instance a picture of a pencil case I got from my roommate from the Bangladeshi fair trade company Aarong!

A fair trade pencil case from Bangladesh

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Warrior Dash Obstacle Course: My Boyfriend is such a Caveman..

3:19:00 PM

Today there is an event called the "Warrior Dash" being held in Japan's Kanagawa prefecture (神奈川県)  where people dress up in funny costumes and run an obstacle course with their costumes on.. It looks pretty interesting!
My bf is participating in it, and he showed me his costume on Skype the other day. Apparently he had stitched it himself.. He is such a creative guy. My dear caveman <3 Too bad I'm in Korea right now, or I would have loved to join the race too. また今度!

My boyfriend, the caveman.. :)

Apparently the company that arrange the race is planning on having Warrior Dash-races in a lot of different countries this summer, including the US, Denmark, Norway, Italy, New Zealand and Australia..
I guess it will look similar to this (pictures from their Facebook page):

Warrior Dash: The funny participants
Warrior Dash: The obstacles

Warrior Dash: The Goal

For more information about this summer's Warrior Dash events, check out their homepage

Friday, June 14, 2013

Kyung Hee GIP Club Activities: Taekwondo

10:28:00 AM

During my year here at Kyung Hee's Graduate Institute of Peace Studies I have been participating regularly in their taekwondo club, and as I finish my studies here next week I've decided to share some of my experiences with practicing taekwondo in Korea.

Kyung Hee is actually quite well-known in the field of taekwondo, and their taekwondo union can boost of schools in various other countries such as for instance the US, Canada and Singapore. At the main campus in Seoul we even have a Taekwondo Department for those who really want to take this sport to the next level.

Our taekwondo-club

Practicing kicks with our taekwondo-teacher (사범님)
Here at the GIP all students are offered 2 classes of taekwondo per week free of charge, so it is a great opportunity for those interested in learning martial arts while staying at the campus. Our two taekwondo teachers are two brothers, and they take turns to teach here and at a taekwondo school in India every second semester. They are in charge of one of the local Kyung Hee Taekwondo schools, and we have also had the chance to visit their school to practice with their other students. The school even lends us the uniforms (dobok - 도복), so unless you want to buy your own there is really no expenditures involved in joining the club. Some of our students do however decide to take the black belt test, as this is offered at the end of each semester. The test costs 30.000, and is also arranged by Kyung Hee's Taekwondo Union. In order to be able to take this test the main thing you have to know is the 8 first poomsae (폼새 - taekwondo patterns composed of central taekwondo techniques). In general it is not that hard to pass the test, so it is a great opportunity for those who want to achieve the black belt within the 2 years of studying at Kyung Hee.

Practicing Poomsae
...And sparring
In my case I have had some previous experience with martial arts before, which really helped me achieve black belt last month. I practiced Shotokan karate for 5 years while I was living in Norway, but after I moved to Japan I haven't had the chance to practice any sports regularly.. Still, I ended up winning a prize for best poomsae at the black belt test in May.. Lucky!
Won a prize for best poomsae at the black belt test
My new black belt with my name in hangul

This week we had our last taekwondo class.. I'm gonna miss our practices, it has been really nice learning taekwondo at the GIP. There is not that much to do at the campus besides studying, so the taekwondo has really been one of the heights of my week for the last year. Next semester I'll be living in Tokyo, so we'll see what kind of sport I end up doing.!
The last taekwondo practice we ended the day with a cake :)
Anyway, the GIP offers classes in taekwondo on Mondays and Wednesdays, and kendo-classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Unfortunately I did not have the chance to participate in the kendo-classes, but they are also quite popular. Apparently the kendo-classes are easier than the taekwondo-classes, so it might be a good alternative for those who don't want to memorize the poomsae.

If you plan to study at the GIP I definitively recommend joining the taekwondo or kendo club! ^^


Other blog posts about taekwondo:
Muju Taekwondowon Promotion Tour

All my posts about Kyung Hee

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Seoul: Street-art in Naksan

12:25:00 AM
The end of the semester is drawing near, and things have become pretty busy lately. However, as this is my last semester in Korea I decided to join my Indonesian friend Maya for a short daytrip to Seoul this week to get a bit of a changed in my environment from the usual days at school.

We had decided to go to a place called Naksan park, and ironically this park can be found in the Hyehwa area where I also stayed during my first weeks in Korea. It was strange to be back there again!

Anyway, Naksan is in fact also the name of the mountain where the park is situated (the -san comes of course from the Chinese character 山), and the Nak-part is apparently abbreviated from the Korean word for camel (nakta - 낙타). I guess the mountain might resemble the hump of a camel..?

The park is famous for its street-art, and I have added some of the pictures we took there!
Street-art: A man walking his dog
View from the top of the Naksan Park/Mountain
View from the top of the Naksan Park/Mountain

A pavilion on Mt. Naksan

Street-art: A korean (?) boy playing with toys and an African boy carrying stones. I really like the societal critic in this one..
Street-art: Maya posing in front of an imaginary city
Street-art: Discover your secret angel wings at Naksan.. :p
Street-art: A painting man
Street-art: Thumb's up!

Street-art: Flower stairs
Construction work and street-art

Street-art: 안녕!
Street-art: shhh..
Street-art: A cute frog
Street-art: puppies! <3
Street-art that utilize some electric boxes
Street-art: dog in the window
Street-art: 이제 정말 만나야 할때!

Creative street-art..!
Street-art: A guy painting a rainbow.. Love Maya's expression :p
colorful street-art
Street-art: Mother and child
Street-art: More colors!!
The area of the park is pretty easy to find. It is just a short walk away from the Hyehwa metro, and as the park is relatively famous. Please refer to the map below for further details^^

산2-10 Dongsung-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea ‎
View Larger Map

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Patrick Stewart on Domestic Violence. What a Man!

10:12:00 PM
Just watched this video where Patrick Steward talks about his childhood living in a home with domestic violence. It really touched me to hear his story; his braveness shows that he is definitely a Man with a capital M. Although violence should never be justified it is important to remember that there always are underlying factors that can contribute to the man/women becoming violent towards his/her partner, factors that sometimes can be prevented if we manage to help these individuals getting their life back on the track.

Anyway, I hope you'll enjoy this video as much as I did (^_^)

About Me

Adventures ofAnette

A modern day shield-maiden who loves to explore the unbeaten paths of the world. From her base in Tokyo, Anette takes on both rural and urban challenges, and goes by the motto "No challenge too big, no adventure too small"!
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