Sunday, April 6, 2008

Weekend Report

The field trip turned out to be a sojourn to Palgongsan ("san" = "mountain" in Korean).  
It seemed like a massive hike up tons of stairs to me, but I'm sure it was a cinch for the little children and old woman who passed me on the way up. 

Two Korean men were chuckling and pointing as they walked past us.
P (to Ricky): "What'd they just say?"
Ricky: "The one guy said to his friend, 'Foreigners.  Can you speak English?  Quick, try!'

That tiny winding trail in the lower right hand quadrant was the path that we took.  For real.

The Buddhist temple with lanterns at the top of the mountain.

Proof that I actually made it up.  


Had brunch w. co workers at The Holy Grill and took some pictures of the blooming cherry blossom trees.  

Then went on a Sunday walk to explore the area around my flat.  I found another, larger park and what looks like a class-A jogging path for my morning jaunt.  

*Note for the record: 
In recent experience, it seems like the best way to get over the "culture shock" is to get out and interact with the new surroundings as much as possible.  My natural inclination is to isolate, so it takes some effort for me to go out and meet people, but it's so definitely worth it.  


Friday, April 4, 2008

What to Expect...

...when you're living abroad.  
Cultural Transitions:

The process of adjusting to a new culture can be very different from one person to the next. Many people go through a period of personal frustration or disenchantment with their new environment, known as cultural transition or "culture shock".
Although each person's experience will be different and will depend on the individual situation, the following are typical stages of cultural transition. This is a normal part of adjusting to a new place.

Honeymoon stage:
Months 1-3
When you first arrive, you may experience exhilaration, anticipation, nervousness, and excitement. Settling in takes a significant amount of time and energy. This stage can last from a few days or weeks to several months, depending on your circumstances. 

Hostility stage 
Months 3-6
In the second or third month, you may begin to notice annoying details about your new environment. It may seem as if people here don't understand you, or you may have difficulty understanding them. You may feel frustrated or depressed when you have trouble communicating or getting things done. You might wish things could be as they are at home. Don't despair! These feelings will fade as you gain confidence. 

Acceptance stage 
Months 6-9
After six months or so, you may start appreciating the differences between your home country and your new environment. You may regain a sense of humour and feel more balanced. The minor mistakes and misunderstandings that would have frustrated you before may now just make you smile or even laugh. 

Adaptation stage 
Months 9-12
Eventually, you may begin to feel at home in your new environment and find greater satisfaction, both personally and academically (or professionally).

I'm definitely still in the "honeymoon stage".  I'm still trying to get my bearings in this place.  At the end of each day, there's a process of unpacking what I've learned and figuring out how I feel and what I think about things.  It's great and wonderful and I enjoy it, but sometimes it's just exhausting.  I fully anticipate making my way through all the stages, to arrive at the final destination of "acceptance/adaptation. 
It's good to have a blueprint for what's to come. 

*Big thanks to deenie (K) for sending this chart my way!*
Meanwhile, I just put an order in with What the Book!  I tried my hand at paying with a transfer from my Korean bank account, so now I actually have to get down to the bank and fill out the bank transfer form.  The website shows a sample form, but I'm not sure exactly how they'll know to send it to What the Book... Will report back.  

(edit to add... the bank transfer to whatthebook went through.  There was a bit of a hassle because I didn't realize that what looked like a "sample" form actually contained the "actual" account number necessary for the transfer.  Had to run to the school to retrieve this number from my e-mail, then haul back to the bank to complete the transaction (for which they charged a 2.000 won fee).  But all's well that ends well and my books should be arriving in ten days or less.  Woot.  

In other news, I'm going on a "field trip" to a park outside Daegu w. Ms. Cruise, a lovely girl I met in training.  It will be my first experience with the bus system and I'm hoping and planning for good things...)

~Your Girl