Essay

Exploring life in Songdo

Many foreigners join the IFEZ.
Each person’s time is colored in with his or her own colors.
Here’s a small but heart-warming story.

 

Written by Chaitali Pawase Chaitali Pawase Doctoral studies at Incheon National University

Since May 2019, my life has changed. I have been blessed with a lovely and caring partner, with whom I have been living in Incheon, South Korea. We are both Indian and are always ready to explore life in Songdo and experience the amazing Korean culture. The city of Songdo itself is ultra-modern and rich in abundance of healthy and beautiful lifestyle options. I am a research scholar (Ph.D. student) who migrated to South Korea after our marriage, while my husband is a post-doctoral researcher at Incheon National University. In addition, I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue my doctoral studies in Electronics. We both are enjoying our initial period of married life in Songdo.

When I first came to Korea, I encountered a language barrier that needed to be crossed in order to have a more comfortable and happy life here. But, as soon as I visited the IFEZ Global Center, I gained many opportunities to enjoy day-to-day life as a foreigner. Firstly, I joined the introductory Korean language course offered by the Global Center. After only a few classes, I was able to read Hangul, which made life a little easier, as I was able to recognize the names of shops, restaurants, menu cards, subway maps, and bus routes, among other things. Along with this, I also attended the daily conversation class, where I learned many useful phrases that I can use regularly. The team at the center has always been supportive of me!

On the occasion of Lunar New Year, which is called Seollal in Korean, the Global Center organized a small function to celebrate the new year festival in the traditional Korean way. They arranged a game of Yut Nori, which is a traditional Korean game commonly played around Seollal with family. I got to enjoy delicious Korean rice cakes and traditional drinks. This function really helped me to understand Korean culture. On that special day, I also got an opportunity to wear a Korean Hanbok dress. This was like a dream come true, as I had seen many Korean movies and dramas in which Hanbok was worn by girls for their wedding ceremonies and at traditional Korean festivals. I sincerely appreciated the chance to have this dream of wearing Hanbok fulfilled, thanks to the Global Center. I was so happy for this and really had a lot of fun learning Yut Nori with my new foreign friends, as well.

Life in Korea was always wonderful for me, but after joining the Global Center and learning a bit of the language, it has become even more beautiful and full of happiness. I would like to stay in Korea for the long term, even after completing my doctoral studies, in order to grow my career as well as to explore more of the country. In terms of living abroad, I can say that South Korea is one of the most modern but at the same time traditional countries to live in, offering a healthy, comfortable, and safe life. That’s why I like South Korea!

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