스위스에서 서울로, 새로운 매일!
2020년 스위스 교환학생
서울 해성국제컨벤션고 유학
제 이름은 코지마이고 15살이고 스위스 취리히에 살고 있습니다. 2020년 8월부터 2021년 1월까지 저는 YFU 학생 교환프로그램의 일환으로 한국 서울에서 한 학기를 보낼 수 있었습니다. 그러나 코로나19 전염병으로 인해 교환프로그램이 평소와 약간 달랐습니다.
한국에 입국하려면 먼저 2주 동안 의무자가격리를 해야 했습니다. 운 좋게도 미국에서 온 교환학생도 자가격리를 같은 시기에 했기 때문에 조금은 외롭지 않고 서로 온라인 연락하며, 온라인 오티를 통해서도 만나서 잘 견딜수 있었습니다.
전 세계 다른 곳과 마찬가지로 겨울철 서울에 코로나감염이 다시 증가했습니다. 노래방, 콘서트, 박물관 등 많은 활동이 불가능했기 때문에 밖에서 많은 시간을 보내며 조금 다른 시각에서 서울을 알게 되었습니다.
머무는 동안 서울 동대문구 해성국제컨벤션고등학교에 다녔습니다. 처음에는 한국어 수업을 따라가기가 쉽지 않았습니다. 반친구들이 처음부터 저를 지원했고 제가 소속감을 느끼게 했습니다. 새로운 우정을 쌓고 스위스와는 매우 다른 학교생활을 경험할 수 있었습니다. 저는 여학교에 다닌 적이 없고 교복을 입어야 했던 적도 없었습니다. 제공하는 과목의 범위와 외국어도 평소 커리큘럼과 크게 달랐습니다.
두 호스트 가족 덕분에 저는 많은 새로운 것을 보고 매일 새로운 것을 배웠습니다!
MY STAY IN SEOUL 2020/21
My name is Cosima. I am 15 years old I come from Zurich, Switzerland. I was granted the opportunity to be a YFU exchange student in Seoul, South Korea, from August 2020 to January 2021. I believe my experience was a little bit different from a typical exchange semester, as 2020 was a very special year, given Covid-19. Nevertheless, despite missing out on some, particularly many group events or domestic travel, it was still a very unique experience I wouldn’t have made otherwise.
Right after my arrival at Incheon Airport, I encountered some pandemic-related restrictions. My stay started off with repeated Corona tests and a 2week quarantine. Luckily, I could know another exchange student from the US, and I came to knew and meet her through on-line orientation and by phone. I made a great new friend!
After two weeks locked-up in tiny room, I was more than ready to meet my welcome family. I was truly sad to leave my friend who headed south to her final destination, but also very excited to meet my welcome family in Dongdemun-gu, Seoul.
Like everywhere else in the world, due to the Pandemic, also in Seoul a lot of indoor activities were closed during my stay. Therefore I spent a lot of time outside and learnt that there was much more to this exciting metropole than just shopping malls and cafes…
1. Bicycling along the Han River
My first host mom was a very active lady and took me on walks, bike rides and even along to her Pilates classes. We’d go to Pilates 3 times a week, bicycling on Saturdays and walks whenever the weather was good enough to do so. My highlight was definitely the biking; I got to see Seoul’s sights such as the Lotte Tower and the Olympic stadium from a totally different perspective. Also, there’s no better way to end the day than by watching the sun set having dinner at the Han River and afterwards riding home with a view on Seoul’s lights.
I attended Haesung International Convention High School in Dongdaemun-gu. Everyone welcomed me warmly and I felt part of my class from the first day. My classmates helped me a lot, they showed me around, explained whenever I didn’t understand, introduced me to their friends…They supported me in every way they could, and it made adjusting to a completely new environment so much easier. I was new to everything when I first came to school. I had never worn a school uniform or been at a girls’ school. With their support I got used to the new situation very quickly, I really felt part of the school and not just like “an exchange student”. Luckily, my host sister and I went to the same school and supported me too, so I never felt alone with any questions or unclarities.
Also, my teachers were very kind and supportive. Some of them even joined us to play soccer during lunch break.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t spend a lot of time at school as lessons were switched to online school several times during my stay following rising Covid-19 cases. This made every day actually spent at school very special.
3. Hiking on Achasan
I joined the schools hiking club a lot of my friends take part in. Together we hiked up the Achasan in November. This was a great opportunity to explore the nature around the big city and to bond with the girls.
4. Daytrips in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do
Since the Covid situation deteriorated in winter, taking public transport or going to hotels became unsafe; There were cases on the KTX, in hotels, restaurants etc.
So, trips to other cities like Busan, Gyeongju or even Jeju weren’t possible anymore.
But my second host family took me on many daytrips in and around Seoul. I also got to meet my host sister who had to cut her exchange year in the US short because of the pandemic. I am very glad I got to meet her, I spent a lot of time with her and it was so much fun!
My favorite daytrips were:
When my host parents took me to Gyeongbokgung, I tried on a traditional Hanbok. It was very interesting to look around and learn about how the Kings used to live. Experiencing the palaces in such traditional attire almost felt like a little trip to past times. It was very interesting as up to then I had only been to the modern parts Seoul. I got a small glimpse of ancient Korea and its culture and I was amazed how different Seoul is now from then. What I love most about it, is that although Seoul is an extremely modern and developed city, the ancient culture is still very well preserved and highly valued by its residents.
I also visited Lotte World with my host sister, the largest indoor fun park in the world. We rode all sorts of carousels and roller coasters. My recommendation is tough, not to go there after an opulent lunch, like we did.
This was one of my absolute favorite activities. We had Kimjang at my host grandmothers house. It was such a unique experience. I had never done anything like this before. I had been eating Kimchi daily for about 3 months at that point, so it was interesting to see how this dish was actually made. There’s a lot more work behind it, than I initially thought. The process has several steps and while making the kimchi I also learnt that Kimjang holds a lot of childhood memories for people. It is a family activity and every family’s kimchi has its own, secret recipe ….
I also learned that carrying the large container with the finished kimchi is something that needs practice. My host family regretted their unlimited trust in me, when I slipped and almost spilled 20 liters of kimchi in the staircase…