Korea is so much more than K-Pop or K-Dramas! During the Discover Korea Research Trip, we had opportunities to see Korea up close. I’ve shared a bit about my experience learning about Korea’s history, education, economy, and sacred places in previous posts. But that’s just a fraction of what I have experienced here.
The Discover Korea Research Trip is not over, however. We began with a series of five pre-travel meetings and will now move onto to writing lesson plans and presenting our experience at a workshop. Even though I am no longer in the classroom every day, I am excited to continue to teach others about Korea.
Many thanks again to the World History Digital Education Foundation supported by the Korea Foundation for planning and organizing this tour. As I’ve said in previous posts, there were many experts to whom I am grateful who made this a first-class and transformative experience.
Here are a few of the topics left out of previous posts about Korea.
I took a very cheap flight to Jeju and explored the island for a few days. One of the most interesting things was learning about the centuries-old tradition of the haenyeo, women who spend their days diving for shellfish, all without oxygen. A fellow teacher from my tour taught me about this and brought me to the Haenyeo Museum.
We also had fun visiting an old secret bunker that is now used as an immersive art space where we saw the Cezanne and Kandinsky shows.
Jeju is beautiful and a popular destination for Koreans, as you can see in these photos. At times, I felt I was back in Ireland!
There were days when we had so many multiple-course meals that it was impossible to eat everything. We ate lots of seafood, and when meat was on the menu our tour guide always took care to find me a vegetarian meal! Our hotels had the most delicious breakfast buffets, especially the one in Busan.
The markets were colorful and lively and very clean, but without the screaming and shouting from vendors that you typically hear in other places. Highway rest stops had very cheap delicious home-cooked meals as well!
Yes, kimchi or some pickled vegetables are served at every meal, but Korean food goes way beyond that. There are lots of small dishes and it is usually served family style. Dessert was normally a small portion of fruit, which was more than enough after all of the food put on the table. Take at look at some samples.
Museums and Temples
We visited countless museums and temples that I haven’t even mentioned in previous posts. We heard so many amazing stories from the war, some with museums dedicated to them.
One site was devoted to the story of the “ship of miracles,” a US merchant ship whose captain went against orders to rescue 14,000 refugees from the north during the war. It was a dangerous mission which had a very small chance of success. The ship, designed for just 60 crew members, was so crowded that there was only room for standing during the multi-day journey. Five babies were born on the ship, nicknamed “Kimchi 1-5.” We actully met Kimchi 1 and Kimchi 5!
We all marveled at the creative ways that Korean museums were designed to draw visitors in and keep them engaged. The buildings themselves were often architectural wonders, and the museums were always filled with Koreans of all ages. Here are a few photos to give you a sense of the breadth of the experiences we had.
Thanks to everyone for reading about my Korea adventures. Coming soon from Japan – a visit to Hiroshima and climbing Mt. Fuji!