I feel a bit guilty for not writing much the last week, so this post is to try to fill you in on the people and things that have kept me busy.
Every single day has been different, so it’s been difficult trying to establish some sort of routine. My weekdays start with the gym at 6am, and there are two gyms to choose from.
1. Free gym – it’s tiny, and kind of gross, but it’s usually empty at 6am except for one or two other guys who I’ve actually gotten used to working out alongside.
2. Paid gym – this one costs 22,000 won (approx $22 dollars) for a month, has a massive range of equipment, showers onsite, tvs on treadmills…basically up to the standard of normal Melbourne gyms. However, it’s always busy. And there are heaps of old people there, which is not a problem in itself, but they try to be overly helpful. For example, when I was using the leg-press machine, and trying to figure out which weight to use, I was incrementally changing it to higher weights and an old lady came over and ‘helpfully’ lowered the setting to one of the lightest weights for me.
My workouts are consisting of weights and running, and I’m trying to do a bit of both each day. I don’t think I’ll lose any weight here considering we don’t have access to a kitchen so all meals are at restaurants and fast food places. Plus alcohol is crazy cheap. So my goal is to come home without gaining any weight – if I can accomplish that I’ll be happy.
I’m loving my public policy class. The American lecturer is tailoring the content and pace to suit the large number of Korea students in the class, but even then it’s engaging and interesting. He gives us plenty of opportunity to discuss various policy issues in groups and as a class, so I’m learning a lot from the others.
The downside is that there are two exams and two assignments due in remainder of this program – but there are only 8 classes remaining so it’s a bit crazy. Because of this, I really don’t have time to blog during the week. Any spare time should be spent on studying.
Industrial sociology is okay. It’s basically an information overload that we’re going to have to rote learn in order to pass the multiple choice exam. Alongside this, there’ll also be a group presentation, which I’m looking forward to. I’ve got two Polish girls in my group (including my roommate Angie), plus a guy from Uganda, and they all seem engaged and interested.
I thought that I’d be less studious here, especially since these subjects will just show up as a credit transfer on my academic transcript, but it turns out I focus on studies regardless of the outcome/reason.
I’ll do a separate post for this later on, as there’s a lot to cover.
First and foremost, I’m always drawn to the strangest, most eclectic people first. It happens unconsciously but when I think about it more deeply, I think it’s because I learn more from them and broaden my views. Or it might just be because I’m contrary by nature. Regardless of the reason, I’ve become fairly good friends with Candace, she’s from Georgia in the US. She meets several very important criteria I have for good friends
– Can shop like a guy, walk in and out within 5 mins. This is a massive bonus when overseas, because if I’m going to hangout with someone, I can’t handle countless hours of looking at trinkets
– Has a really random taste in music. She plays a lot of stuff I like, plus a lot that I’ve never heard or wouldn’t normally listen to. So my music taste gets to broaden too.
– Is happy to do low key things like talk crap while watching clouds in the park. Everyone around here seems to be doing intense activities that involve 15-50 people and my poor introverted nature is overwhelmed. Low key stuff is a necessity for me.
Other than Candace, my other favourite person is my roomie Angie. She’s funny, smart and kind (and clean! Thank goodness). She puts up with me waking her up every day at 5:45am without complaint, and is extremely considerate when she gets back late at night. She’s extremely extroverted, so we’re a perfect match. She’s studying to be an engineer, and we’ve had some great late night chats about education, physics, religion – comparing Australia and Poland on many topics.
Next up, my team. We’ve all been split into teams to hangout with during our sightseeing trips on Wednesdays and Saturdays. My group is made up of our two Korean buddies, Hansol and Seong Eun, Martin a lawyer from Hong Kong, JP from Perth (who studied at CNU last semester) and Candace. We’re all a bit more mature than the other students, we’re pretty relaxed compared to the others and in our own special ways we’re all a little messed up.
Last and definitely not least, the Aussies. There are a LOT of Australians here. 16 of whom are from RMIT too, so I’ve vaguely known them before this trip. They all bonded a lot in Seoul together, but I didn’t join them at that stage. I’ve been hanging out with them here and there since arriving at CNU, but probably not as much as the others, mainly because of my introverted nature. They’re a really lovely bunch though, so as I’m getting more settled here, I’m starting to spend more time with them.
Being surrounded by so many lovely people is difficult. I’m in a constant state of needing some alone time and wanting to socialise, so luckily the gym, studies, and my daily chat with Pete helps me ground myself.