About halfway through EPIK orientation, we were taken on a field trip. This was an opportunity to learn more about Korea and Korean culture. In addition, we were FINALLY able to leave campus for a bit. That was very exciting as it was getting tiring just going to lectures on campus.
For our field trip, we went to the Chungju Marina. Here, we were able to partake in various activities, and we came away with many things to bring home.
Everyone’s schedule was different to accommodate for 350 people, but here is what my class’ schedule was.
First, we learned how to traditionally dye a handkerchief. There were Korean Masters there to help us out and show us what to do. They were able to show us how to create one of the patterns that they had displayed in the room, but we were also allowed to free hand it and do whatever we wanted. It was similar to tie dyeing. However, they used a kind of grass/plant in order to dye the handkerchiefs. Everyone took turns mixing the handkerchiefs with the dye and water. It was not a pleasant smell at all. After everything was sufficiently mixed, the Master in charge of our group took the handkerchiefs and ran them under cool water. We were then asked to remove the rubber bands we had used to create our patterns. After that, we had to shake them. We all thought it was to dry them, but apparently it was to help the color set. Everyone’s turned out very cool. The Masters chose someone’s who they thought was the best and gave them a dyed handkerchief as a prize.
Our second stop was to learn how to make traditional Korean snacks. After an introduction, we watched a demonstration on how to make the snack (which I cannot remember the name of. I’m sorry!) and were able to try samples. Then it was our chance to decorate using seeds, seaweed, and small apple slices. This was fun and easy to do. We also got a snack which is a bonus!
After learning about traditional Korean snacks, we had a chance to write wishes. We were taken to a room where we were asked to make a wish for the upcoming year. Once this was done, we took them to a spot out side where we were able to hang them. It was a very pretty spot and our first really nice day, so it was quite enjoyable to spend some time outside in the sun. Especially since I had just come from an Arctic freeze.
My class then was able to try the rowing machines. We were taught by a woman who was on the Korean National Team. She took her job very seriously, but she was also fun. After we were taught the correct form, we had a rowing relay. With teams of four, we were competing to see who could come in first. The top teams each won a prize. My team was one of the top, so we won something that I think is meant to be sit on. Especially if you are sitting on the ground.
We had a quick trip back to campus for lunch as there was nowhere that could feed all of us, and then it was back out!
Once we returned, we were given free time after we took a class photo. We took photos in front of a pagoda that is in the center or Korea. There was also a museum right there along with a park where you could walk along the water. It was a beautiful area and a good chance to just relax, take things in, and talk to friends.
After we had a chance to hang out, it was back to campus for dinner and Korean class. All in all, it was a fun day. We were able to get out and see a part of Korea we may or may not return to. We got to meet people who are dedicated to and love their craft, and we just had a chance to make some memories. The field trip is definitely a highlight of orientation I think.