Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Student's Perspective on Seoul

As the semester started up this week we have been discussing what we did on our vacation. For me I showed them the video I made of my America trip and had a little discussion. When it comes time for the kids to voluntarily share their vacation the answers have been pretty typical. "Went to my Grandparents house." "Went to Mt. Chiri." (This one being quite popular...with the following response of, "It was boring.")

In one of the 6th grade classes a young girl told us about how she went to the Aquarium in COEX. Her most important point was her reflections on visiting Seoul. I have always wondered what the kids in my area thought of the "big city up north", since they live down here in Gyeonggido. Sure it isn't exactly the country side down here but compared to Seoul there is cleaner air and a lot more leg room.

She commented on how she couldn't believe the number of cars and how dirty the air was. The look in her face was of amazement. It proved to me that most of these kids have spent little time in the "big city" of Seoul, compared to the amount I spend up there. To them it probably seems like a far away and expensive trip. I can understand since getting there, parking and finding your way around can be difficult to the new person.

Similarly when I lived in Berkeley, which is across the bay from San Francisco, making a trip out there seemed like a big deal. Sure I went to college out there, however it was on the outskirts of the city and I usually never went in. I recall when I made those first journeys into the city and the rush I felt staring up at the skyscrapers. Similarly when I went to New York City for the first time, I couldn't help but feel so small. Maybe it's the same for these kids out here when they go into Seoul. I bet when they get to the age where they can go out on a trip to Seoul by themselves that they really must find it to be exhilarating and liberating.

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