Living in Korea: Yonsei Summer School - Diana
For the last part of the summer school series we interviewed Diana, she has a very different relationship with Korea than our previous interviewees.
Can you tell us about your relationship with Korea and Hong Kong?
I am half foreigner, I am born and raised in Hong Kong but my parents in Korean. So I come to Korea for every summer but because of the COVID I couldn't come for 3 years.
Have you noticed any difference between before and after the COVID hit?
Source: Tripzilla - Korean sauna
In the sauna(찜질방) they closed the food, they used to sell snacks and stuff there but because of covid it closed. So whenever we visit the sauna we can't eat ramen! I usually go to a kimbap restaurant down our street and when we talked to the owner she told us that a lot of shops have shut down. The mask wearing part is also annoying because it's so rainy and hot but you still have to wear it even though you are sweaty. But it's even more strict in Hong Kong, we still have quarantine there.
Is there something you always want to do when you come here? Like a ritual.
There is a lot! I go to the sauna(찜질방), eat stir-fried rice cakes (떡볶이), visit my parents, and eat Korean food. In Hong Kong my siblings and I don't live with our parents so we have to cook but we are not good at it.
Source: Facebook - B1 Club
Oh and the clubs, the clubbing culture in Korea is really good and cheap. They usually don't charge you, especially if you're a woman, I prefer Itaewon and Sinsadong because they are super foreigners friendly. We have a discord group for yonsei summer school students, and in this group there is a clubbing channel so we usually ask if anyone wanna go out together. My favourite places to go to are B1, a club, and Dokkaebi, a hookah bar. While in Hong Kong they charge everybody, last time at Halloween they charged me 40 USD. Oh and one thing I would like to do is the karaoke! I have never been to there in Korea because everytime I come here I usually stay with my parents so I have no one to go with but this time I definitely have to try it.
Do you like hookah?
I really like it! Dokkaebi also has a Hawaiian-themed branch in Itaewon where everybody is nice and welcoming. But at first I didn't know there was chicha in Korea. Chicha is really huge in Hong Kong so when we were in Jeju Island we looked for it but there was none so we just thought it was the same everywhere in Korea. Later on we realized that they actually call it hookah here, this is the same thing but I think this is the Indian name.
Do you still have a culture shock when you come in Korea?
Yes like I often see people spit on the floor. And Korean people are really loud, especially in the restaurant, when my friends and I go there we have to shout to hear each other. I also felt like some people are very hostile to foreigners, in every shop that I visit if I speak English they would be judgmental, but when I speak Korean they are ok.
Do you struggle making Korean friends for the same reasons?
Source: Korea JoongAng Daily - the Korean diaspora
I find it pretty hard to make Korean friends, since I go to summer school all of the people I meet are foreigners. But I do get along well with Korean born and raised in the US and other places, basically people like me!
Thank you for reading this series and thanks to Kelly, Katniss and Diana for their time and good mood! We will come back with more interviews really soon.