I’m not going to lie, I didn’t expect my experience in Seoul to be this amazing. Coming in, I expected to be in Seoul for a month to finish my Bachelor’s before taking off on a couple months of crazy backpacking adventures. For some reason, I completely overlooked the type of people I would meet, the experiences I would have with them, and how all of it would stay with me for months after.
I don’t think I would have chosen any other way to end my college experience. After my first study abroad in London, I promised myself I would do another one before I graduate. Little did I know I would end my last term with a study abroad exchange in South Korea. Taking (sometimes) more than 20 credits each term to graduate almost a year early was so worth it in the end. I am still taking one online class through Drexel, but I’m at the home stretch. Walking in graduation in June made everything seem so final, but ending it with a diverse group of amazing friends made it all feel real.
It was less than a month (July 2- July 31), but I feel like my month was unparalleled to any other month this year. With the chaos of classes and fitting in as many experiences as possible, I didn’t have time to blog as much I had thought I would. Since I did so much and experienced so much in the past 3 weeks, it might be easier to give you all snippets of my overall experience in Seoul. If you are looking to come to Seoul (which I definitely think is a place you should add on your ‘places to go’ list!), I created a separate blog post that has tips and places to go when visiting Seoul. You can visit that blog post here.
On July 31 we left from Seoul to fly into KIX (Osaka) airport. Our flight had been delayed by about 2.5 hours, so we ended up getting into Osaka at 12:30 AM, the night of August 1. Since the train to Kyoto left about 8 hours earlier and we hadn’t booked housing for the night in Osaka, we ended up sleeping at the airport. Upon our arrival in the airport, it looked like people were stationing themselves on benches for the night. We found two long benches close to charging outlets and stayed there for about 6 hours. We hopped on the second train that day which was at 7:40 and got into Kyoto around 9:30. I got about 2 hours of sleep that night, so we were zombies by the time we got to our hotel that day. We slept until about 2:00 and started our day by going to the Golden Pavilion (Kinugasanishibabacho) and then to Ryoanjisumiyoshicho Temple area. Most of the temples close at 5:00, so we didn’t get much done that day. At night, we walked along a river by an area called Matsumotcho area. Out of all of the areas we had been to so far in Kyoto that day, that area had the most going on.
Yesterday we started our day off by going to Nishiki Market before a few other temples including Shorein Temple and Kazamadura station. I would definitely suggest visiting Nishiki Market if you are in Kyoto.
Kyoto was a great city and the temples were great, but my highlights were getting lost walking along the backstreets by houses and railroad tracks. We’re currently travelling to Kyoto to Mt. Fuji (another blog post to come for that!).Before leaving the States, my friend Parth and I had decided we wanted to climb Mt. Fuji. I hadn’t really thought through the preparation and everything we would need for the climb. I also hadn’t thought about the fact that it was the highest mountain in Japan or that temperatures would reach freezing on our way up. In Kyoto I grabbed a rain jacket and long sleeve shirt, but I have a feeling that won’t be enough. The climb is supposed to take 5 hours and 30 minutes and the descent is supposed to take 3 hours. We’re about an hour out from our station and two more ours from the base of our starting point. I definitely didn’t come prepared, but winging is all part of the adventure, right?