20th Birthday In Korea

My 19th birthday was the last time I went in 2020 before the pandemic put us under lockdown for a year. Exactly a year later was the first time I went out in months. My quarantine finished and so I moved into SNU’s dorms, through which I met a few people who already planned to take me out on my birthday. We left campus around 2 pm and had lunch near the Nakseongdae station. We opted for a Korean beef barbecue, which to be honest was pretty hard to find because the four of us had about 20 Korean vocabulary in our pockets cumulatively. After lunch, I wanted to to a dog café, but some people in the group didn’t want to, so we thought about going to the Gyeongbokgung Palace, but that was almost an hour ride away so we ended up going to Gwangjang market. This market is most famous for its food. and was filled with hundreds of stalls selling many different types of street food. The problem was that we already ate, so we were already kind of full (this is what happens when you don’t plan your day!) but I swear the moment we stepped into this market we were ready to eat again. The friends that I went with couldn’t take spice while I on the other was missing the tongue-numbing spicy food of home. So even after we went around and ate random food, I ended up ordering another bowl of extremely spicy tteokbokki that had my friends in tears immediately after the first bite. To be honest it was pretty funny to see two grown boys cry from the spice.

Honestly, I thought I would spend my 20th birthday alone, because I was nervous about making friends so quickly after moving into my SNU dorm. But it seemed that I clicked really nicely with the group that went to get the sim card with me two days prior. I am very spoiled when it comes to my birthday, so to have that same kind of attention and fun even in a whole different country was an amazing experience.

A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:

The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.

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