You regret something you didn’t do more than you regret something you have done. I could not agree more with this statement as it is exactly how I feel about many of my experiences in the amazing city of Seoul.
I am so blessed to live within Metropolitan Vancouver - beautiful lakes, beaches, and mountains are literally at my doorstep. There are lots of friendly people, great food, and fun things to do all year round. I couldn’t be happier that my hometown is regarded as one of the best places to live in the world.
Even so, don’t be afraid to find yourself comparing your cities - embrace it! Because no two cities are alike, that is what makes it wonderful to travel. Try to do everything you find different and avoid what you can get at home. For example, I tried not shop at H&M or Forever21 because I can easily go to those stores in Vancouver. Indeed, they were the same back home as when I went in to browse them in Korea. Instead, find those special things that make your host city so cool!
Here are some of the things I wish I had done or done more of while I had the chance:
Attend larger festivals and cultural festivities: There is a cherry blossom festival in Vancouver, but I don’t think it is as largely celebrated as it is in Korea. I was lucky enough to be in Korea during the cherry blossom season and to visit Yeouido at the time, but I didn’t think about planning to see the larger festivals outside of Seoul. Some of my friends travelled to see the Jinhae Gunhangje Festival in the South, and I wish I had taken the opportunity myself. The blossoms bloomed for a couple weeks and were gone before I knew it!
Taking advantage of cheaper group activities: I am so scared of bungee jumping that I didn’t regret not going but in Seoul, you can try it for as little as $40 CAD. One activity that I really wished I had tried was paragliding. The price here is almost double and does not even include transportation. Unfortunately, I had another event on the day our Korean buddies scheduled this activity. They went with a group of almost 100 people and at prices that were practically too good to pass up. Luckily, I did get a killer deal myself, as I headed to Caribbean Bay and Everland and spent the whole day on thrill rides. South Korea has great deals for foreigners at amusement parks!
Crazy cafes and crazy opening hours: The night life in Seoul is amazing in that things are open past 9 p.m., including several 24-hour cafes for those late night cramming sessions or just to hang out with your best friends. There are specific ‘study cafes’ I wish I had taken more advantage of because there were fewer distractions there than at home. I was able to visit a puppy cafe, a cat cafe, and a sheep cafe, but I missed out on a raccoon cafe! Being at the puppy cafe was an absolute luxury. I miss them dearly and should have gone more often while I had the chance. Don’t forget the board games cafes, cheap internet cafes, as well as the noraebang and multibang game rooms!
By: Melinda Ng, a member of BCSA Writers in Residence team and a former #tweetsabroad scholarship winner. Melinda majors in Communications, Art, and Technology at Simon Fraser University.