Korea, my second home

Hi everybody, I’m very pleased to introduce myself to you. My name is Madzia,  I live in Warsaw (Poland) and I’m studying here Korean language, history,   culture and literature. The main reason why I’m interested in Korea is my love  for foreign languages. When I was applying for Korean studies, I thought   that it would be fantastic to learn something new, something that wouldn’t be similar to anything else I’ve learned before. So I chose Korean! ^^ As time passed and as I was learning the language, I started to meet Koreans and came to know more about Korean culture. I realized that it’s really interesting! So different from the traditions and customs that we have in Europe.

My favorite things about Korea are: Samulnori (the Korean traditional percussion quartet), Korean dance, music and movies. And of course, the language itself! I’ve been playing the Korean drum called the Janggo for 3 years. And from next week I’m going to start Korean dance classes too. I can’t wait to try it. ^^ My team and I, which is called in Korean “Nabi” already had many performances in Poland. Usually at the Korean Embassy or for some kind of Korean events here, such as Ssang Yong, a Korean car company in Poland this October.

My team “Nabi” has given many performances in Poland

I have already been to Korea twice. The last time I was here was in the summer so I have a lot of funny and unforgettable stories related with Korea and Seoul especially. The first Koreans that I’ve met were of course my teachers here in Warsaw and Korean volunteers who came to Warsaw over two years ago for a conference. That was the time when I’ve met my closest Korean friend -Moo Jin. He’s two years older than me but since that time we are trying to keep in touch as much as possible. The year after the conference I went to Korea but unfortunately I was there for only one week so we couldn’t meet, but a few months later he came to Poland and stayed at my place for a few days. And this summer we’ve met in Korea. I had a great time with him and his friends. The thing that makes me laugh when I’m in Korea is the fact that when a Korean hears that I can speak Korean or that I’ve learned how to play the Samulnori, he’s always so excited! ^^ That is so sweet!

However, there is one story that is worth mentioning. This summer when I went to Korea I was about to search for materials for my master’s thesis together with my friends. There were altogether 9 people from Warsaw who went this summer to Seoul. I stayed with my two female friends at our friends’ house who rented out one room for us. The first day he prepared dinner for us, taking good care of us all the time. We were having a great time with all our friends in the evenings in Sinchon. ^^ We were about to stay there for a month but after one week , a huge problem occurred.

I couldn’t sleep for two nights because of my toothache! The pain was excruciating. In the middle of the night, around 3 a.m. my friend took me to the Severance Hospital, because we were living near Yonsei University, but the doctor there couldn’t do more than give me an injection to alleviate the pain. So in the morning I had to find a dental clinic very quickly! The pain was so strong that even my head was in extreme pain and I was crying by this time. We finally went to the clinic, which was near where I was staying, and the doctor examined me. From that day I had to visit the clinic every other day because the problem with my tooth was very serious and we had to finish the treatment before I get on the plane back to Poland. When I heard about the cost of the treatment, I was in a shock! I couldn’t understand why was it so expensive! But I didn’t have any choice. The doctors took really good care of me, although we couldn’t communicate at times. And at the end, the doctor, knowing that I was a student who just wanted to enjoy the trip to Korea, gave me a big discount.

That was really great for me, because I hadn’t anticipated on having any dental treatment while I was in Korea. It happened so suddenly that I was surprised by her the way she acted -in a very positive way ^^ so before going back home I bought her some flowers, gave her Polish postcard, and a small bottle of Polish alcohol, which I brought to Korea as a souvenir to give to my friends. She didn’t expect that and she was very happy ^^ so that was when I began to think Korea was a friendly country.

Magdalena Kwiatkowska
Poland (University Student)

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