Travel South Korea: A Conversation with Rebecca Biage

Travel South Korea: The Real Deal with Rebecca Biage

Travel South Korea: A Conversation with Rebecca Biage

This month, we’re interviewing women from all over the world and asking them about their experiences traveling to South Korea. We had the privilege of speaking with Rebecca Biage about her experience traveling through the country. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation.

Travel South Korea: A Conversation with Rebecca Biage

Tell us about yourself! What do you do when you’re not traveling the world? Where do you live? What made you decide to travel to South Korea?

Currently, I reside in Suwon, South Korea (but am originally from the United States). When I’m not traveling, I’m teaching English during the work week, engrossed in a good book or writing.

Being in other countries and immersing myself in different cultures is where my inner spirit feels most “alive” and filled with joy. During my twenties, I started making an effort to incorporate more international travel into my life, but studying abroad or a two-week vacation once a year wasn’t quite enough for my nomad spirit.

With age and (dare I say!) a bit of wisdom, I’ve realized that my inner spirit feels more connected to the international community versus the American community.

With age and (dare I say!) a bit of wisdom, I’ve realized that my inner spirit feels more connected to the international community versus the American community. Since my early twenties, I’ve always felt a bit of a disconnect from America, and this feeling has grown as I’ve gotten older.

How long are you here for? How do you spend your time?

This is my second year living and working in Korea. (I was previously here in 2012 teaching English at a hagwon in Seoul.) When not working I’m spending my free time writing and exploring more of the country. Also, I’m appreciating things a bit more, being here for a second time.

Tell us about your most memorable experiences. Tell us about some of your biggest disappointments.

So far, the most memorable experiences are working with the students or encountering those unexpected moments of “Korean kindness.” When I’m teaching an enthusiastic, participatory class, it brings joy to the day. And the sense of humor from the students brings laughter to the classroom, whether it’s Jerry saying his “brain illness” is kicking in and he can’t do today’s book work, or Jon announcing he would like to change his name to “Rebeccar”.

It’s moments like these that bring gratitude to an otherwise stressful day.

The moments of “Korean kindness” bring a smile to my days as well. I always appreciate when the neighborhood vendor lady throws an extra bungeoppang (fish pastry) into my bag. Or while walking to the bus stop, an elderly man smiles and says a friendly morning “Hello,” leaving me a bit surprised. It’s moments like these that bring gratitude to an otherwise stressful day.

What do you wish you knew before you went?

Honestly, I usually make a good effort to research the country, people and cultural quirks before traveling. It’s important (for me) to understand how things will be in a new country, whether one is going for a two-week vacation or a few years. Overall, I felt pretty prepared before coming to South Korea, both the first and second time.

Travel South Korea: A Conversation with Rebecca Biage

Any favorite restaurants/hotels/hostels/sites you’d like to recommend?

I’m definitely a “markets and museums” kind of gal. I enjoy bumming around Namdaemun Market, soaking up the atmosphere. Even if I’m not buying anything, just being in the midst of the action (and the food!) are what make the experience so great.

Also, there are often interesting exhibits at the National Museum of Korea or the National Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art. For example, last summer the NMMCA hosted an awesome exhibit of Iranian photographer Shirin Neshat.

Travel South Korea: A Conversation with Rebecca Biage

What’s next on your travel list?

I’m open to teaching another year in Korea after my contract ends in late spring. However, I hope to take a break for a couple of months to travel, maybe to Morocco or Italy.

 

Travel South Korea: A Conversation with Rebecca Biage

Related Reading

So Much Culture Shock in South Korea
South Korea Travel Tips: Rebecca’s Take on Health, Safety and Romance
Losing My Way and Finding Myself in Seoul
Finding Balance and Self-Acceptance in South Korea
Beware of This When Learning Korean

Have you traveled to South Korea? What were your impressions? Email us at editor@pinkpangea.com for information about sharing your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

About Real Deal

Real DealOn the Real Deal, women share the highlights and challenges from their recent trip–and what they wish they knew before going.

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