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Arrival in Korea! posted at 06:51

(Please be prepared for a whole backlog of posts from my first week in Korea over the next few days as I was so busy moving to Seoul and registering for classes that I didn't have time, sorry! 한국에 와서 너무 바빴기 때문에 지난 주도 이번 주도 업데이트를 할 수 없었는데 죄송합니다!! ㅠ ㅠ)

At 3pm on the 19th of August, I reached Heathrow airport ready to begin my 12 month long journey in Korea as an exchange student at Korea University. I decided to fly with Asiana as that was the most recommended service from friends who had been to Korea before. Also it has won loads of awards, even for it's in-flight meals which I usually cannot eat, so I was excited to fly with them!

Being at the airport had made me very nervous and having problems at check-in just made the problem worse! I had a luggage allowance of 50kg and my luggage was only 32kg but the airline told me my bag had to be 31kg to go through the barrier =____= When I asked what would I do if I had filled up to my luggage allowance, they said I would need to pay for another bag...then what is the point of me getting extra free luggage allowance in my flight deal?! Then they couldn't find my passport on the system so I was worried I would't even be able to get to Korea, but soon the manager came and sorted everything out for me, 어휴~~~ Soon I was ready to start a three hour wait at the departure lounge!

Even though I was scared about it, I managed to make it to my gate easily and get on the plane! I was in an aisle seat but it was okay because the young Korean couple next to me were really nice. They asked me why I was going to Korea and we even shared sweets ^^ The flight left London at 9pm, so after watching a film on my laptop and having had bulgogi for dinner, I slept for the majority of the flight. The food on the flight was really nice and tasty, with the air hostesses being really kind and helpful! They were so pretty in so that ruined my future plans to become an air hostess haha! When we were about land, I was desperately trying to look out the window, and in the end a lovely Korean lady moved from her seat and said I could watch the landing. Everyone I met at this point was so nice! Now I had officially landed in Incheon airport!

I had originally planned to get the subway to my hostel but in the end as my luggage was far too heavy and difficult to move, I organised a taxi with the International Taxi service. The International Taxi Service booking centre is located next to the normal Seoul taxi service just inside the departure area before you exit to the taxi ranks. If you are unsure why to find it, don't be too scared to ask at the airport information desks as some even speak english. If not, I am sure if you just said 'International Taxi' they would be happy to point you in the right direction, no language barrier causing problems at all.
To get to Anam-dong, which was classified under their zone 2, it cost me 65,000 won (£37) which is actually cheap for a taxi ride that took almost an hour and a half. The driver came into the airport and collected me, then lifted my bags into the back for me. The driver was really nice but the reason I chose the international taxi service was the fact the drivers could speak English. However mine could speak as much English as I could Korean so it was hard to ask him questions about Korea. We actually got a little lost in Anam-dong till we found my hostel, but eventually we found it! The driver even carried my huge bag up four flights of stairs, which was so kind of him, especially as the hostel staff would have offered to help me.
The reason I really recommend a taxi when you first come to Korea is that after taking the subway now I know my luggage would have definitely not fit and the stairs out of each station exit is far too steep to carry up luggage. Many subway stations in Seoul have very narrow escalators which would not fit luggage on, and some don't even have lifts, so if you have a lot of things it's not the best option. Obviously a taxi can be expensive, but is worth the money for someone like me who is nervous or either alone with all their belongings. It was also a good opportunity to see the sights of Seoul whilst driving.

For my first four nights I stayed in Anam Hostel (http://www.anamhostel.co.kr/en/) which is a short walk from the Anam station, down the 5-ga road located next to a restaurant called chicken bus and opposite a Davinchi cafe. After seeing pictures of typical Korean hostel room sizes and booking a standard single room, I was really surprised by how spacey it was. The bed was quite narrow but it was super comfy to sleep on, with the covers/pillow provided being clean and nice. The storage space was also great and they provided a small TV and fan for me during my stay for no extra cost. There are two showers and toilet which were all clean, but as these were shared between a whole floor I recommend you wake up early to use them! The total cost of my stay came to 88,000 won (£50) which is great for four nights, seeing as tea/coffee, wifi and LAN internet are included. You can come and go at any time of night, with guests allowed till 11pm. The only problem I have with the hostel is that my room faced a very busy student area so it was hard to really sleep till around 12pm. Also the walls are very fine and unfortunately the man in the room next to me thought it was acceptable to skype at 4am. However I can't really complain with such a cheap price and with lovely staff who were ready to help me with whatever problem I had! I really recommend it!

As it was my first night in Korea I wanted to try a Korean bbq restaurant to start the year on a good note! A friend who had already arrived in Korea that day and I went to a local place in Anam-dong that had really good prices for both meat and noodles. However when we walked in we felt like a fish out of a pond. It was fairly empty and everyone turned round to stare at us, I think mostly because we walked in looking so confused and I have bright pink hair! The waitress seated us and took our orders but we were in such shock as she spoke Korean incredibly fast in comparison to our 선생님's speed back in England. However she was really nice and looked after us well, explaining all the different food and how to eat it. I tried my best to speak with her but it really showed that this year will be much harder than I thought but I mustn't let this put me down! The food was so delicious and far cheaper than any Korean bbq restaurant I went to in Korea ^^

As soon as I got back to the hostel I skyped my family then went straight to bed after having such a long day ㅠ ㅠ Korea is so hot compared to England in the summer, with a 15 degree difference nearly some days so it makes me very lazy but I am not going to let it stop me making the most of my time here!

나는 출발하기 전에 한국에 오기에 대해서 걱정했는데도 지금 한국에 있어서 내가 흥분하고 있어요

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My name is 루시 (Lucy) and I am a 2nd year student of BA Korean in London, but currently I am studying at Korea University in Seoul.

This blog will include helpful tips and hints on how to learn the Korean language but will also show my own progress in studying.

I will also aim to post reviews on Korean products and will post videos of my adventures.

Layout and header image by mymostloved with base image, brushes and background.