South Korea Trip

This year I have been so lucky enough to have travelled so much and I just couldn’t turn down the chance to go to South Korea on the level 5 field option. The timing of the trip most definitely wasn’t the best being, only a few weeks into our IG Consultancy project. However I think it’s been a good thing in the end, as it’s taught me so much about how to prioritise important tasks as well as improving my organisation skills. I also think any opportunity to travel and see a new culture should be taken as it will only influence me and my work to make me more globally aware. With my being a 3rd year on a 2nd year trip, we were allowed to go off and look at relevant things for our particular subject area, so Emma and I planned our free days around visiting a variety of monuments and museums relevant to Textiles.

Day 1 (Tuesday) – On our first full day we went on a general group guided tour of Seoul. Seeing the Blue House, Changdeokgung Palace and exploring the Insadong area. This was a great insight into the city to see how modern infrastructure has appeared all over the city around traditional buildings.

Day 2 (Wednesday) – One of the main purposes of the trip to Korea is to keep it’s contacts with the Universities connections strong, which meant that we had the chance to go to the Design School at Kookmin University. Getting to visit the Design School was so insightful, as it gave me the chance to see how creative subjects are taught elsewhere. Whilst we were visiting the University was opening there large exhibition that they hold every 4 years, so it was a special time to be visiting.

Day 3 (Thursday) – Today we were given the chance to sit in on a Fashion Branding class at Kookmin University that was being taught in English. I was very curious to see the similarities and differences between our teaching styles and was actually surprised at how different they are. I personally didn’t like the way that the classes were being taught especially at University level, I felt as if I was back in a GCSE class sat at tables in rows copying notes and filling out slides full of questions. It’s made me appreciate our teaching system gets you to be creative on a independent level – getting you to question different ideas rather than just excepting them. Once we had finished our class Emma and I headed down to Gyeongbokgung Palace near the centre of Seoul, which was similar in ways to the other Palace that we had visited but had a grounds attached. Which we were there we visited the National Folk Museum, that was interesting as before this trip I didn’t know too much about Korean history or culture. We when walked all the way back to the hotel was was so nice, as it really gave us to chance to see more of the city at our own pace.

Day 4 (Friday) – Today Emma and I headed off the iconic ultra modern area of Gangnam which is across the water from the more ‘central’ part of the city you could say. We started off my visiting the Bongeunsa Temple which was very impressive. The decorations all over the temple building were just incredible!

Shortly after we attempted to visit the Korean Museum of Embroidery which happened to be shut, so then headed of to the popular Student area of Hongdae. The area is full of small independent shops, cafes and bars, reminding me of Camden in London. To finish the day we then headed to the Museum of Korean Quilting, which was very small in size. It housed a selection of traditional quilts from all around the world including traditional Korean blankets, along side a few modern exhibitions.

Day 5 (Saturday) – Today we went on a group trip to the DMZ (Demilitarised  Zone) North & South Korea Boarder, which was absolutely fascinating and completely different to what I expected.

Day 6 (Sunday) – After going out in the Hongdae area last night, today we had quieter day slowly exploring the city. We began by heading up the mountain to the N-Seoul Tower Observatory, which was so much fun. The 360 views were just great, slightly foggy in places but could still see so far. We then just spent the afternoon wondering looking around shops, even getting to visit the Hello Kitty Cafe.

Day 7 (Monday) – Today we caught the 8am super fast KTX train from Seoul central down to the southern city of Busan, taking only a few hours. The reason for the overnight trip to the City was to visit Dong-a University to meet up with Korean students. Once we arrived we heading straight off to the Campus for a brief tour of the design facilities and had a welcome chat from ex CSAD student Avian, who is now a professor at the University. He gave us a brief insight into Korean life and the university system. We were then all split into smaller groups and paired with Korean students who were going to take us out for day around Busan. My group took us to Busan Tower in Yongdusan Park, which was so nice! The views were incredible, as we could see as far as Haeundae-Gu City. My group also took us out for a traditional Korean Lunch and to a Green Tea Cafe before we headed over to a different campus at Dong-a University. Getting to speak to the students and learn more about their lives was great, as we got to see the main similarities and differences of being in your early 20s in Korea compared to our lives in the UK. Our evening group activity was so much fun, around 30 of us in total all went out for dinner, drinks and karaoke.

Day 8 (Tuesday) – Today we was a bit of a slow start before we headed to Dong-a University again to watch a presentation by Gareth about Global Awareness. We then got the chance to meet up with different society student at the university with me opting for the K-Pop class over the Traditional Korean Music choice. Our K-Pop class was so much fun and again allowed us to see how much we have in common with people our same age on the other side of the world. To end our time in Busan we finally visited to the Universities museum to see some traditional Korean artefacts, before catching the train back up to Seoul for the reminder of our trip.

Day 9 (Wednesday) – Today we started off with a Tutorial with Gareth to discuss our points of interest ready for our presentations. With us being on the Level 5 field module everyone else was following the project brief, so we had a contribute but looking it back to level 6,  our subject area and how the trip will influence us at this stage. After our chat we then heading off to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in central Seoul. It was great to see some contemporary art after only really visiting traditional moments, the museum really reminded me of the Tate Modern in London.


Once we were done at the museum we then headed off to the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History, which I found fascinating. Whenever I go somewhere on holiday I always enjoy a trip to a history museum to get a bit of insight, however I’m always wary as to how bias they could be.
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Day 10 (Thursday) – Today was our last day in Korea which is very sad, as I have honestly had one of the best trips of my life, the company, sights to the general feel of the place have been great. We started the day off by heading to Kookmin University to individually present to the rest of the UK group. At first I was a bit apprehensive about having to participate in the Presentations with being a 3rd year, however I actually really enjoyed getting to hear about everyones favourite points and project interests. Below I have attached a link to my presentation, which was about how I could possibly link things i’ve learnt and seen to my final 3rd year field project for the degree show.

pips-south-korea-presentation

Once we had finished with our presentations Emma and I decided to head back down to Gangnam, to go to the Korean Embroidery Museum and the Leeum, Samsung Museum of   Art. The Embroidery Museum was a bit of a disappointment as it was just so small in size and also didn’t have that many samples on show, mainly photographs. The Leeum on the other had was very interesting. The special exhibitions were so much fun and was a great end to our time in Korea.

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Aprons given to us by the Design School at Kookmin University in Seoul

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