About two years ago, I was interested in visiting the USA, however the US embassy rejected me for the following reasons: I was single and had never been to other countries.. The rejection cost me the $160 visa fee, 1 night hotel fee, round trip train ticket and 2-day annual leaves. What hurt me the most was having a “blank passport” and no overseas travel experience. I have never forgotten the memory of the embassy staff member that interviewed me, she had big beautiful mix blood eyes, and the word "sorry". Single and no travel experience, what could I do to change this status, to visit more countries. Up until now, I have been to 4 countries, and I am not so desperate to get a US visa anymore, but it’s more like a goal to achieve. Fortunately, I have gone through the most complicated visa application process: fill the application form on line->pay for the visa fee on ATM->make interview appointment on line->go to the embassy and line outside at least 1 hour beforehand, cell phone and bag are not allowed when you enter embassy. The experience reminded me that careful preparations and a good understanding of all qualification criteria is very important. Also, in another words, being a decent person can only help.
South Korea is very close to my home town Da Lian. I have a friend who works for a tourism agency. I was very worried about being rejected again so she helped me to apply for a group visa, which required me to arrive and leave with the group on the same date/flight, but once I was in Korea, I could travel by myself with the visa for 3 days. Anyway, I traveled overseas on April, 2014!!
1. To be bold
I booked my hostel on-line before I went abroad. I downloaded a 3-day-trip plan on the internet and I was also a little worried about my English. I didn’t have Korea money and I didn’t know how to exchange money overseas, my friend said I was so bold for not preparing anything. Another elder sister told me that Inchon airport was really an international airport, it included everything you need. Don’t worry, to be bold and polite!
As I landed at Inchon airport, the first 1 minute, I was a little scared, I was really in South Korea! I told myself “be bold and polite”, I needed to do these things: call my hostel, buy a transportation card, take bus/metro and then check in. I asked the girls at the reception many times about how to make a local call, where could I buy the card, how could I recharge the card, how to take the metro and where I need to transfer another one… As I arrived at the station of my hostel, I was shocked at all of the buildings name were all in Korean!!! Thanks to the nice local people’s help, although some of them didn’t know how to describe in English, they used their body languages or even led me to the hostel directly. Seoul is a very warm city.
2. To be polite
I checked in safely and went to Gwanghwamun Square. I saw lots of people from all over the world. Maybe it’s not appropriate but I should say that the tourism group with nosiest talking and always in a hurry, it must be from mainland China. I saw a guy who was from Vietnam I guessed, he kept on waiting to take a picture because the Chinese tourists were walking in front of him and weren't aware that he wanted to take a picture. I talked with one of them and let him take a picture. In my opinion, it’s more important to be polite overseas and bring the best of our own culture to foreigners.
3. Australian friend John next to the door
Nearsightedness made me confuse John with the owner of hostel. He is a very nice person like granddad. John and I talked a very long time in the lobby about Chinese culture and the hundreds of his international friends. We had the same schedule so the 2nd day in Seoul I had a partner.
John introduced Buddha parade to me and I agreed to see it together. There’re many people from all over the world gathered on the streets. I made paper lantern at the gate of a temple. We visited HanYang University and saw many beautiful buildings and clay products. During the time when we were waiting for the parade, John shared lots of his overseas experiences with me.
4, Food in Seoul
I have seen a lot of South Korea movies. I like the local food very much. But I didn’t try that many foods. Let me give a snapshot of the local foods.
5, summary of the trip
- Seoul is very safe, clean and warm city, you can book a small hostel near metro station so that it will be easier to visit other places
- Don’t need to be worried about getting lost, everyone will tell you the right way. If they don’t know they will call their friends
- Metros in South Korea have 4 languages, Korean, English, Japanese and Mandarin. It’s very easy for foreigners