Tuesday, June 9, 2009


So all my projects and presentations are over for this term! I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. Although I didn't do much of the research (Koreans are good at that) or writing, I did compile all the reports and case studies and edited the black ink out of all of them which took days (the locals were ever so grateful) and (most importantly) learned a lot in the process. The powerpoints (PPT) they churn out at this university are amazingly nice and professional. I've never seen anything like them -- they really could be a new form of art! The professors are pleased, I'm happy, we all win. I've always loved group projects. I got to meet some friendly, super hard working and funny people in my groups. Koreans sure have a unique sense of humour that's hard to describe and all the girls sound like they're 8 years old when I talk to them online "k x 100" haha~

Anyway, now I'm super cramming for my Korean Culture and Society final tomorrow. There are a ton of interesting facts in my notes -- here's a few I found really interesting:

Remarkable economic development:
- Korea's GDP grew (miraculously) 605.8 times (from $1.3 billion in 1953 to $787.5 billion in 2005) which now makes them 12th largest in the world
- Per capita Gross National Income (GNI) grew 243 times from $67 in 1953 to $16,291 in 2005 (Luxemburg has the world's highest per capital GNI at $86,819).
- From rags to riches: emerged from the ruins of the 1950-1953 Korean War and is now the world's 11th largest exporting country (exports increased 13,000 times during last half century)
- Top memory chip producer in the world, one of the top producers of cell phones, 5th largest carmarker.

Becoming increasingly multicultural:
- Because of "son preference" (AKA sons are much more preferred than daughters.. typical), abortions are widely practiced here (since the late 1980s) and are not frowned upon unlike in the West.
- But because of this, there are more males than females (a prevalent sex-ratio imbalance) so there's a growing number of international and intermarriages.
- Korea is not alone - it's believed that there are up to 30 million extra men in China and India. (Feeling lonely? Now you know where to go! kkkkkkk)
- The most popular intermarriages are called "Kosians" (Korean + Asian). Given this increasing trend, it is estimated that nearly a third of all children born in 2020 will be Kosians.
- Many men from the countryside marry foreign brides because they are less educated and generally have a lower income than those from the cities (and women would rather marry ones w/ money)
- Most foreign brides are from less developed nations, but a large majority of foreign husbands come from economically advanced nations like Japan, US, and Canada (which further increases the shortage of Korean brides for Korean men!)
- This is a 'problem' because Korea prides itself for being ethnically homogeneous. This trend will lead to more foreign immigrants + a much larger number of bi-racial or bi-ethnic children.
- Another way Korea is becoming more multicultural is because there's a labour shortage so they bring in foreign migrant workers to do the dirty jobs.
- More people are getting better educations than ever before so there's not enough people working in these 3D jobs (difficult, dirty, and dangerous)
- Korea is currently the most rapidly aging society in the world. In 2000, 7% of the population comprised of the elderly. In 2019, 14% of the population will consist of the elderly. In 2026, Korea will become a "superaged society" lol at 20%.
- What is remarkable about the Korean situation is that while the economically advanced nations took decades to shift from an aging society to an aged society, it will take Korea only a generation (approx 19 years) to make the transition which will break the world record set by Japan (26 years).
- WHY + HOW? 1. Increasing life expectancy rose more than 10 years in the lat 2 decades (expected to be 81 years in 2020) and 2. Low fertility rate - lowest in the world.
- If the low birthrate persists, it is forecasted that Korea's total population will drop from 48.29 million to 42.35 million in 2050.
- A UN report says that with the current population trends, Korea's population will drop to a mere 5 million in 2200 and can become extinct by 2800.
- Thus, Korean society is destined to make a transition from a mono-racial society to a multiracial and multiethnic society in the near future. This process is irreversible.

- Took just 40 years to urbanize
- As a result of rapid urbanization, there is an extemely uneven distribution of people living in the big cities like Seoul and Pusan and not enough people living in other smaller cities.
- A little less than half of the total population live in the capital district (which comprises of approx 11.8% of the total land)
- This is a problem because now there's a housing shortage - too many apartments, everything can be found in the big cities (best universities, the headquarters of large conglomerates and companies (foreign and domestic) which makes it even less likely for people to want to move away from the big cities, it creates slum areas and areas of illegal residential areas, there's poor air quality, underfunded and overcrowded schools... etc.

Interesting... the other day, one of the girls I had dinner with told us of how she did a little survey in her East Asia studies class of how women are viewed vs. men in Korea compared to in the West. For Western women, the Korean guys wrote "strong, independent" and for Korean women, the Korean guys wrote down a bunch of characteristics, but on the top of all their lists were "weak and incapable". Hah! Some of the international students were wondering why they never see Korean guys with foreign girls but they notice Korean girls with foreign guys. It's 'cause most Korean guys have a domineering mindset so they feel very intimidated by foreigners.

On a different topic, the humidity (and pollution?) is really affecting my skin. I'm breaking out a bit these days (especially last week) in the most un-hidable spots on my face. Plus, my skin texture is bumpy! You may as well just call me Dotty :( I've been using my face masks and trying out my new products so they've been helping quite a bit thank goodness.

Oh btw, I've become a fan of oil cleansers! I've been using DHC's (a Japanese brand - all their products are based off the natural benefit of olive oil) Deep Cleansing Oil for a while now, ever since the Cetaphil I brought from home ran out. While it's been good (it effectively removes dirt, makeup (even waterproof mascara), excess oil, and easily dissolves other pore cloggers), I think it's better for people with oily-type skin.
I have really dry skin. I picked up this beauty oil cleanser by Kanebo's freeplus line in Japan. It does the same job (as in, it gets off every trace of makeup you have on your face including your eyemakeup (just rub and it's gone!)), but the texture is much lighter ('cause it's for sensitive skin) and my skin doesn't feel dry afterward - feels soft!

I think oil cleansers are popular here.. and especially in Japan (Shu Uemura is very well known for their oil cleansers but I do not plan on spending $60+ on them!) because Japanese girls wear a LOT of makeup and oil cleansers will take it all off... and oil cleansers are recommended to help take off BB creams for Korean girls.

News on Cenix (refer here): So it seems as though I don't have enough evidence that I bought my device for however much I paid because my receipt is combined with Bern's and doesn't list out each product separately.. so the customer service of Korea can't do anything. There was one other reason why but I can't remember. I can still try for the customer service for foreigners but nobody can seem to find the right number to call. I will be getting 60,000won back from the customer service department of I'Park Digital Mall in Yongsan this week, though. I guess that's better than nothing! The tech reps do say that Cenix is a good, durable brand... it's just that it's not well known so people don't buy it. I guess I do need it (even though I'm not a fan of how it looks). And even though I've only used it twice since I've arrived in Korea, I think I may have broken my Zune 8GB. hah.

I really feel like going shopping (lol what's new... I haven't been shopping in over a week, though!)! A Korean makeup haul is due. Funds are getting limited though.. iiiiks


  1. hii!
    I came across your blog because i was googling bars in kangnam haha. Anyways, I love your blog, you've done such a great job detailing your life in seoul. I've been here for about a month now and i love it so muchh! Reading your blog has made me want to do this whole KU exchange program! I actually have a friend doing it this summer (in a few weeks actually). well anyway, I had a question about club Eden, Is there a specific dress code that they won't let you if if they don't approve? I'm from the states so we def. don't dress as nice as the girls do here everyday !

  2. Susie: Thanks for your comment! Oh gosh I knew I should have paid more attention to the dress code sign! haha naw - it shouldn't be a problem. I think the dress code is more in effect for guys wearing sweats from school uniforms.. jerseys.. baseball caps.. tacky printed tees.. running shoes.. loungewear...or anything too casual like that. Just dress smart and you'll be totally fine =) Dark jeans + a tank and flats are good enough if you're into comfort! I've seen girls wear supershort cut off jean shorts too paired with a plain black tank... but they always wear heels which makes it more dressy.
    BTW, there's a Facebook group you can join for Club Eden events if you don't know about it. If you request to join their group, you'll get to know about all the events and regular happenings like Friday Night Models Night where you can get in for free before 11PM if you're on the guest list (I believe it's U.N.O Entertainment) and you're allowed to bring 1 guest!... 'cause 30,000 won is expensive if you ain't got connections ;)

  3. oh thanks so muchhh!
    It's so weird because looking through your pictures I've been to a lot of the places that you've gone to@ reading you blog has made me want to do an exchange program too! Maybe at Yonsei bc my school isn't affiliated with KU :(
    but it looks like you had an amazingggg time and I really want an experience like the one you've had! when are you leaving back to home?

  4. I highly highly highly recommend exchange!! You will love it just as I do for SURE haha and you'll come out of it as a different person, too (in a good way).

    I'm leaving to go back home on July 11th.

    Hey I'm going to Eden this Friday - let me know if you wanna join =) My e-mail is eng.natasha@gmail.com

  5. I was Googling "Korean guys" and "foreign girls" to find out how Korean men view Western women in Korean society and came across your blog.

    Anyways, very interesting post! The first half was especially fascinating! :)


  6. Hi!
    your blog is so helpful!!! i came across your blog after browsing thru KU exchange students' blogs. I'm planning to go in this coming fall and was wondering if you recommend taking the Korean culture and society class? is this the class where they compare the different culture between US and Korea??
    thx :)

  7. Thanks, Grace! I do recommend taking Korean Culture & Society as a fun elective. Yes, they do compare the cultures between US & Korea a lot and you learn things even Koreans don't know about their own culture. Great place to get to know the local students too!

  8. This is so helpful! Thank you Natasha! Do you remember what the course code/section number is?

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