Hot Places In Seoul - Summer 2019

Hot Places In Seoul - Summer 2019

Two of the most used slang in Korea right now are 핫플 (hot-peul)  and 인싸 (in-ssa). 핫플 comes from the words “hot place”, and refers to a popular spot where people often gather and hang out in. 인싸 is short for “insider” and refers to people who are sociable and trendy. With no doubt, these two words go hand in hand: the 인싸s are the ones who go to the different 핫플s to hang out. Here at GOA’L, we want to share some of these “hot places” trending among locals in Korea this summer.

Ikseon-dong (익선동)

(Photo source: http://biz.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2017/04/20/2017042001752.html)

Just a short walk away from the famous Insa-dong, Ikseon-dong is another up and coming area in Seoul. Ikseon-dong hanok village was built in the late 1920s to early 1930s by the famous 정세권 (Jeong Se-gwon), the first contractor in Korea. After this area was featured on 어서와, 한국은 처음이지? (Welcome, First Time in Korea?), a show about foreigners travelling in different parts of Korea, people have been visiting nonstop. The hanok-exterior of all the stores make Ikseon-dong a perfect photo spot for photography enthusiasts, with traces of the past all over the alleyways.

Ikseon-dong is very charming with its tiny alleyways, coffeeshops, and numerous different restaurants. One street in Ikseon-dong, referred to as 포차거리 (pocha street), is where you can find endless “food tents” to eat and drink in. Because of the narrow alleys and its popularity, it can get very crowded with waiting times for restaurants becoming the usual, especially on weekends.

You can get to Ikseon-dong from Jongno 3-ga station at exit four (종로3가 4번출구).

Euljiro (을지로)

(Photo source: http://www.wikitree.co.kr/main/news_view.php?id=332863)

The Euljiro area, near the new G.O.A.’L. office, is also another “hot place”; characterized by the vintage and retro atmosphere of all the restaurants. Many people call Euljiro “힙지로” (hip-jiro), since this area is known as a hipster hot spot. Koreans say that it is impossible to have a bad date if you meet in Euljiro. The restaurants here have affordable prices, a unique atmosphere, and of course, delicious food.

(Photo source: http://news.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2018/12/06/2018120600837.html)

This area is also known for Arc.N.Book, a famous book store, which specializes in books on a few, particular keywords: daily lifestyle, weekend, inspiration, and style. It is not a typical bookstore that only sells books but rather, they hope to curate different, yet better, lifestyles. The store has a tunnel made of books that has become a popular photo spot among tourists, as well as a wide selection of restaurants and coffee shops.

Seochon (서촌)

(Photo source: https://m.blog.naver.com/dnrl52/221293198379)

Seochon is located adjacent to Gyeongbokgung Palace and is full of historical and beautiful hanok buildings. Hundreds of people visit Seochon at the beginning of every summer to take pictures in front of the infamous 장미 담장 (jangmi damjang), or rose wall. This wall cannot be found on Google Maps, unless you search for “cafe mk2”. The rose wall has been established as an unofficial photo zone, and people line up to take pictures in front of this wall, full of red and pink roses. Thousands of photos taken here can be found on Instagram by searching the hashtag #서촌장미.

All the in-ssas are heading over to these areas after work and on weekends to check out all the restaurants and take in the charm. “Hot places” in Seoul tend to change often, so make sure to visit these places before the next hot place emerges.

Author: Eva Kim
Editor: Leanna French

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Community Introductions: Teri

Community Introductions: Teri

Today we are happy to introduce you to an adoptee living in Korea.
Teri was nice enough to sit down with us and tell us a little bit about her story and life in Korea:

My name is Teresa Thomas and I was adopted in 1976. This is my second time returning to Korea and I have been here since April 5, 2017. I returned with the intention of doing further research on my birth family, to live and work here on a permanent basis, and also increase awareness about Korean adoptees with disabilities with hopes of also involving native Koreans as well.

I was born with cerebral palsy, a disorder that impairs motor skills. For me, it has affected my walking and my speech. During my first visit to Korea in 1994, I don’t specifically remember if I had any struggles getting around Seoul. However, since coming back to Korea this past April, I have encountered so much difficulty getting to and from places.

I have fallen many times due to uneven pavement. However, I have also seen several “normal” people trip or fall due to uneven street surfaces. The only difference is that they have better balance than myself which prevents them from completely falling.

Another difficulty is riding the public buses. While walking to the bus stop or station I often get shoved, or pushed. This can be attributed to Korea’s 빨리 빨리 culture where everyone is seemingly in a rush to get where they need to go.

Additionally, most stores and restaurants do not have railings on their staircases. Many also do not have elevators. Some people with disabilities have difficulties climbing up stairs without a railing and some have difficulties climbing stairs regardless if there are railings or not.

In general, people with disabilities should be aware of these types of challenges and conditions before visiting any country. They should be prepared to face these challenges at any given moment.

It is helpful to know your limitations - know what you can and cannot do as there is not as widespread ease of access in Korea as there is in a country like the United States. From my experience, you can expect some delays getting around. I recommend taking your time and protecting yourself to make sure you can safely navigate Korea. I also have found that many times, Korean people are very willing to help.

Having discussed my experience with accessibility here in Korea, here are my general recommendations to improve it:

#1 Provide paratransit to supplement the public transportation routes of buses and subway routes.

#2 Create regulations for taxi drivers that would require them to take people with disabilities anywhere within the city, regardless of distance or location.

#3 Improve walking surfaces.

#4 Enforce current regulations or create regulations for buildings regarding the installation of railings and elevators.

#5 Create a better educational system for people with disabilities.

In closing, besides the physical challenges there have been emotional and mental challenges as well. Culturally, age can be a factor as well, affecting employment opportunities. Despite these challenges, everyone, including people with disabilities have great potential. Set your mind to your goals and you can do it!

*Views expressed here are of the adoptee and do not necessarily reflect G.O.A.'L.

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Services will be limited during August 2017

Services will be limited during August 2017

Services will be limited during August 2017 due to First Trip Home.

This especially applies to new birth family search requests and volunteer requests.

New requests for birth family search will not be processed until September 5th, 2017.

Volunteer requests will be processed given the request has been received no later than August 8th. Requests for volunteers for the period of August 24th to the 31st cannot be accommodated.

Urgent F4 visa assistance will be processed until August 17th given the request has been received no later than August 10th.

We will respond to inquiries and requests about scholarships for schools both inside and outside of Seoul for the Fall and Winter term.

The office will be closed from August 21st to September 4th inclusive. Emails received during this period will be answered as soon as possible.

We thank you for your patience and apologize for any inconvenience.

Have a great summer,

The G.O.A.’L Staff

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