Getting Sick in Daegu

So while in Korea I got really sick and had a few medical complications. Attached are pictures of a list of hospitals and clinics in Daegu. I found it pretty helpful when I was essentially dying and couldn’t use my brain. Also, know that if you go to any of these other than Fatima or Hyosung’s Women Hospital, you will need insurance and most likely have 3-4 people in the room with you during the appointment (translators, assistants, etc).

I personally recommend Fatima Clinic as the first place to go:

Address: 576-31, Sinam-dong, Dong-gu
Tel: 053-940-7114
Hours: Monday-Friday 9:30am to 12pm / 1:30pm to 5pm, Saturday 9am to 4 pm

*hours may be different*

The doctor’s English was good enough and you don’t need insurance. It was really cheap, close to the uni (walking distance), and the pharmacy is right next to the clinic.

If you want to see a gyno, check out Amanda’s post on this! I went to the Hyosung Women’s Hospital and it was great. The reception was nice but know there will be a translator in the room as well, in addition to the doctor and her 1-2 assistants. I called an made an appointment for my annual check up and it was pretty smooth. If you don’t have a Korean SIM, go to the Study Abroad office or ask to use any of your Korean friend’s phones to make the appointment! Walk-ins aren’t recommended.

I don’t recommend going to the KNU hospital because the wait takes forever, you need insurance, it’s far, takes forever, and to see a specialist it takes 3 weeks (if it’s an emergency). 

 

Also:

Pharmacies in Korea are pretty lax with the need for prescription for medicine. If you know what you need and ask, they’ll probably give it to you. If you need emergency contraceptives though, you will need a doctors note.

Yellow dust in the spring is also pretty intense (you can see it in waves), so try and wear a mask on the days of “high risk”. You’ll know it when it is a high risk day. There are masks with filters that you can buy next to the uni, and those are recommended.


A Break and a Fresh Start

Before coming to Korea, I thought I would never get tired of being in a new country and being able to explore my surroundings. However, I found myself missing home a lot more than I thought I would. So, during winter break (which I have to add is two and a half months long here in Korea) I decided it would be best to go back to the States. Although I knew I could have spent that time traveling or meeting new people, I felt that it would be good for me to have a break from the loneliness of living abroad.

The one thing I missed more than my family was my mom’s cooking. Growing up with a mother who cooked not only every day but also amazingly tasty food has definitely spoiled me. During break, I ate my weight’s worth of Vietnamese food, and it felt great!
I also decided to go back to work as I knew I would be bored without anything to do. If you know me, you know that I always complained about work. The long hours were rough, but dealing with hungry people is even worse. However, this time around, I found myself really enjoying work. A semester aboard made me miss not only my family but the people I work with. And so, I made an effort to engage with the other employees. We would joke around and laugh at even the smallest things. I found myself building stronger friendships in those two months than in the three years that I had been working there. I was a little sad when I had to say goodbye to them.

At the end of February, I packed up my things again for Korea. This time I brought less clothes and more food. I realized that I missed American food too, and so I packed myself a big jar of peanut butter and oatmeal, both of which are expensive and hard to find in Korea. (However as I’m writing this, my oatmeal stash has run low which means I must hunt for more soon.)

This semester, I am staying in the school dorms. It is a lot cheaper than the previous place I lived at but it is also more lonely. I have Korean roommates, but they are so busy with their lives and plans that I rarely see them. Also, I think the language difference makes them scared to talk to me, and so we only exchange greetings and then go about our lives. However, this semester I have made more international friends than I did last semester. I’ve met some very same-minded people who are in Korea to learn about the culture and experience the unique Korean lifestyle. I am excited to hang out with them and do some crazy things! Although last semester, I enjoyed my time in Korea, I hope this semester brings me some more new and unforgettable experiences!

Start of Semester

September 1st marked the beginning of the fall semester at Seoul National University. I have to admit that I was quite excited to start school as I wanted to meet new friends and learn more about Korean history and culture. I have a very nice schedule in that I have Wednesdays and Fridays off, which means more free time for fun…and study I guess.

The first day of school is always the most hectic. I left my place at around 8am and headed toward the subway station. I didn’t realize how packed the subways would be and had to let 3 trains pass before finally squeezing into one. Luckily for me, many people got off at the next few stations, and I was able to get a seat. After arriving at the subway station near school, I headed toward the free shuttle to school and the queue was INSANE. There were about 100 students waiting patiently for the bus to come. I made it into SNU with about 30 minutes until class started and that was enough time for me to get lost. I didn’t know where my class was as the school was unfamiliar (and big) to me. However, a nice security guard saw my confusion and kindly guided me to the building I needed to go to.

After a stressful morning, the rest of my day went smoothly. I attended three classes, and they all seemed interesting and fun. However, they do involve a lot of reading, so my Wednesdays and Fridays will be busy getting the readings done.

In my Music of the World class, I met a friendly Malaysian international student. She had been at SNU for about 2 years, and so she knew the ways around school and knew a lot about Korea. She was kind enough to accompany me to get my student ID card and invited me to dinner with her friends. I was so grateful for her talking to me and showing me around and she said that she understood the struggle of being a foreigner. She too had been in my position, alone in a new country, and just wanted to help me out as much as she could. I’m happy to say that I made a good friend and hope to make more friends like her as the year progresses.

Tips for KNU Summer School

Now that my summer at Kyungpook National University, I find myself missing Daegu. The people were very hospitable, and the city was beautiful. One month felt like forever, but at the same time, it went by very quickly. I have learned many things from my month in Daegu and would like to share some tips I have with those of you who are interested in KNU!

1) Know how to say 경북대학교북문 (Kyungpook Daehakgyo Pookmoon)
경북대학교북문 means Kyungpook National University North Gate. This is the main meeting point for many KNU students. It is also the most convenient place to be dropped off by taxi if you are coming from the airport or the train station. Most, if not all, taxi drivers know where North Gate is and will take you directly there.

2) Bring travel-sized toiletries and a towel

After a long flight, it feels nice to take a hot (or cold depending on the weather) shower. But, if you don’t pack some shampoo/conditioner/body wash, then that shower won’t feel as refreshing as you had expected. I recommend packing only travel-sized toiletries as you can always buy bigger ones in Daegu, and they won’t weigh down your suitcase. Along with travel-sized toiletries, it is smart to bring a towel, preferably one that you doing mind throwing away at the end of your trip. Many of my classmates went the first few days without towels because they forgot to or decided not to bring towels to save space in their suitcase. While it is possible to find towels in Daegu, most of them are small, and you have to go off-campus to find them.

3) Shop at Daiso first

If you find yourself short on certain goods, the first place to check is Daiso. This is the Korean equivalent of a dollar store, except the quality for certain goods is better. At Daiso, you can find anything. Toiletries, plates, bowls, cups, and even snacks. KNU does provide summer school students with blankets and a pillow, but toilet paper and shower shoes are up to the student to get. I recommend Daiso because it is cheap, and they seem to have everything one would need. If Daiso doesn’t carry what you need, then you can check out later supermarkets like Homeplus or Lotte Mart, which are like Walmart or Target.

4) DO NOT FLUSH TOILET PAPER

It is pretty common in America to flush your toilet paper when you’re done with your business, however, you should not do this in Korea. Many shops and stores will have a sign in the restrooms that says “Do not flush toilet paper as it will clog.” The same is true for the dorms. Although my dorm did not come with a trashcan, I hung a plastic bag on the door handle that acted as a trashcan. As gross as that sounds, it is better than having a clogged toilet that is not usable.

5) Bring medicine and bug spray

I got pretty sick during the last week of the program due to the constant change in temperature; outside was sweltering and inside was freezing due to the air conditioning. Luckily, I had packed a box of cold medicine before I left for Korea. I used up most of the box and now wish I had packed more. There are independently owned pharmacies all over Korea, which makes getting medicine easy. However, it is hard because all the medication is in Korean, and most often you have to explain your symptoms to the pharmacist, which can be difficult if you don’t speak Korean. If you do find yourself in need of medication, it would be best to find a Korean friend to help you or to make use of your KNU buddy.

Mosquitoes here are ridiculous. I have been bitten so many times. They find their way indoors as well, and so to avoid the pain and annoyance of itchy bites, it is best to bring and use bug spray as well as itch cream if a sneaky mosquito happens to get you.

This concludes my tips for KNU (and living in Korea in general). I narrowed down these tips from a longer list I had, and so I will probably make a second tips post. Thank you for reading, and I hope this helps out those who are interested in KNU and Korea!

Tongin Market 통인시장

Today, I visited a traditional Korean market called Tongin Market. Located in Seoul near the Gyeongbokgung Palace, the market was full of tourists and natives trying to get a glimpse of what life was like before modernization.

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Another reason that draws people to Tongin Market is the Dosirak Cafe. Here, you pay 5,000 Won (roughly $5) and you receive a plastic tray and 10 coins. Then, you walk around the market and trade your coins at different vendors for food! A serving of vegetables or smaller side dish will cost one coin and meat or other protein will cost two.
I had a hard time picking what I wanted to eat because there was so much to choose from and they all looked so delicious! In the end, I got a potato pancake, a skewer of pan fried fish, japchae (Korean sweet potato noodles with vegetables), greens, fried chicken, and Girim Ddeokbokki. Girim Ddeokbokki can only be found at the Tongin Market. It is rice cakes fried in oil and red pepper flakes.

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It was all so delicious, and I definitely left feeling full and happy. Best of all, it was cheap and a very fun experience.

 

Bonus Round: Dessert

After stuffing my face with all of the food from the Dosirak Cafe, I walked around the area and found a little shop that sells egg tarts. The smells coming from the shop made me salivate even though I was full. I decided that I had room for one egg tart and treated myself to one. Now, I haven’t had many egg tarts before, but this one was definitely one of the best tarts I’ve ever had.

Egg tart

I would definitely recommend Tongin Market and the Dosirak Cafe to anyone who wants to try a variety of food and experience a Korean traditional market! Also, get an egg tart because it is delicious.