When we first heard that we were going to Korea it was unbelievable, we had only hoped that one-day, in many years we would have the opportunity to go to such a country. We never thought we would have the chance to go to Korea, train for sparring, explore Suwon and meet so many new friends. All three of us kept saying, “Who would ever think we could be here so soon and have such an amazing experience?”
I remember being so nervous to get on the plane and leave Canada, but once I got there I realized there was absolutely nothing to worry about. The first day we got there the three of us (myself, Emily Beauchamp and Alysha McCheyne) soon got the name ‘Charlie’s Angels’, we mostly stuck together for the first few days, but once everyone started talking we soon made many friends for numerous countries. At orientation we learned that our schedule would be very busy but we would still have some break time, we were given a tour of the campus so we knew were everything we would need would be.
After orientation we got straight to work and had sparring. We all got partners that knew some English, they tried their hardest to understand what we said, and they all showed us new stretches that we’d never seen before. My partner was so kind and friendly; she would always correct me when I was doing a drill improperly. The training sessions where three hours long, almost every day. They were tiring but fun.
We finished every day with a fun, interactive class, like K-Pop dance, or Taekwondo aerobics, or first-aid and taping. In K-Pop dance class we learned about the style of music they listen to in Korea. We learned a dance to the song I Love You by 2ne1. It was very fun and a nice end to a busy day. In Taekwondo aerobics we did two routines — one to Like This by Wonder Girls and the other to Sex Appeal by Bueno Clinic. In aerobics we’d do a routine to music but we added in moves like kicks, punches and blocks, they were very fun and harder than they seem. The taping seemed hard but once you got the hang of how to do it taping was easy!
Almost every morning we had an hour of yoga. Some didn’t enjoy it as much as others because it was so early in the morning but many people did like the fact that it was soothing and reenergizing. The teacher was very nice and kept us busy throughout all the classes. Some of the poses where challenging but it was nice to try something new.
On the weekends we went on exciting, breath-taking field trips. The first one we went on was to Ocean World. It was a huge, crowded water park with lots of high-speed water slides. My favourite part was the huge wave that could carry you from one end of the pool to the other.
Every Sunday we got a free day, so while Alysha and a few others went to Seoul, Emily and I decided to stay to shop and explore Suwon. We found many interesting shops and bought a lot of cool souvenirs to remind us of the superb trip. It was nice to have a whole day to relax before going back to intense training.
Between yoga and training we always had an educational class like Taekwondo etiquette, Korean language, philosophy of Taekwondo, human anatomy, strategy of sparring and rules or nutrition for Taekwondo players. All the subjects were very informing and new to us; we enjoyed all of the teachers and classes every day. My favourite classes where Korean language and nutrition for Taekwondo players. I liked Korean language because I would like to learn how to speak and write Korean and this was like a head start, I will hopefully be able to do both one-day. The nutrition for Taekwondo players was very interesting because it gave me knowledge that I would have never guessed before. I wish we would have had more time to learn even more in all the classes.
For one of the field trips we went to Kukkiwon, the World Taekwondo Headquarters. I have always dreamed of going to Kukkiwon, so this was extremely exciting. We took a lovely group photo there which I will always keep. After we went to the Kukkiwon shop where I bought a few uniforms specially for sparring. That same day we went to an old shopping street where there was lots of things to buy if you were a tourist, there were clothes, key chains, postcards, and lots more. We also went to the Korean Castles which where breathtaking, they were huge, colourful and amazing. We took dozens of pictures of and with them.
On the last day we had a final test, everyone was very nervous but did extremely well. We got a certificate, uniform and a belt that all say Kyung Hee University. That night we all got dressed up and had a fancy dinner to celebrate what we all accomplished it was so nice and fun. There were a few jokes played on everyone but we all had a great time. It was such a delightful night!
Overall the trip is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to me. If I could I would have never left. I could stay there forever! I wish I could go back and do it all over again. It was a once-in-a-life-time experience and I wish it never ended. I will never forget all the memories, friends and everything in between. One day I hope that I can go back to Korea. I know that it will never be the same but it will still be an astonishing experience!