Chuseok and the Looming Midterms

Exchange view

안녕하세요 (Annyeonghaseyo) everyone! I’m writing again from the far east country of South-Korea! It’s been a wild month with all the immigration processes I have to do while also remembering to study. Midterms are creeping up in roughly two weeks and schools have generally loosened up curfew because of that, but that doesn’t mean that this past month has been non-stop studying here. Last week Koreans celebrated Chuseok! Think of it as a form of Thanksgiving that’s celebrated in the span of three days. Even though I can’t really celebrate it myself as I will explain soon enough, I thought it would be interesting for you readers to know more about this short holiday.

What is Chuseok exactly?

추석 (Chuseok) which is literally translated to Autumn Eve, is a Korean Thanksgiving and major harvest festival which is regarded as one of the most important holidays here in Korea. During Chuseok families usually visit grandparents and honor already deceased relatives. Traditional foods and drinks include 송편 (songpyeon) which is a like a small rice cake and various rice wines like 막걸리 (Makgeolli).

From what I heard from friends and other exchange students who are more knowledgeable about Chuseok; families usually cook all the food on the first day and then decide to celebrate the festival on the second, this usually means that no one really is out and about for the first day or two and a lot of restaurants close down for the duration and that leave people like me hungry who can’t really celebrate it since my family is almost the entire length of Russia apart from me.

But as I said before this holiday is meant for being with family and enjoying the time, company of your loved ones and honoring those who are not present anymore.

What was that about Midterms?

I don’t exactly remember when midterms were in Finland, but the rate that exams happen here is so fast that it almost terrifies me. I have already mentioned this on a previous Exchange View, but to reiterate: the length of one semester is roughly 3.5 months, that’s mainly because semesters start very late, spring semester starts around March/April while fall semester start around September/October.

This usually means longer holidays (hooray!), but also means that school cram all the information you need in such a short amount of time that you need to be studying every single day to achieve excellent grades. I always wondered why Asians in general are stereotyped as the smart people, but witnessing the study culture firsthand, I totally get where they’re coming from.

If nothing else, once I have to head back to Finland, I’ll probably have a newfound appreciation for the school life at XAMK and how slow everything is processed (haha!).

Anyway that’s all for me this time. I hope you enjoyed reading and I’ll see you again with another Exchange View! 다음에 봐요 (Daeume bwayo)!