We arrived from Singapore in the midst of Seoul’s winter, and we really felt the difference. Seoul was the primary purpose of the business trip and so most of our time was spent in meetings. I was there to see Yoons English School, an amazing developer and publisher of English-as-a-foreign-language teaching materials.
It’s always disorientating to be in a new city for the first time. I’ve got to know London, Singapore, Bristol and others so well that they feel like a second home. Seoul was completely new, and it felt foreign in a way I hadn’t experienced before.
Outside of the main tourist areas, signboards don’t carry an English translation. Unlike in Europe where I can piece together bits of conversation with my rudimentary understanding of a few European languages, Korean is entirely different. The result is a fish out of water feeling which is a really interesting experience.
Fortunately my business partner and friend, CJ, was on hand to guide us through this. CJ speaks excellent English and provided continuous translation of conversations, restaurant menus and signboards.
On a day that we didn’t have too many meetings, we took the opportunity to explore Seoul.