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The 30th IYF: A Cultural Tour in Seoul

After 5 days of lectures, discussion sessions and presentations, the participants of the 30th IYF (read more about the Forum here) were rewarded with a whole day tour around Seoul. We had the amazing opportunity to explore some of the most remarkable tourist attractions, as well as to have fun with the various activities that the staff had prepared for us, and take pictures – lots of pictures! – here are the best of them! 

The National Museum of Korea

Our long-anticipated cultural tour of Seoul began with the National Museum of Korea. This is one of the largest museums of the country and it is a must for everyone, who is interested in history and Eastern culture. Its collection offers an exciting journey around the Korean lands from the Paleolithic Age through Modern times, while a whole exhibition hall is dedicated to the Asian Arts Gallery, representing the magnificent cultural traces and mixture along the Silk Road. 

The National Museum of Korea
Ten-story Stone Pagoda from Gyeongcheonsa Temple

The Museum is considerably interactive, offering truly useful information texts, which manage to engage the visitor’s attention and introduce them to the context of the exhibits. One of the most remarkable sights were the groups of small children, simply sitting on the floor in circles, gathered around their teacher and listening to the enchanting history of their country.

In order to make our experience even more interactive, we participated in a treasure hunt game, following our map and clues around the three floors of the Museum, yet often getting off our route, immersing ourselves into the beautiful universe of Buddhist art or Korean royal attributes.

Maitreya Bodhisattva from Gamsansa Temple, Unified Silla Kingdom (719)
Gold Crown with Dangling Pendants, Silla (late 5th century)

 Traditional Cuisine  

We had our lunch in the authentic atmosphere of a traditional Korean restaurant. We tried bulgogi (thin, marinated slices of beef grilled on a barbecue), japchae (stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables), kimchi buchimgae (a pancake with kimchi), different types of fish and a lot of side dishes. 

Changdeok Palace

Following the delicious meal we headed to Changdeok Palace – one of the five palaces, built by the kings of the Joseon Dynasty. This one is also known as the East Palace and it was one of the most preferred places by the royal family. It is famous for its traditional architecture, harmonizing with the natural environment. We immediately felt like characters of a period K-drama.

The Korean weather showed its temper, putting on display all its good and bad moods. However, our visit was as delightful as expected. And we had fun with the challenge “Find the spot and match the pose”. Here are the hilarious results! 

As we had some free time to walk around the beautiful gardens, we engaged in one of our most favourite activities – learning interesting details about other participants’ cultures and national customs, among which studying new languages was the most entertaining part.

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The N Seoul Tower

Our cultural trip finished at the N Seoul Tower, where the 236 m journey upwards took us straight to the stars. Despite the foggy weather we enjoyed a breathtaking view of Seoul. A tip for everyone, planning to visit the N Seoul Tower – you should stop by the restrooms! Let’s leave their charm a surprise and just say it is well worth it! 

Thanks to the hard work of the organizers and the staff, the 30th IYF turned out to be a wonderful and valuable experience, where young people from all around the world received the unique opportunity to exchange ideas on an important subject, to expand their knowledge and views about the world we live in and its magnificent cultural diversity, as well as to become more familiar with the Korean culture, and the biggest treasure of all – to make friendships for life.

You can take a glance at the work atmosphere of our team through our group video, edited by the most talented Martin Arada from the Philippines. 

We, the Bulgarian participants, are also especially grateful to the staff of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Bulgaria for making this amazing experience possible for us! 

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