Disclaimer: I am unfortunately without any pictures to share today as WordPress is refusing to load on my Mac. Hopefully the problem will resolve itself, but as of now, I am having to use the mobile app, which is being extremely finicky about uploading a featured image.
Today we began by making our way to the United States Consulate in Busan. To be honest, I expected the visit to be absolutely horrendous; it’s just a government office, after all. We may as well just visit a DMZ and call it a cultural tour. Luckily, I was wrong, and the consulate was actually quite interesting. I got some interesting insight from the diplomat about Korean-Japanese relations, and more specifically, America’s place in those relations. We have heard all trip about how difficult it is for the countries to get along, and it makes sense given Japanese atrocities during their colonization of Korea from 1910 to 1945. We have simply never heard the United States’s position, which seems to be to attempt to be neutral. The diplomat constantly talked about both the Korean and Japanese perspectives, never giving one side too much credit, but never discrediting one side either. It was fascinating to watch him measure every word, making sure not to tip the scale either way.
Afterwards, we visited Pusan National University, and while there were some fascinating aspects, it felt like an advertisement for their summer programs more than anything else. The campus felt a lot like an American campus; nothing caught my eye as being particularly unique or different. The most beneficial part of touring the campus was talking to Korean students about our different cultures. I spoke during the whole tour with one of the students, whose name I won’t even attempt to spell here, about university sports. He was telling me about how much he enjoyed American football, and talking about winning money through his intramural club. He absolutely could not believe me when I told him how much money Nick Saban makes coaching the Crimson Tide, or that students could go to college for free by being exceptional athletes. It was a fun conversation.
It has just now begun to hit me that all of our official meetings and tours are finished, and that outside of our beach time tomorrow, I am done touring Korea. I have enjoyed my time here a lot, but it is time to come home. I miss the land of the free.