International Experiences in Seoul
Spanish Lessons, German Cooking, and International friendships in Seoul, South Korea
Moving to Seoul, South Korea I expected to be immersed in a new culture full of great new Korean people, language, food and experiences. What I didn’t know was that I would find such a vibrant international culture.
Seoul has the world’s second largest metropolitan area with over 25.6 million people living here. The city has a long history dating back to 18 BC. It is the capital of a country that ranks sixth in the world’s Global power index. It’s home to Samsung, the worlds largest technological company, and many other rising businesses.
With its meteoric economic and technological growth, foreigners from all around the world have flocked to Seoul to work and live. For this reason, businesses have sprung up throughout the city catering to internationals’ desires for food, language schools, art and more.
No matter what your international interest may be, chances are you can find it here in Seoul. Are you interested in Salsa classes? Somos Bar offers free Saturday night classes. Want to learn origami? Check out Seocho gu Seoul for one of their many scheduled classes. Craving a specific foreign meal? Check out one of the many foreign restaurants in Itaewon or Hongdae.
I am constantly meeting friendly foreigners and locals alike. When I walk out onto my roof deck in Itaewon, it is common for me to hear a variety of languages being spoken, from my German neighbors to those visiting the Kenya Embassy up the street.
Last weekend I had a fun international experience. I found my way to Somos Bar in Shinchon. Each Saturday, introductory Spanish classes are offered free of charge. I haven’t spoken Spanish in quite some time so I joined the 1:00 p.m. class hoping for a refresher. The teacher was from Spain and led a great session! Students in my class were from America, Japan and Korea. It was taught in both Spanish and English. Although it was an international crowd, we all found common ground in our embryonic Spanish skills. We enjoyed meeting each other using our introductory Spanish spoken in multiple accents.
After the class, we stayed in Somos to enjoy some Latin American food and drink as we practiced our Spanish skills. Somos also offers free Salsa classes at 8:00 p.m. every Saturday as well as intermediate and advanced lessons. Spanish movies are regularly shown too.
After having a wonderful Spanish lesson on Saturday, I signed up for a German cooking class with Seoul International Women’s Association. It was quite a different cooking experience from the recent Korean cooking lessons that Thaddeus and I enjoyed.
The two of us had spent three years living in Bavaria, Germany. The two women leading the classes were from nearby Munich. Their husbands are both currently working at the German Embassy.
They hosted us in their home and led a small class of 10 women in traditional German recipes. We cooked cabbage soup, pretzel dumplings, a roast and berry pudding. After being instructed on how to cook these dishes, we all shared the meal.
The women in the class were from all around the world including Australia, Singapore, America, Germany, Spain and Korea. It was fun to compare German ways of cooking to our international cooking experiences, and to come together to share this delicious meal!
We all had a wonderful time on this sunny afternoon. It is great to live in a city that provides such a variety of educational opportunities, and so many ways to meet people! I am excited about the many new Korean friends, in addition to the surprising variety of international friends, I have already made here in Seoul!
If you are interested in visiting SOMOS follow this link to view a map of their location: http://somos.co.kr/index.php/ko/about-us-2
German Pretzel Dumplings
250 gr day old soft pretzels
1/4 L Milk
Grated Nutmeg to taste
1 tsp parsley, chopped
1/2 onion chopped and sautéed in butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Remove pretzel Salt from pretzels
Cut pretzel in small slices
Wisk eggs and milk together
Add Nutmeg, salt and pepper
Mix ingredients and allow to soak for 20 minutes
Lay out a sheet of aluminum foil and plastic wrap above this
Place a large sausage of dumpling mixture on top
wrap in plastic wrap and then foil tightly maintaining the rounded sausage like shape
Put pretzel dumpling foil package in boiling water for 20 minutes
Remove from water and unwrap
Cut dumpling in thick slices and serve