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    Currently, one of the big South Korean news is that, last Friday, the government allowed the Women’s Peace March across the DMZ.

    Let me explain more in details: on Friday 15th of May 2015, South Korea gave the go-ahead at WomenCrossDMZ organisation to cross the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in order to reach North Korea’s capital Pyongyang. WomenCrossDMZ received the North Korean's permission last month and were waiting until this Friday for South Korean's one. The South Korean Unification Ministry indeed decided to give them the permission, allowing the women to cross the border between the two Koreans on Sunday 24 of May, which is the International Women’s day for Disarmament.

     


    WomenCrossDMZ video presentation

     

     

    Who composed WomenCrossDMZ?
    WomenCrossDMZ is composed by a group of 30 women, essentially by women’s rights activists or feminists. Among the participants, we can mention the two Nobel Peace laureates Mairead Maguire and Leymah Gbowee.

    Steps toward Korean reunification ?   Steps toward Korean reunification ?

    Members of WomenCrossDMZ

     

    What are the main aims of the walk?
    The main aim of their act is a call for peace between the two Koreas and their reunification. Because, technically, North and South Korea are still in war: in fact, after 1953, Korean War end, but there was no peace treaty signed.
    Their walk also marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean peninsula division into South and North Korea. This anniversary makes their act stronger because it marks a new year of division.
    Once arrived in Pyongyang and after their return in Seoul, women plan to hold a Peace symposium in order that they can share their experiences and mobilize Koreans for peace. They will create some speaking time between organisation’s members and North and South Koreans citizens in order to learn about their issues.

    Steps toward Korean reunification ?  
    Tweet from WomenCrossDMZ about their motivations




    But, because border crossing are uncommon and rare (the last date of 2013 where 5 New Zealanders were allowed to cross it on motorbikes) and also because the DMZ is the most militarised and controlled border in entire world, South Korea fixed some rules. The Unification Ministry said for example, that it will not allow women to pass through Panmunjon and ask WomenCrossDMZ to pass by Gyeongui Road, which is an inter-Korean passage recognized by the two countries. The problem with the Panmunjon’s way is that it is more complicated and requires numerous permission, in particular one from United Nations Command. But, WomenCrossDMZ members do not agree with this decision and insist for passing through Panmunjom, which symbolize for them an important symbol of the Korean’s division. This none agreement between South Korea and WomenCrossDMZ is still break off, but Women seem really determined to cross the city.

    Steps toward Korean reunification ?

     

     

    Sources :KoreanHerald, KoreanJoongangDaily, CBSnew and WomenCrossDMZ.org


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  • Kakaotalk the Korean Phenomena

    Wait, you don’t have a Kakao ID, and worth, you don’t even know what is it?
    It’s probably because you never been to Korea because you really can’t miss it ...
    In order to solve this, I will explain you about that crazy Korean phenomena which is KakaoTalk.

     

    What is your Kakao ID?



    First, KakaoTalk is a free Korean application for smartphone, created on March 2010 allowing you to send free text and make free call all around the world.
    Currently, Kakaotalk has more than 140 million users in the world (the application is available in 15 languages), and especially in South Korea where it used by 93% of smartphone owners.  So it’s totally huge and successful because more than the half of population use it : in Korea there are more than 53 million mobile phone users and 60% of Koreans have a smartphone. But KakaoTalk isn’t only a call and text app (app = application), you also can share photos, videos, voice messages, link, transform your voice thanks to voice filter, and play games with your contacts.

     

    What is your Kakao ID?




    Why KakaoTalk is so famous in Korea ?

     First, in my opinion (it’s just for me), KakaoTalk fame is due to its emoticons. Let me explain, KakaoTalk is a cute app, with cute backgrounds, but most of all, there are cute emoticons called “KakaoFriends”. These emoticons are : Apeach the peach, Black the afro bear, Neo the cat, Muwi the rabbit, Con the crocodile (yes, the name of this one is quite funny for French people), Frodo the dog and Tube the duck. These seven little characters greatly participate to the fame of the app. You can find them everywhere: in advertisement, in school etc… (find a more detailed description below).

     

    What is your Kakao ID?      What is your Kakao ID?


    What is your Kakao ID?


     
    Then, I asked my mentor why he (and Korean in general) uses this instead of normal text message on his smartphone and he simply answer me that he don’t know. He just prefer KakaoTalk rather his smartphone text message “app”. He just tell me that KakaoTalk is intuitive and easy to use, so they like it. Actually, no Koreans really know why their use Kakao instead text message. Koreans like the fact that you can have group chat, or even share easily photos and videos but they can often also do this with their smartphone. So I thought that it was because in Korean people didn’t have unlimited text message (like often in France) or call with their phone rental, but my mentor told me that EVERYBODY here have unlimited text and call, so I don’t have a more precise idea of why … This will stay a mystery …




    How does KakaoTalk work ? 

    KakaoTalk automatically synchronizes your contact list and you can search friends with their ID (Identity name on KakaoTalk). On KakaoTalk, you can have an unlimited number of contact and create or join group chat (also with a unlimited number of members).
    Once your contact added, you can use it, it’s very simple and intuitive. You have different pages : contact (you can see your friend pictures, videos, text or call him), chat, profile and Kakao online shop where you can buy new emoticons, themes, games... And after, the app works exactly like other texting and calling app or even like your text and call on your phone. KakaoTalk works on Wifi or 3G, 4G … Indeed you automatically need an internet connection.
               
    Moreover on KakaoTalk you don’t have to worry about your private life. The private life security is one of the main argument of Kakao : a special function is dedicated to this, its name is “Secret Chat” and allow the protection of all your personal data and shares.  After your first registration on your smartphone you also can download and install KakaoTalk on your computer and use it in your PC in the same way as in your smartphone.
               
    KakaoTalk recently extend on new markets, so now there are KakaoTalk branch specialized in music, clothe style, news, maps and so on. (Kakao Zap, Kakao Music, Kakao Location, Kakao Style…)

    What is your Kakao ID?




    Kakao Company: a successful Korean company.

    Kakao Company main goal was first to propose a free and high quality messaging service in order to build and loyal and great user base. Thank to that it will be easier after some time to introduce monetizable services, because of the existing loyalty. In 2012 KakaoTalk introduce its own virtual currency: the “Chocos”. With these, user can buy themes, emoticons, games, songs… It worked because in in 2013 Kakao Corporation generated more than 200 million of dollars income with the app, games and with its marketing channel for celebrities and brands.  More than 5 billion messages are sent by KakaoTalk users every day which is quite huge and prove of KakaoTalk importance and efficiency.

     

    KakaoTalk by-product market

    Like I tell you before KakaoTalk is really famous and present here in Korea, there is no day where you won’t hear a little “Kakao” (sound when you received a message) or see a KakaoFriend.  If you see KakaoTalk everywhere in Korea, it’s also thanks to the numerous and various by-products that you can find easily in cities. 

    First you have all the posters and advertisement with KakaoFriends on it. You can find these last in School, Universities (there are many many in Hanyang University), shops, restaurants, stick on cars and almost in all public places. So, no day past without you see one KakaoFriend. 

    What is your Kakao ID?   What is your Kakao ID?
                         KakaoTalk Friends in a advertising for a Bank.                                    KakaoTalk sign in Hanyang University toilets



    Then you can find KakaoFriends in Supermarket or in shops, because there are lots of products which using their image, names or faces. You can find a special KakaoTalk cakes or candies and so on. Some brands or company also make partnership with Kakao Company in order to use the image or make KakaoTalk events. Let me explain, for example I went to Dunkin Donuts, which is a coffee shop where you can drink cold or hot beverage and eat donuts or cakes. There I order a Hot Chocolate, and they served me it in a KakaoFriend Frodo cup. It was so funny and cute !

    What is your Kakao ID?  What is your Kakao ID?   What is your Kakao ID?



    Moreover, you can find special KakaoTalk restaurants and café. For example Café Talk is a café with KakaoTalk theme. There everything is brown and yellow, you can order coffee with KakaoFriends images and even buy some by-products.

     

    What is your Kakao ID?


    Finally, the most important, there is a KakaoFriends Shop. There you can buy almost whatever you want bearing the effigy of KakaoFriends. Pens, cuddly toys, posters, stickers, smartphone case and so on. I went to this shop, and it was impressive ! Great choice of items and lots of people coming for many part in Korea come especially for buy so items.

    What is your Kakao ID?   What is your Kakao ID?   What is your Kakao ID?

    What is your Kakao ID?   What is your Kakao ID?   What is your Kakao ID?

     

    It’s funny because it even possible to find “fake” KakaoFriends products.

     

     

     

    I am sorry for the soooooooo long Free Subject post, but KakaoTalk is a huge subject. 


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  •  

    South Korean Government

     

    The Government of Republic of Korea was founded in May 1948, when the two Korea decided to establish their own government, it’s there followed by the hold of the first democratic election in South Korea. This last allow to elect the 198 members of the National Assembly. Then in July 48, the first President of South Korea was elected (Rhee Syngman) and proclaimed, in August the Republic of Korea as a Democracy. South Korea adopted then, a Presidential system where the President is elected directly by the people and for five years, non-renewable.


          

    South Korean Government
    South Korean National Assembly

     

          The Government’s structure is defined by the Constitution of the Republic of Korea, which was created in 1948. The Korean Government is divided into a judicial, an executive and a legislative branches. The Executive power is exercised by the Government, the Legislative one is exercised by the Government too, and also by the National Assembly. The Judicial power is totally independent of the two others and concerned the Constitutional Court.

                In the South Korea’s Government there are 17 ministries such as Ministry of Education, of Justice, of Foreign Affairs, of National Defense, of Culture, of Gender Equality and Family and lot more…

     


                The current President of South Korea is Park Geun-Hye, who was elected in December 2012 (even if she started in February 2013). She is the 11th President of South Korean and especially the first women to be elected as a President in South Korean (and even in all the North-eastern Asia during the modern history). She belong to the Saenuri Party (NFP : New Frontier Party in English) which is a conservative party with a center-right to right-wing position.

                South Korea is a multi-party system, in which two parties are dominants: the NFP (see above) and the NPAD (New Politics Alliance for Democracy), which is a liberal party with a center to center-left position. 

     South Korean Government

     

    Pictures sources : Korea.net, Wikipedia 


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  • I was 20 year on January 23rd of this year, but one month later when I arrived in Seoul I was already 21 year old! I didn’t even have the time to realize that I am 20, that I gained in some travel’s hours 1 year more !

    Why did I gain one year more when I came to Korea?
    Why in Korea everyone is at least one year older than they actually are?
    The first reason it’s because in Korea, when a child born he already is 1 year old. Koreans count the pregnancy time of the mother as the first year of the child’s life. The child exists from the moment where he was conceived.

    Moreover, when the New Year passed in Korea, everybody is one year older: the birthday month don’t really matter. So according to your year and month of birth you can even be two
    years more!
    For example, a child born the December 29th will be one year old, but few day later, after the January  1st he will be two years old, and the next December 29th  he won’t be one year more.

    This custom allows me to understand why some Koreans that I met even before my stay in
    Korea always seemed younger that they said. It’s so hard to guess well the age of a Korean !

     

    Already 21 !
    France VS Korea on Vimeo 



    You are curious about your Korean age? You can calculate it like this :
    (This year – Your birth year) + 1 = Your Korean age




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  • Hanyang University is Korean university located in the city center of Seoul.
    It was founded in 1939 and the actual President is Lim Duck-ho.

    Hanyang University
    Hanyang's location in Seoul

    Hanyang University



    In Hanyang University there are more than 35 000 students in different studies’ divisions: Engineering, Social Sciences, Humanities, Music, Law, Sports, Arts, Biology, Medicine, Business…


    On the campus we can find various building, each with different function. There are an international hospital, restaurants, an Institute of Technology, a Business School, stores (clothes, food, books…), a post office, gymnasiums, and even a subway station (Hanyang owe its owns subway station). So, Hanyang University’s campus is composed by more than 60 buildings, of any size and any shape.
    The University possesses another campus, far from the city center named ERICA. This one is more specialized in engineering and sciences.  

     


    Hanyang University Hanyang University Hanyang University

    Administration buildings in Hanyang University's enter and the Hanyang University Subway Station (below the sign in the exit of Hanyang's Subway)

    Hanyang University

     

    Hanyang University

    Hanyang Campus map

     

    On Friday 27th of February, all incoming students were invited to the OT (Orientation).  Orientation’s aim was to explain us the progress of the semester and all administrative things that we have to archive. It was in a same time very interesting and quiet stressful because we have lots of things to accomplish. We also had the presentation of Hanyang’s associations, received a Seoul city guide and an explanatory book about life in Korea.

    After the OT I met my Korean Mentor ! His name is Gun Hyung
    , he's 26 years old and his major is Industrial Engineering. He is very kind, very helpful : he helped me with some boring administration stuffs and introduced me Korean meal (I apologize, I don't remember names at all, too hard) !
    The mentoring program is lead by a Hanyang Association named H.I.V.A. It organized, last Thursday in the evening a welcoming event betwenn Mentor and Menty, it was fun, I met a lot of Korean and Foreign people !!

     

     

     

    Hanyang University

     

    Hanyang University

    My main building : Hanyang School of Business

     

    I take four courses: International Business, Marketing Management, English Communication and Survival Korean.
    - International Business and Marketing Management are theory classes, we are more than 50 students and courses take place in smalls amphitheaters. In both case, there are almost 60% of Koreans students and 40% of foreign students (mostly French ones).
    - This is "worth" in English Communication class because I was at the beginning the only foreign student for almost 25 Koreans students (but after 3 courses two other foreign students joined). This course is in small group in order that we can improve best our English level.
    - On the other hand, Survival Korean course is only composed by foreign students.


     


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