Yesterday I learned a strange Korean custom about the number 4!
Here, in Korean the number 4 brings bad luck and even more …
Yes, unfortunately if you are born on the 4th April, is quiet a bad start for you here in Korea !
But why is 4 a bad number? The reason is simple, in Korean the word 4 (사 :“sa” in Korean) have the same pronunciation than DEATH (also “sa”) and quiet the same writing!
In order to avoid number 4, Korean developed certain stratagems:
First avoid do important things on the 4th, 14th or 24th, this is the main precaution and the most simple.
Then, in Korean it’s possible that in some places like schools, library, shops, street, or even in privates homes that you won’t find a 4th, 14th, 24th (and so on) floor, room etc... Is these cases, two possibilities are possible the numbers with a 4 you will be replaced by 3A, 13A… or even more simple, it’s not replaced and you will simply don’t find anything, so you will passed to floor 3, to floor 5 directly ! This is the case in hospitals and similar public buildings where the floor number 4 is almost always skipped.
Finally, the elevator cases: in the first case where you don’t have a 4th floor, there will be no number (logical) as it is in the first picture. In the second case, you will find a “F” instead the 4 (for Four in English), as a substitution, you can see this on the second picture.
But I learn after some search on internet, that this superstition is not only in Korea, but also in China, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia
I just hope not be cursed because of this article …
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 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.
Pictures sources : Korea.net, Wikipedia
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 !
You are curious about your Korean age? You can calculate it like this :
(This year – Your birth year) + 1 = Your Korean age
At the first sight and after three week of classes, the functioning way of classes seems to by different here in Korea than ours in France.
First difference: the way of teaching of the professor. Professors are really interested and attentive about student’s needs (more than in France, sorry …). They seems to want to learn about each student and ask questions about them. For example, when she take the register, my English Communication teacher always ask at all students how are they, and what are the problems. She is very involved in the student’s mood. She even take appointments with some students in order to speak to them when they seem to have problems.
Second difference: the student’s behaviour. In Korea, studies are very important and parents invests a lot in their children’s education. Because of that, Korean students work really hard and are very attentive. They ask many question, are very concentrate, note-taker and participate a lot (even more when the participation is grading). They are essentially quiet and listen carefully the teacher without chatting with their neighbourhoods. Classroom are so quiet and concentrate, it’s so strange!
Third difference: grading. At Hanyang University grading system is different from ESDES’s one. Here, grades go of A to F, and for succeed we need to have C (approximately 70%). In the grade all count: attendance, oral participation, mid-term, final exam, homework...
Fourth difference: the importance of sports. Here at Hanyang most of students practicing a sport whether it’s Baseball (very famous in Korea), Basketball, Soccer, Taekwondo, Dance, American Football and lot more ! We can see all day long, even late in the evening some people playing or practicing their sports in the big main field located in the Campus’ center or in the numerous small one that we can find everywhere.
Fifth difference, connected to the fourth: the importance of school’s activities. We can observe that thanks to the various and great number of Hanyang’s associations. There are more than 50 and are of all kind. Last week there was the “Association Recruiting” (which is similar to our Association Forum) and I had observed lots of interesting and funny associations regarding: painting, music, break dance, sciences, fashion, sports of course, rally cars constructors, board games and even FIRE-EATER!
Hanyang Association Recruiting, view by SBS TV journal
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.
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.
Administration buildings in Hanyang University's enter and the Hanyang University Subway Station (below the sign in the exit of Hanyang's Subway)
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 !!
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.