Day 1 Reflections - Raviraj

Posted by Raviraj Talgeri at 10:26 pm

3 words to describe todays experience:
One word to describe todays experience would be "compelling". What I mean by compelling would be very interesting and unique; one example of a compelling experience would be that of the steelworks in the POSCO factory – when we entered the facility where the steel was being made and refined, seeing the process taught me about the various steps required in the manufacture of steel. Through this, I mainly learnt how this South Korean enterprise is highly systematic; it has a proper production line shaped in the form of "U" to decrease the time and space taken to transport the steel. I think this was very interesting, and somewhat even helps my project in the field of "efficiency"

Another word would be "cooling", in the sense that the surroundings was cold and calming. Simply spending the time outside made me feel peaceful, and the wind chill made it better. I feel this way as I have never been in a region of winter climate, hence a sense of euphoria came over me every time I passed the temperate forests during a cool breeze. I think this "cooling" experience made this trip all the more better, as it was the environment itself that helped me be moralised.

The third word is "detailed". I say this because every place we went to had a reason and a meaning, with everything systematically planned out in proper duration. This made me realise the importance of punctuality. Also today was "detailed" in the sense that there was a lot of information that was provided, such as at the POSCO museum, which we needed to take note of very quickly while making sure that it applies to our main project.

3 highlights of the day:
One highlight would be the 15 minutes we got outside the POSCO museum. Although this may seem like a short and insignificant amount of time, I felt this time allowed me to accustom with the environment around us; the deciduous trees with red and orange leaves, and the artefacts of the POSCO museum. What made the experience more elevated was the wind that ensued, that gave a wind chill effect and make the surroundings more cooler. This special time not only gave me the crucial moments to think about the project, but also calm down my senses, as I was feeling homesick. Hence these special 15 minutes were definitely one of the highlights of the day.

Another highlight would be the various Korean food we got to eat. Firstly at the first restaurant during lunch, I got to taste the traditional chicken and rice cake food, with a mix of mozzarella cheese. This was very appetising, and made me realise the rich traditional food that the South Koreans have. Another was the restaurant at Jagalchi Market. Here, we got to eat the a rich diversity of South Korean cuisine, from the sea food, such as tuna and clams, to a special cold sweet egg salad. Similar to lunch, I realised how diverse the traditional South Korean food is.

The third highlight was the at the steel slab-making plant of the POSCO industry. My peers and I saw how the colossal slabs of steel were rolled across giant rollers to be flattened and refined. The signboards even gave us many details of the process, the temperature of the steel at different parts and how the water was being blown onto the steel to cool it down to regulate its temperature as it was being flattened. This process was very interesting, and definitely required many architectural innovations, including the water jet blowing system and the rollers on which the steel slabs were being moved around. This process taught me the complexity of steelworks, as well as the amount of "brains" required to develop such a plant.

3 things you've learn about Korea:
Firstly, I have learnt that Korea is a place of great food diversity, which is heavily expounded on in the above paragraphs. But specifically, there was a heavy emphasis on hot and spicy food, as both the lunch and dinner were quite spicy. I think the main reason for the "heaty" food is because of the cold weather here in South Korea, hence "heaty" food must be a staple.

Secondly, I have learnt about the polite and friendly nature of the South Koreans, such as our tour guide who had a jovial disposition, constantly humouring us with his jokes and questions. I find this to be a great aspect of the South Korean community, as this friendliness allows them to forge bonds with others quicker, not only on the personal level, like that between a tourist guide and student, but even on a national level.

Thirdly, I South Korea, specifically Busan, to have lesser traffic congestion than Singapore. This may slightly be due to the fact that Busan has a considerably lower population density due to smaller population and larger land area, but it may also be because the traffic in Busan, and generally South Korea, is better handled. Hence, I feel the the traffic congestion in Busan is lesser than that in Singapore

3 things you've learnt about yourself:
One thing I've learnt about myself is that I have to be more pro-active by both being more curious and taking consideration of the surroundings. In order to do both, I have to ask more questions about the surroundings and about the context, while being more attentive during the talks during the tours. In order to do so, I could take more photos of the surroundings, and be more awake, which is what going to happen from the next day on.

Secondly, I have learnt that to converse more with my teachers, peers, tour guide and potentially my buddy, I have to speak about topics relevant to the event and not stray off course from the main topic. This will help to improve my vocal skills.

Thirdly, I have learnt that in order for myself to succeed in the project, I have to work qualitatively instead of quantitatively. What that means is that instead of focussing on multiple research topics at one go, I should focus on a single one in which I can develop the topic better and research deeper. This would allow the project to have more depth, as well as improve my researching skills.

3 things you didn't do so well:
I feel that I did not ask enough questions, regarding my project and the industry itself, during the visit to the POSCO enterprise. This was partly due to the fact that I was slightly shy, but mostly because I did not think the questions were important, and hence I thought the questions were redundant, preventing me from asking them. I think I should remove this negative mindset during the rest of the industry and school visits, and be more curious of my surroundings.

Secondly, I think I was unproductive as I spent a lot of the time on the bus rides sleeping, which I could have spent doing or thinking about my project. Also I feel that I took an insufficient number of photos and notes, as I could have done more. This was mainly because I was not properly acclimatised to the weather, hence having a runny nose that hindered my progress and that I did not sleep properly on the plane ride; I hope to perform better on the following days now that the problems would have been mitigated.

Thirdly, I think one mistake the team collectively did was that we were not situationally aware. One example would be when I was speaking loudly or without concern of the surrounding people at certain areas when I should have been quieter, such as at the restaurant at the Jagalchi market. Also, the team made quite a mess initially, as all the plates utensils and unwanted food was strewn across the tables. Luckily, we got our act together and cleaned up most of the mess, but some still remained on the table, such as the oil that was spilled into the stove. Such mistakes would be prevented from now on.

3 things you look forward to tomorrow:
I look forward to meeting my South Korean buddy, as I want to learn more about him/her and how he/she goes about his/her daily routine. I thus look forward to learning about how his/her life is in Busan, and maybe even touch on the topic of his/her culture here in South Korea.

Secondly, I look forward to learning about the cultural heritage of Hanbok, which will allow me to learn the traditional dressing styles of South Koreans. I very much look forward to this as I want to learn how and why South Koreans dress in such costumes.

Thirdly, I also look forward to eating more South Korean food, as today's food was enjoyable. The diversity that exists would definitely have more types of food that I have not tasted or even heard of, which is what I hope to consume with an open-mind.

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