Field trip day!!

Last week I was invited to join the 6th graders on an all day field trip to Andong (about an hour and a half north of Daegu).  We loaded up on the bus at 8:30am and off we went.

The students were surprised/happy/couldn’t care less that I was coming along.  But it was fun for me to see them out of their normal classroom element and try to have somewhat of a conversation small fragmented talk with some of them.

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1st stop:  Rest stop.  The rest stops in Korea are massive – and always filled with lots of other tour buses and people.  As soon as the buses parked, WHOOSH! – the kids were racing to the convenient store to fill up on ice cream, candy, and Korean snacks. 

2nd stop: In the city of Andong – to a Korean paper factory.  There is a special type of Korean paper called hanji.  It’s very versatile.  Not only is there beautiful hanji paper, but also hanji lamps, hanji fans, even hanji clothes! 

The students quickly learned about the process of making hanji.  However, since everything was spoken in Korean – I basically observed – but got the gist of it.

hanji making

Making hanji paper:

  1. Collect the wood (bark, perhaps) from these special trees and soak them in really hot water.  It stunk in this room.
  2. Dry them out.  They sort of look like noodles.   Yum, noodles. 
  3. (I think I missed a step) – these men then took wooden frames and basically collected the small broken down pieces of this wood (like pulp) and pressed it into big sheets.
  4. The big sheets of almost paper
  5. Then these women would take each individual sheet and attach them to what was essentially one huge, hot iron.  This dried the paper super fast.

Students then got a chance to make their own hanji paper.  Basically a very scaled down version of step 3 only.  So, of course I got in on the action as well.

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Shake it back and forth and you’ve got some hanji my friend.  Perfect technique!

3rd stop: Hahoe Folk Village – it’s actually a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It’s a village that has preserved the architecture and original structures from back when it was constructed in the Joseon Dynasty.  Think old…very very old.

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Students from many schools around Korea were visiting the village this same day.  And it was an unusually HOT day.  All of the students were complaining (even in English) that they were hot/bored/hungry/tired. 

We walked around to many of the different buildings and learned a bit about the history of the rulers at the time and the way of life.  It was a little difficult for me to understand and keep all the names/dates straight.  Honestly, the students were SUPER bored and could care less about the history.

Finally (even for me, I was getting hot and hungry too) – it was time for lunch!  Each student brought their own lunch.  I was told I didn’t need to bring a lunch.  Apparently, for such a school outing like this, the students’ parents make food for the teachers to eat.  Nice! 

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Yummy lunch.  But limited variety.  Five different rice-foods, fruit, kimchi, and waffles?

The best part of this leg of the trip were the cherry blossoms!  You might recall that I recently went on an all-day trip to check out a cherry blossom festival…and there were no cherry blossoms.  But at Hahoe, check this out!

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Last stop: Back to Jincheon Elementary School.

The funniest moment of the trip:  The large buses we took were equipped with a flat screen TV and satellite cable.  The teacher on my bus decided to flip around and find something the kids would want to watch.  She accidentally flipped to the Korean “erotic” channel.  It was hilarious!  The kids were screaming and giggling.  Fortunately, it was pretty tame (a man and woman under the covers laying next to each other).  But, as she was trying to change the channel…she had to flip through about 10 more “erotic” channels before getting to something 6th grade appropriate.  

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2 Responses to “Field trip day!!”


  1. 1 Mom April 28, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Looks like you had a great field trip. The trees were beautiful, cool that you were finally able to see them in full bloom! Kids are the same all over the world, they get bored easily…the food beats a bologna sanwich any day!

  2. 2 katie p May 2, 2010 at 12:57 am

    omg those trees are so beautiful!!


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