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SPOCK7: the journey so far

As you might know, the study tour has already been travelling since the 29th of September and we have experienced quite a lot already. We’ll give a small summary here, but if you want to know more you can visit our website (https://spock.scintilla.utwente.nl) or polarsteps (https://polarsteps.com/spockscintilla) for more extensive day-reports.

The first two days were mainly travelling, starting with an uneventful train trip. When going through security we encountered some issues though, since our travel guides apparently absorb quite some x-ray, so half of SPOCK got picked out. Once in the plane we enjoyed a quite Korean flight instruction video with members of BTS and some Bibimbap, after which we tried to sleep on the night flight. The next day we landed on Incheon International Airport after which we took a quick train ride to Seoul Station. The evening was quite uneventful, since we went to bed early to avoid jetlag troubles.

The third day started early with a trip to the demilitarised zone: the border between North and South Korea. We started at the Third Tunnel, which is one of the tunnels dug by North Korea to invade South Korea. Next we stopped at the Dora Observatory, from where we could look past the border. The last stop was the Unification Village, where we enjoyed some great soy bean ice cream.

The day after we also had to get up early to leave for Seoraksan, which was quite a busride away. We had some minor traffic jams and a short stop halfway, but eventually ended up in the beautiful park. Here we had a few options for hikes, which meant we split up. Most went to walk along the river or go to see the waterfall nearby, but a few chose to make the climb to the ridge which had a view of the ocean. It was a bit long though, so we almost didn’t make it to back to the bus in time. Next we went to a Naksansa Temple, which hosted a huge statue and another great view of the ocean and the nearby Sokcho.

On the fifth day no official activites were planned, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t do anything. We decided to visit some om the many ancient royal palaces found around Seoul, starting with Gyeongbokgung. This is the old palace, but since it got burned down quite a lot not many building are left. The visit to Changdeokgung and Changgyeongung were more interesting, since they remained in a better state due to being burned down less often. We ended the day with some karaoke in a way small room with a lot of people, which was a lot of fun.

On the sixth day we had our first company visits! We first went to the Dutch Embassy, where an UT alumnus who worked there answered our questions about life and culture in South Korea. Soon after we went to the Hyundai Motorstudio, which was more of a guided tour meant for tourists (given in Korean, with assistance from some occasional Google Translate), displaying the newest vehicles and technology.

The day after we had a company visit at LG, they showed us robots, displays and smart systems, followed by a deluxe lunch in their VIP lounge. Afterward we went to Korea University where we learned more about their school of Electrical Engineering and followed a tour around their campus. We also had some delicious Indian food recommended by one of the professor’s.

On the eight day we visited ASM, where we got a tour of their cleanroom where they make ALD machines, we also received a nice goody bag! A few kilometers further we entered the office building of ASML, where we got some talks about the difference in work environment, their measurement devices and how they support their clients by measuring and solving errors. When we got back we had to change quickly, since we only had a small amount of time before the pubcrawl started. Here we went by 4 different bars in Seoul and some people stayed for quite some time.

Our last full day in Seoul was another free day, which was great since a lot people were a bit hungover for some reason. The more resilient of the bunch got up quite early though, to hike up the central hill of Seoul to go to the N Tower, where they had a great view of the city. The Namdaemun market was also visited, where we enjoyed some great streetfood. We ended the day with the International Firework Festival, which was quite a spectacle.

Last sunday we left Seoul behind for Daegu using the high-speed train, of the same type as the one between Amsterdam and Paris. We got there quite in time so our rooms were not even ready yet, although we could drop our bags. Next we decided to tried some of the local food, so we explored Daegu for a bit. In the evening we went to the Seomun Night Market, were we where all pleasantly surprised with the great vibes and more delicious streetfood.

At the moment of writing we are already leaving Daegu again to go on our next adventure. We’ll stay in a temple, visit Busan and even fly to Jeju Island only within the coming week, so be sure to follow us via your preferred socials.