Trip to South Korea Shows DPHHS Scholar Ramatou Sanogo the Importance of Respecting Cultural Differences

My name is Ramatou Sanogo and in the Spring of 2018, I was able to live an unforgettable experience thanks to the opportunity that my school Democracy Prep Harlem High School provides. Along with a few of my classmates and my teachers, I went on a trip to South Korea. This was my first school trip, and it was the best trip I’ve ever had.

The highlight of my trip was the first day, when I went to Lotte World, an amusement park in Seoul, Korea. The teachers gave us a lot of freedom and independence at this amusement park. I was also able to get closer with many of my fellow peers. However, most importantly I took some risks and tried very scary rides with my friends which was a fun experience.

Another part of the trip that was really fun to me was the Amazing Race with the students of Ewha Womans University. I met Korean students and we shared our stories about our cultures. I was actually able to communicate in Korean even with the small phrases I know. I was really impressed by how well the Korean college students were able to speak English because American students are not able to speak Korean that well. I really enjoyed this day.

One thing that surprised me in Korea was how much English the majority of South Koreans knew. I anticipated that the language barrier would be hard, but in most places people were able to communicate fluently in English which made my stay in Korea much easier. I was also impressed and delighted by how welcoming and cordial Koreans were in general.

During my homestay, I felt very grateful because my host family treated me so well. Even though they had never met us before, they treated us like a part of their family and respected our cultural differences. My homestay brother was very considerate and caring towards my roomate Ziyadah and me. He was able to speak English very well and taught us many Korean expressions.

I learned that it is important to respect cultural differences. I was a bit culture shocked because Korea is different from America in many ways such as diversity, food, and language. However, I learned how to accept their culture because it is important to be open-minded.

Going on this trip was not only a fun experience but also pedagogical. I learned how to have a sense of responsibility and how to be open-minded to other cultures. Visiting Korea was enriching and fascinating because I study Korea and its culture. This trip is an unforgettable experience and I am thankful for such an amazing opportunity.

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