From the moment you start heading out of Incheon Airport you will notice the beautiful and natural landscape that is South Korea.
First off, if you walk around the capital, you will notice that Seoul’s urban landscape was built according to the existing land. Streets and buildings were developed on or around mountains and, as a result, some streets feel narrow, steep, long, or hilly. Even the university I am staying at (Dongguk) was built on a mountain! Everyday I climb up and down this long hill (which has been a struggle since we are currently experiencing one of South Korea’s worst heat waves). Throughout Seoul you will find that there are many trees and some nice resting areas. It is a great combination of a developed metropolis and wild beauty.[wpvideo ydvsPwz8]
If you head to other cities where there are less tall buildings, you will get to experience even more of South Korea’s natural beauty. In the city of Gongju, mountains and hills are everywhere. During my two day stay there, I noticed local and older residents who seemed to be fine walking, hiking, and working, up and down these steep streets.[wpvideo 2Vqa4Ipe]
The beautiful nature found throughout South Korea is perhaps one of the main reasons Koreans take street cleanliness and recycling very seriously. It was one of the main aspects of this country that stuck out to me the most. Most stores charge you money if you want a plastic bag, there are barely any public trash cans. Although, if you manage to find any, they have labels on them for the proper type of waste. As a result, I have become very conscious about what I buy. I always think, “does my purse have enough space for this?”, “is there somewhere I can throw this out?” Which leads me to buying less or nothing at all!
I would love it if New Yorkers could adapt these recycling habits. However, that still seems highly unlikely. For now, I’ll just enjoy Korea’s streets and beautiful nature.