The one thing I hadn’t counted on was how much I would miss Korean food. It’s been just shy of a week since my flight touched down in Sydney. I’ve gone through a standard re-entry regime of family dinners and souvenir exchange. Last Thursday I delivered my final report on the interning experience to the MeCo staff and fellowship-program founder Richard Broinowski. But time and time again my mind turns back to the giant bowl of bibimbap I ate for my final meal in Seoul. The winter chill here in Sydney would go especially well with some dolsot bibimbap, where the rice comes in a sizzling hot stone bowl, which fries the bottom layer into a crispy yellow crust. And my clogged nose could definitely benefit from a spicy gochujang jigae soup, or tteokbokki rice cakes purchased from the ever-present pojangmacha street food carts. Of course, an appreciation for the breadth and depth of Korean cuisine has been just one benefit of my month as a fellowship intern at The Korea Herald.

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Delicious dolsot bibimbap. Photo by Nick Gowland

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Arriving back in Sydney, I already miss the lovely Hus I stayed with, the jiaozi and the thrill of the Beijing lifestyle. In the month that I lived in Beijing, I gained insight into which stereotypes China fulfils and which ones it does not.

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The Great Wall of China. A true symbol of Chinese fortitude. Photo by Marina Yang

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After a big last week in which I had two packages go to air, explored Seoul almost every night, and slept for no longer than four hours at a time, I’ve come to the rather obvious conclusion that I need a rest. Seoul is a city where nothing ever seems to close, an urban playground where temptation is everywhere you look. This might lead to trouble somewhere else, yet Seoul will go down as one of the safest places I have ever been.

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Posing before an intensely fought game of beer pong. Photo by Svetlana Pasechnik

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The long anticipated rain I wrote about in my previous post ended up lasting only one night. In the morning I woke up to find the humidity had doubled, and barring the occasional spot downpour it’s remained that way for the entire week. In a way, it is almost appropriate: the sticky and muggy Seoul, where you’re only ever completely dry for the first five minutes after a shower, is the one I have come to know and value over the past month. I’ll be sad to leave this amazing country, but these four weeks have left me with a wealth of fantastic experiences and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity which the Australia–Korea Foundation has given me.

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A final sunny traffic jam near The Korea Herald’s offices in Gwanghwamun. Photo by Nick Gowland

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My weekend trip to Shanghai was a whirlwind, squeezing in a trip to a city over a thousand kilometres away.

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Headed for the biggest buildings in town. Photo by Jia Liang Yang

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Where I live in Sydney, the shops start closing from 5 pm, and a few hours later the only thing still open is a karaoke bar and Coles. But here in Beijing, the city never sleeps.

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At the starting end of the Wangfujing Night Markets. Photo by Wang Zheng

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Though This Morning is a news and current affairs show and will sometimes incorporate updates regarding unfolding events, each show is carefully planned out by the day before — at latest. Guests are booked, packages are locked in, and news segments are defined in length. After three weeks at tbs I had become used to the routine, but wondered what would happen in the event of a massive news story. Would the show’s structure be completely thrown out the window, or would regular updates simply be squeezed in wherever there was an opening?

On Friday I found out that the truth lies somewhere in between.

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An umbrella art installation in City Hall Station. Photo by Brendan Day

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About the Blog

Parallax records the experiences of final year students of the B.A. (Media & Communications) degree who have won competitive overseas internships to work in Asian, Indian and Latin American media organisations.
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