Text read by Cléa and Nathalie.

My name is Cléa and I am 15 years young. I was born in Haguenau. I live in Hunspach, a tiny typical village in the Alsace, France. It is in the top north-eastern corner of France, not far from the French-German border.

It has many half-timbered houses, painted in black & white. It is a protestant village which has kept many of its traditions.  There are folklore groups, brass bands. The families and the local bakery prepare “die Kuche”, a large, round brioche and only available in Hunspach. Several years ago, it was classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It was chosen as one of the “preferred villages in France” in 2020. It is a very quiet village with a small Christmas market, the local folklore festival in June and there are village dances in the summer, during July and August.

In a few months, I am going to move to Seoul for three years! It is incredible, amazing, it is such a dream!

My name is Nathalie, I am Cléa’s mother. “When I will arrive in Seoul my first expectation will be to understand all the Koreans rules. It will be so different than our tiny village, the culture, the food, the language… I think the administrative procedures are complicated and we will need help and interpreters.

I think after several years we will be ok with Korean daily life. I hope to be integrated in the Korean society and even to have Korean friends. And enjoy Korean cuisine!!

I look forward to discovering this country, with its mountains, beaches and traditional villages and many monuments.”  

What I know now about South Korea are K-Pop, the currency (millions of won), the current president, it is a democracy, universal suffrage, the language is similar to Japanese, the country is divided by the demilitarized zone on the 38th parallel. I know about Jeju island. South Korea is famous for fashion and that it is a tourist destination.

K-Pop is famous for its music videos. K-Pop’s singers are famous for their voice, their dance and the lyrics which touch the young people with their positive messages. The K-Pop’s singers have many positive messages in their lyrics, like “Love yourself” or something similar, to help young people against suicide. Personally, my favourite girl’s K-Pop band is Blackpink and my favourite boy’s band is BTS.

In South Korea, you can be a millionaire. The currency is the Won and the numbers are very high: 1 Euro is 1 388 KRW, so my parents will give me more than 13 000 KRW pocket money per month!!

The capital city in South Korea is Seoul. It is a giant city and is one of the most futuristic cities in the world. For example, robots welcome you and give information at the airport or in the supermarket or in the hospital. In this city we can see a mixture of Buddhist temples and modern buildings. There is a subway, buses, and many taxis. Just like in Hunspach!!! (NOT!!!).

Their political system is similar to ours; it is a democracy. The president name is Moon Jae-In, and he is elected by secret ballot. They are a republic, in opposition to North Korea, which is a dictatorship. The two countries are separated by the DMZ on the 38th parallel since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Seoul is near the DMZ, which is 38 miles, or about 56 km away. That is closer than Strasbourg is to Hunspach.

What do I expect?

I think it will be two different things. There will be a big change in our lives and a very interesting experience. The Korean language will be challenging to learn, but we will be rescued, using English. But can the Korean’s speak good English?

At the moment, we are researching everything on the Internet because what is normal in South Korea is certainly not normal in Hunspach. We are a little afraid of the skyscrapers, the amount of people, their reaction to us foreigners because we are Westerners.

South Korea is famous for its well-dressed people. There is the Seoul fashion week in March. In one of Seoul’s streets, there are many photographers. If you wear something fashionable, they will choose you and take a picture. If you type into Google ‘Seoul fashion Street’ you can see ordinary people wearing beautiful clothes.

I can’t wait to start this new adventure. I think the first months will be difficult, but after one year we will be integrated.

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