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How To: Make Friends in Korea

Have you seen my last article? You can check it out here. As always, a large portion of your questions can be answered by going to my list of resources page here, or the contact page here. There are article-specific resources at the bottom of the page.

I love and advocate for solo travel, especially by millennials when at all possible, though one does have to recognize the unique barriers to entry that millennials, however, the hardest part of traveling alone is building a support system and a life that has meaningful relationships in it. Once the excitement wears off, being in Korea can be really tough if you don't make friends. Luckily for you, through trial error, I've learned some (almost) foolproof ways to make new friends while you are in Korea. While a few of these tips are generalizable, some of them are Korea-specific. Just remember if you're feeling really lonely, reach out to someone! You'll be surprised how compassionate people are, especially in your time …

Busan Black Panther Tour Experience

Hey there, if you have any questions, check out the Ultimate List of Resources here, and contact page here.

If you didn't know until now, a large portion of the 2018 film Black Panther was filmed and based right here in Busan, South Korea. I applied to study abroad around September of 2017, and as the near year rolled around, I would see Black Panther seven times before I got here. I'd never heard of Busan until I applied to study abroad, and something about seeing the city where I was going to be living on one of, if not the most, popular movies of the season seemed divinely ordained. Once I got here, I realized that Busan is actually massive and encompasses a lot of districts, however, I knew after the first couple of weeks, that I happened to live just a few subway stops from the filming locations. My friend and I decided to do a full Black Panther tour in Busan, taking comparison screenshots from the movie and then scouting the locations and taking similar photos. It didn't exactly turn out the way we wanted, but it was still meaningful as black solo-travelers in Korea. Here's how we did it (and of course, the photos):

Access to the Movie and Screenshots

As of writing this, Black Panther is not available via Netflix in Korea, however, if you find the right VPN, you are able to access it if you are choosing to go the more legal route. More often than not, the VPNs that will actually work for Netflix (they're getting a lot better at detecting VPNs and proxies) will be expensive but will offer a free trial so you can access the movie. You might have to either google ones that will work for you or use trial and error and download a few. Nord VPN, linked below, worked for me. Please remember to cancel any trials you have subscribed to before you get charged, save a life. Taking screenshots in Netflix (web, desktop) kinda sucks because you'll likely have the navigation bar at the bottom, which you'll have to crop out. Selecting the locations is super easy. I will, of course, link all of the official locations with directions in the resources below, but essentially, you want to go from Jagalchi Fish Market (and surrounding areas) to Gwangalli Bridge, which is the entirety of the Busan scenes, from the entrance into the casino, which does not exist (or does it 👀) to the crash on the beach. Here are examples of the screenshots we took:


(above left) Gwangalli Bridge
Jagalchi Fish Market (above right and left)

 You can see what I mean about the annoying screenshot navigation bar thingy? The above photos are examples of the cropping I did to make the photos look decent for comparison and social media upload.



The Travel

Busan's subway system is fantastic and getting around was really not a problem. It was two locations, so sort of three trips just for photos, but it's the experience and the subway is relatively inexpensive (₩ 3,900 // $3.43 for all three trips). Since our subway stop was in the center of the two stops we needed, there wasn't really a better way to go. We went to Jagalchi Fish Market first and the Gwangalli, and minus the transfer from line 2 to line 1 to get there, it was smooth sailing. We were familiar with Gwangalli, so getting there and navigating our way to the beach was no problem. If you've never been to Gwangalli (line 2), there is signage to the beach everywhere after you exit the subway station. 





But... How Did the Photos Turn Out?

We had a rough time finding the same spot in the fish market that you can see in the above photo, which was so sad because some of the most stable screenshots came from this location. We did have luck everywhere else though, and although I am planning another Black Panther Busan Tour for the new study abroad students, I am okay with the photos I was able to get last semester:

 The Gwangalli Bridge photos would've been exponentially better if one of us had posed, but we were feeling awkward and didn't want to be touristy in our new city. It was definitely our biggest mistake and one I won't be making when I go again in search of the Black Panther film locations.
Gwangalli Bridge (above and below)
GS25 at Jagalchi Fish Market


Resources


Happy Travels
Myaia

Thumbnail Photo by Myke Simon on Unsplash

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