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Autumn in Korea : Gimje Horizon Festival X Nammi Island X Seoul suburb

01 Dec, 2014 News Center 1,717

Gimje Horizon Festival

Situated in the heart of the Honam Plain, near the west coast of Korea, in North Jeolla Province, Gimje is not only one of Korea’s most important agricultural regions but also one of the few places so flat that you can see the actual horizon from a landlocked area. Hence the “festival of the horizon”, was put together to celebrate the birthplace of Korean rice cultivation. 

The Gimje horizon festival is mainly held in October since it is the harvesting season in Korea. Most of the activities are related to harvesting rice with the intention to inform foreigners on Korean traditional rice culture.This year’s festival was held from the 4th to 5th October and the KDIS students had the opportunity to be part of the wonderful experience.

At Jipyeongseon, the venue of the Gimje Festival, two huge dragon structures were carved out of huge bamboos at the entrance gate. It was a signal of an amazing weekend ahead. The kite flying contest with over 1000 participants was the ice breaker. Participants were then treated to heart-warming melodies performed by the Jipyeongseon jazz and song ensemble while playing some traditional Korean games.

Day two began with the global food cooking competition. KDI School was fully represented with four teams, comprising of three students. Each team had to prepare rice burger and rice cake. After minutes of cooking, the judges tasted and declared the winners. Three out of the four KDIS teams made it to the final round of the competition and won prizes.

Other interesting activities during the festival were the Traditional Wedding, Samullori (traditional percussion quartet), fireworks, rope polling contest and many others.

Autumn Adventure: Nami Island

Autumn might be the first time for a lot of the international students, and it would be a great chance for them to better appreciate Korea’s famous attractions. Indeed, just a quick train and bus ride away from the KDI School will take you to a beautiful place for everyone to fully imbibe the beauty of the season and to leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind.

Located in Chuncheon Gyeonggi-do, Nami Island is a short train ride from Seoul. In 2006, the small island declared its “cultural independence” and styled itself as the micro nation Naminara Republic, complete with its own flag, insignia, passports, stamps, coins and telephone cards. After going through the immigration center to pay for your visa, visitors embark on a five-minute ferry ride to the island. It is also peppered with art installations, book corners, and galleries. It also hosts cultural activities, inviting well known artists to feature their work in the island. 

Autumn in the City: Enjoying the Season’s Bright Colors in Seoul

Like in spring where the flowers are in full bloom only for a limited time, the foliage of Korea’s autumn can only be seen for a limited time. For some, they spend their autumn travelling outside of Seoul enjoying the different sceneries that the country has to offer. To some students, however, due to time and other constraints, opt not to go out of Seoul. What places do the KDI School students recommend to visit during autumn?

David Akhvlediani (2014 MPP, Georgia) recommends visiting Korean traditional palaces in autumn. He explains that while every season has something new to offer, the autumn foliage inside the ancient royal palaces of Seoul is a must-see. “Traditional Korean palaces in Seoul are complemented by the colorful leaves of autumn, uplifting the beauty and grandeur of the palaces. It’s simply one of the places that anyone in Seoul shouldn’t miss.” In addition, he recommends visiting the palaces in the evening as the palaces are now opened for extended hours.  “The palaces look different in the evening. With the cool breeze of autumn and proper illumination, the scenery of autumn during the nighttime is extremely fascinating and new to the senses.” 

Nino Phengdy (2014 MDP, Laos PDR) explains his experience at Jara Island. A nearby destination from Seoul, he says that the scenery of the island is a perfect getaway. “I went to Jara Island in the early part of the season during the annual jazz festival. The weather was simply great, perfect for a small picnic that we had there. The guerilla concerts and jazz music was a great plus when we went there.” Including the annual Jarasum Jazz Festival, the island holds various events throughout the year as well.

By Marjorie San Pedro(2014 MDP, Philippines), Rigoberto Banta Jr.(2014 MPP. Philippines) & Brian Dzansi(2014 MDP, Ghana)