Day 13 – Study Trip South Korea

-Written by Marissa Vos & Aleksandra Zarzycka-

Unfortunately the study trip has come to an end. At 10am we have departed the hostel, accompanied by the owner and some of the employees. After the final photo has been taken, the 20h travel has begun . With a short stop in Frankfurt where Diyako and Gerton were checked for explosives and measuring equipment has been submitted to numerous tests, we have arrived to Amsterdam. Low on energy, full of a positive, after-trip vibe :)
Throughout the trip more than 170km have been walked, 160 bottle of Soju have been drinked and too many group pictures have been taken.


Day 12 – Study Trip South Korea

-Written by Nick TenBült & Marjolijn Benen-

With one day to go, everyone except for Keven got up at 04.00am, after spending the night at the Myogaksa temple. At 04.50am, while wearing our uniforms again, we all gathered to ring the big bell. A couple of people could already feel the 108 prostrations from the previous day when they walked up the steps to the bell. At 05.00am exactly, the bell was rung 28 times. This number is for the 28 levels of hell and to honour the ones that passed away. Under supervision and in groups of five, we rang the bell. *continues after image

After ringing, we went back to the temple for the morning ritual. This ritual existed out of more prostrations but luckily not as many as the 108 of yesterday! After the ritual, it was time for meditation. We all gathered in the meditation room for an hour of mediation. Luckily, it was not a full hour, but 25min of meditation, a 10 min break and another 25min of meditation. There were only two rules: don’t fall asleep and don’t make noisy. This time we got a special meditation pillow, which we could fold. This made it a lot more pleasant for our lower backs. After mediation, it was time for breakfast, followed by the tea ceremony. For the tea ceremony, we made groups of three people. One was the tea master and the other two were his/her guests. The tea master prepared the tea for the guests. A couple of tea masters prepared a really nice cup of green tea, but a couple of guests got tea that was quite bitter. With some cleaning of the meditation room and restaurant the temple stay came to an end and we returned to the hostel.

The last day in Seoul was a free day. In smaller groups the last locations were visited. One group visited a service in a church with a gospel choir. This church has one of the biggest communities in the world. Another group went to visit the Bongeun-sa temple, the Olympic Park and EWHA Women’s University. And the last group had to watch Diyako buy even more souvenirs.

In the beginning of the evening we gathered at the hostel again. On this last night we went for Korean Barbecue with the entire group in recommendation of the hostel owner. One of the girls working in the hostel had become our adopted participant. The Chinese girl Liuqing has helped us so much the last week and she spend every night with us. So it should not be a surprise that we took her with us to dinner. In groups of five, we barbecued our own meat in the middle of the table. In the small room and the limited ventilation system resulted into a room filled with blue smoke, but this didn’t stop our fun. The night was concluded with a large amount of soju bottles and one last game of Werewolves.

The participants of the study trip wanted to show their appreciation for the work the committee put in with a touching 3-point speech and a small gift for each point. The night was concluded by singing the Mollier anthem all together one final time.

Day 11 – Study Trip South Korea

-Written by Gerton van Middendorp & Wesley van der Sommen-

Today is the day everyone was “looking forward” to: the temple stay. We went to the Myogaksa temple in the north of Seoul to do a traditional temple stay. Because we had to leave the hostel for a day, everyone had to pack their bags and get ready to leave. Maybe going out last night wasn’t a great idea..

Upon arrival we changed into traditional clothing and we were requested to go to the main hall for the introduction. A story was told about a buddha who saw a lot of poorness, pain and injustice all around him. He decided to gain control of his body and mind by withstanding himself from 3 ‘poisons’ of the soul: Desires, anger and ignorance. The 5 desires are: money, food, sleep, love and power. When you cant withstand the urge of any of the sins, anger comes into your mind and ‘poisons’ you. After the prince changed his life and could withstand his urges, he got an enlightment and got a “buddha mind”.

15.00. Prostration time. We were shown exactly how to bow. This ritual was necessary for every ceremony. As a fact, it was just an exhausting workout, because 108 bows were required. Actually we were supposed to be glad because some other temples require ten times more bows a day! The instructor performs 108 bows a day, which only requires 10 minutes for her. Because it was our first time, it took almost half an hour for us. Most of us finished the challenge and will probably feel it tomorrow!

The second part was meditation. We sat down in the same position for 25 minutes while focussing on our breath only.

Two rules were: no sleeping and don’t make noisey. The evening ceremony started at 17.00 when the gong/bell was rang. The practising buddhists sang and we bowed a few times. The ceremony took only fifteen minutes, while the morning ceremony and the meditation tomorrow will both take an hour!

Food was served at the cafeteria after the ceremony. All food has been donated to the temple. The food does not contain meat in the temple. Since 2002 tourists are welcome in the temple. Before that time, the monks ate only three different vegetables, every day the same. However, a chef is paid to cook nowadays. The monks can appreciate that.

In the free time after dinner, we explored the surroundings of the temple and took some pictures. It was beautiful, especially after sunset when the lampion turned on.

21.00, time to sleep. The meditation did good to us. We were ready to combine our inner peace with physical rest we definitely needed after a tough week. Too bad we need to sleep on a thin mattress…

Day 10 – Study Trip South Korea

–  Written by Lennert Evers & Marc Tavenier-

In the morning we got breakfast in two groups: one group was leaving half an hour earlier for measuring at the Yonsei University and the other group left later to be right on time. After a 30 minute walk through some small streets, we arrived. We were greeted with some beverages and the presentations started. There were 4 presentations from us and 4 from them about several projects. The topics that the students of Yonsei University presented are mostly related to indoor comfort in offices and cars. After the presentations we had a typical Korean lunch provided by the university. When we were full, we went to check out the climate chamber and a testing car on the roof. After some group pictures the university tour started. We were guided around campus and saw that our campus could learn a thing or two from theirs when it comes to big buildings and beautiful greenery. The students were kind enough to lead us to the busses and tell us which bus to use to go to the city hall: a beautiful, new building at which we were greeted with some coffee.

The presentation that the Seoul metropolitan government gave was about their plan to decrease nuclear power plants
and increasing sustainable energy sources by, for instance, increasing solar energy, using waste as resources and making buildings more energy efficient. When the presentation was done, we all had free time. We checked out the metropolitan government building and after
that we split up to either get souvenirs, go to Dongdaemun Plaza, and of course get something to eat.
At about 10pm we met up at the hostel to get a drink and go to the club to show our dance moves.

We had a great night and went to bed early of course ;)

Day 9 Studytrip South Korea

We got up relatively early again this day and traveled to the famous Gangnam district to visit the architect and design office of Planning Korea. We were warmly welcomed with a cup of coffee and tea which was very useful after a short night of sleep.

Planning Korea is a company with a modern approach, taking into account not only the esthetics but also the sustainability and the profit in terms of increasing the value of the building for the owner and the surroundings of the building. The architects draw their inspiration from art and nature which was visible in the large number of projects. In general, the main scopes of the designs are:

  1. Profit for citizens & the country
    2. Create an example with no examples
    3. Leave a legacy for next generation

This company participated in several design competitions and won several prices with their designs. For instance Seoul Culti Polis – Farming City, which brings together different functions in one building.

As the cherry on top, we had the honor to meet the chairman of Planning Korea and take a peak in his office. Eventhough, this man is a very successful architect, he was very humble and happy with the gifts from the Netherlands the committee offered him.

After this interesting morning, everybody had some free time to buy some souvenirs and eat dinner. Eventually, we closed the day with an interesting game of werewolves again.

– written by Jantje and Lara-

Day 8 – Studytrip South Korea

-Written by Stephen Abraham-Reynolds & Mohamed Tantawi-

The start of today was early and rushed as usual after 15000 snoozes before waking up and having our luxurious breakfast of toast with butter and jam.. Oh yeah the butter was out so just toast and jam. Anyways, we took off towards S.A.M.O.O., the largest and top engineering and architecture firm for 10 years straight in South Korea. Their head office is located in the Songpa-Gu district of Seoul, which is an award-winning district for being the most liveable and the largest in Seoul. As we entered the building, I must say we had a warm welcome with a sign posted in the lobby especially for TU/e with our name on it.  The design architect greeted us and escorted us to the conference room that could probably host a UN General Assembly (exaggerated) due to its size and interiors, where we were seated and generously served with some beverages.

The start of the presentation was about the background of the company that showed the international influence S.A.M.O.O. has. The main topic relevant to us building physicists and “servicicians” (let me know if you come up with the right word for it) was a project designed by S.A.M.O.O. that is a Zero Carbon Building.

The project was the ECO Energy R&D Centre located in Daejeon, South Korea. It is a mixed-use building that consists of two laboratories and an office designated space. The design process was split into three stages: passive design, active design and renewable energy design stages. The lead architect was present to answer our countless questions after the description of the building characteristics and design strategies.

Let`s not forget about our trip to the top of the LOTTE World tower. These are the mind blowing numbers: 5th tallest building in the world, it is 555 meter high. After taking the high speed elevator (10m/s) the group arrived at the 3rd highest observation deck of the world, 485m high (calculate travel time). Here we enjoyed the breath-taking views of Seoul. Almost everone was brave enough and dared to step onto the glass floor, looking all the way down.

Afterwards we were able to walk through the LOTTE Concert Hall. For the die-hard acousticians, this is the first Box-in-a-box system applied in a building Korea, designed by Nagata Acoustics. The group was clapping their way around the hall and where surprised to “measure” a long reverberation time (over 3 seconds). The tour guide`s explanation was that it was needed to protect the fragile sound produced in classical music.

Day 7 Studytrip South Korea

In the morning we went to The National Museum of Korea. When we came there where we saw a grand building with all kinds of artefacts from Korea and Asia. From prehistoric digged up artifacts and chinaware to calligraphy, furniture and Buddhist statues. It was interesting to see how this building was designed.

From there we travelled, with most of the group, to Incheon. To the smart city district “Songdo”.  This district is built on reclaimed land of the Yellow Sea, according to smart principles where they use information technology to manage and control the city. We saw a few of the buildings and got a presentation of the history of the district in the Smart City Exhibition. It started raining when we were there, because of this instead of walking around through the smart city. We got a bus tour through the region. The last few days we had some trouble with yellow dust, which is small dust coming from the deserts of Mongolia and northern China. For which some of us had to use dusk mask. So this was actually quite pleasant. With this bus we discovered Incheon and had a good meal at a local place at the sinpo market.

Instead of smart city, the acoustics group (Diyako, Jantje, Keven and our translator Qing, a nice staff in our hostel) went to Karaoke room, not for fun (seriously) but for indoor acoustics measurements.  In Europe countries, most of the karaoke is a wide space with a group of people. However, it is common that people sing in a private room in Asian countries.  Today acoustics group found and tested two different  private karaoke rooms, using equipments to measure the reverberation time and STI. Although our karaoke “neighbours”, who sang in a high volume like sopranos, brought a little trouble to our measurements, group acoustics still accomplished the missions.

At the end of the day we joined up again and finished the day having a drink and playing games at the hostel.

-written by Ruben and Keven-


Day 6 Studytrip South Korea

After only a few hours of sleep, we had to wake up pretty early for a packed schedule. This definitely feels like a Monday morning. With the standard butter-and-jam-toast in our bellies, we left on our first trip of the day to our first company visit, LG. Finally! So far, we have perceived the Korean people to be very warm, polite and modest. We felt very welcome the moment we walked into the LG conference room. They gave us a presentation about the company, the current status and their products in the building service range. The presentation also included an interesting timeline of the development of South Korea. Next to LG, it was also Samsung and Hyundai that stimulated the economy after the Korean war in 1953. The presentation was very insightful and it was great to see the Korean modesty here also and not just marketing talk.

After LG we had to hurry off to Seoul National University (SNU). SNU is regarded as the #1 university in South-Korea. Three students of the “SNU Student Ambassador” (SSA) of the International Student Office gave us a tour around the biggest in South Korea. It is as large as 600 football fields! During the tour they enlightened us with a lot information about student life in South Korea. Side-note of the day: It was very refreshing meeting people that could speak proper English.

With the SNU tour behind us, we were very close to the war memorial. This being a pivotal piece in Korean history, we could not skip this in our program even though it is closed on Mondays. However we were able to walk around the building. There were tanks, missiles, airplanes and battleships set up on the War Memorial ground.

This busy day gave us really empty stomachs. The hostel owner tipped us with his “favourite restaurant in Seoul”, which coincidentally happened to be around the corner of our hostel. Well… there was no word lied about that. The typical small Korean restaurant was amazing! It is run by two old ladies. We felt like sitting at tables in their homes. We ate a typical Korean meal, which consist of a stew of chicken with different small side-dishes.

With this delicious meal in our stomachs we rolled out on our bellies to a cool Karaoke bar in the neighbourhood. Needless to say…things got out of hand. It was really a lot of fun to sing our guilty pleasures with each other. After two hours of singing, we went to a bar for a few drinks. Also, in other news, this was the evening where our Supreme Leader Bram was promoted to Supreme Leader “El Caliente”.

-Written by Arjan & Diyako-

Day 5 Studytrip South Korea

Today is DMZ day, also known as the DeMilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. A VIP tour bus picked us up. On the drive there we had a short history lesson about the division between North and South Korea and how it came to be. The first stop was a park before we entered the actual DMZ. In the park a few historic items were displayed, like a train destroyed in the war, the Freedom Bell and a vantage point on the Bridge of Freedom. After a short stop we continued as “Michelle’s Group”, which our tourguide Michelle picked, to the next stop. This stop was at the 3rd infiltration tunnel, after a short movie about the war between North and South Korea, a few incidents afterwards, the DMZ and the four discovered tunnels North Korea dug. Once the movie was finished we were allowed to enter the 3rd infiltration tunnel up until the first barricade. Which was after 360 meters walk at a depth of 73 meters. The blockade was a thick concrete wall with a heavy metal door. The third stop was at a vantage point. This point showed the border between the North and the South and a few villages on the Northern side. The villages were mostly faux as they were only used by military forces. Once we nearly arrived at the last stop Mohamed discovered he should duck before taking his seat, to prevent bumping his head each time he sat down. The last stop was a train station. This was only used by people visiting the DMZ. It was constructed with donations from citizens hoping the track will connect the North and the South.

After a hour driving back from the DMZ we arrived in Seoul once again to visit the K-Style Hub. As lunch we had a huge bowl of Thai Noodle Soup or Fried Chicken served by 2 elder ladies. Afterwards we were ready to try on traditionally styled clothing called “Hanbok”, transforming us into Korean royalty.

In the K-Style Hub there was plenty of information about the South Korean culture. The building is financed by the government to introduce tourists to Korean eating habits and traditional ingredients. A photobooth was also installed in the building, which allowed us to take pictures with animated K-Pop stars.

During the free time that followed a group ended up at an event promoting a presidential candidate after taking a large detour. A large selling point of this event were the cute gigantic white bears. Another group went to the YP Bookstore, were they sell cultural books to modern literature and old school records to the latest albums.

At the end of the day we had a few drinks in the garden until the police ended the festivities.

-written by Don en Silvie-

Day 4 Studytrip South Korea

After a rough day and a short night of sleep we went on a city trip. First stop: Changdeokgung palace and the Huwon secret garden, which was in practice the back of the palace. The palace is mentioned in the UNESCO list for outstanding architecture.

After visiting the palace we went for lunch at a very large market hall, similar to a bazaar, enjoying the delicious native streetfood like noodles (hot and cold) and pork-omelettes.

The journey continued to the vantage point of Bukchon Hanok giving a great view over the traditional neighbourhood. This area shows the importance of proper roofing and the quality of the traditional building method, so in fact the importance of the master BPS.

The last stop was the kingdoms palace: Gyeongbukgung palace. Built in 1395, it is located in northern Seoul and the largest of the Five Grand Palaces built by the Joseon dynasty. After walking about 13km trough the city we split up in order to get some typical Korean dinner. This was because it turned out to be impossible to find a spot for 20 people on a Saturday night. Finally we enjoyed the evening in the hostels’ garden with a local drink: soju, which is based on rice or bamboo.

-written by Michiel and Bram-