Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Trip to Asan, South Korea

It's Tuesday, day two of our trip to Seoul. We woke up early to drive approximately two and a half hours to Asan, South Korea. Asan, while also known for its popular hot springs, is home of South Korea's 2nd largest Hyundai plant. Our group was able to tour the enormous facility and witness how the Sonata was made from start to finish. The only part of the process we were unable to see was the painting process. Minimal visitors can enter the painting facility because of the color sensitivity to dust and other particles.

The Hyundai corporation started building the facility in 1994 and cost two billion dollars to complete. The plant runs Monday through Friday for 20 hours a day. A single car takes 20 hours to complete from start to finish (11 hours of which take place in the painting facility) which comes to approximately 1,200 cars produced daily. An interesting note about the Asan plant is that they have an environmental processing facility that recycles waste water and turns it into usable industrial water. Hyundai claims that not a single drop of sewage is produced from its Asan plant.

After our tour of the Hyundai plant, we made our way to the Onyang Korean Folk Museum. Along the way we drove past farmland that consisted of mostly rice and ginseng. Our tour guide informed us that we should not expect to see any farm animals (like cows, pigs, or chicken), because they are confined to barns at all times.

We soon arrived at the Korean Folk Museum and made our way through Korean history. Artifacts from hundreds of years ago were abundant both inside and outside the museum grounds. Our tour guide was incredibly resourceful and informed us of cultural traditions, some of which only date back to just over 50 years ago.

Our day of visits was over at the completion of our Korean Folk Museum tour. We had a video below for you to listen to three of our students (Sammy, Michelle, and Felix) recap their experiences of the day - but, unfortunately we are having technical difficulties getting it to post. Hopefully we'll have it up for you soon. Regardless, tomorrow you'll get to read about our trip to the Demilitarized Zone and the War Museum - this is going to be exciting...we can't wait!

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