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What I learned in Korea is about how the traditional ideal of the whole and the western idea of the individual have mixed together in modern Korea. In the past the group was the whole meaning of an existence. It was more important what the group decided rather than what the individual thought. The minority is not considered. This is one of the hall marks of a western culture, the power of the minority. But in Korea these two ideals have mixed together in an interesting manner. While the group’s decision is still held above all, this does not mean that it can affect the individual’s decision. To give some context, while talking to a certain group of people, the subject of another individual who’s company they didn’t enjoy came up. Since there was a new comer to the group (other than me, who was Korean) they began to elaborate the reasons and examples of why they don’t enjoy that person’s company. Many of which were grounded in first hand experiences of the group. What surprised me was when the new comer replied, after hearing all of the testimonies, that though that was the group’s decision and he wasn’t going to try to change it, he wasn’t going to change his opinion of the person either. At least until he himself had those first hand experiences. In my awe I noticed that this wasn’t the first time I had heard these sentences. In fact, while in Las Vegas, a Korean intern had said the same exact thing. Though it is possible that generalizing these experiences is incorrect of me, I believe it does show a shift in how many Koreans experience new information. They will respect the groups stance, but will wait for more information to make their own educated decision.
After talking with Youngbum, Santiago and I have been tackling new projects. We have been finishing up the edit for the manual, adding things where we can. I have also been spending time learning Gazebo (a simulation software) and how to connect it to ROS (Robot Operating System). The tutorials that were made are very hard but I have managed to make head way through a couple. The tutorial on ROS control and gazebo was especially interesting. We have also been talking to other lab members about teaching us their methods. Next week we are learning about PODO (the software used to control HUBO) and hopefully will get a chance to put PODO, Gazebo, and ROS together. Youngbum also said that he would talk to Rainbow (the off shoot company from the KAIST HUBO lab) about having Santiago and I sit in on, or even work on the restoration process for Hubo2 (jaemi-hubo).
This photo was taken at 1am on Monday morning. It shows two students in shot and one off shot working. I had come back to the lab to pick something up after going out with some friends when I came back to this. It first surprised me, then it inspired me. There is a reason why these students are in a world class lab at a world class school. I had talked with them, seen them goof of on their computers and had forgotten that these were in fact the top students in Korea. This was a good reminder to not take for granted the opportunity given to me to learn from them.
I learned that although I enjoy talking to new people there is a limit. While Santiago is going to new meetups to meet new Koreans every week, I find myself unable to continuously throw myself into new environments. I am completely fine with doing it a couple times at once, but find it hard to do it continuously in a short span. If the change is out of my control I will be able to deal with it, but it is hard for me to go out and initiate the change on my own. Given that I will need to step out of my comfort zone and continuously throw myself into new environments to meet new people, this is something I will need to conquer. \\
This week I met Chunshu, Dongwoo, Tom, Tahi, and Sky. Sky and Tom gave me their American names. They were all nice and helpful in getting me insight into the modern Korean culture.