Please introduce yourself.
My name is Erwin Boni. I am a public official of Surabaya City in Indonesia and I work in the Department of City Planning and Construction. I have been working in the International Cooperation Affairs Division here in Busan since April 14. I came to Busan, a sister-city of Surabaya, through the 'K2H Program'. Before coming to Busan, I participated in a preparatory training program held in Suwon City over 10 days.
Could you tell me about Surabaya?
Surabaya and Busan have a lot in common. Just as Busan is the second largest city in South Korea, Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia. Also, both cities are port cities and have wonderful coastal scenery. Moreover, there are various schools in Surabaya like private schools, national schools, international schools and so on, leading to Surabaya being called an 'edu-city'.
The Korea-Surabaya Peace Park in Surabaya City has a statue with the national flags of our two countries on either side of the statue. The park was built to celebrate international exchange and friendship between the two countries. Surabaya is actually known as a "Heroic City" in Indonesia because of the key role it played in the struggle for independence.
What was your first impression of Busan?
After my short stay in Suwon, my first impression of Busan was that it is 'big and beautiful'. I was also pleasantly surprised by Busan's convenient transportation system. It is great to be able to go anywhere, carrying my small subway map with me.
Are there differences in the working conditions?
We have a more formal 'clocking-in' system in Indonesia, but Busan's system seems to be more informal. I think that in Indonesia it has had a positive effect in increasing the discipline of employees. I haven't felt any other major differences besides this.
Do you have a memorable story from your life in Busan?
Well, I am making an effort to learn the Korean language these days, and have lessons two or three times a week, so I always attempt to talk to my colleagues in Korean, in spite of my limited ability. When they reply, there are many things I can't understand, but I'm doing my best.
Could you tell me about some of the cultural differences between Korea and Indonesia?
Indonesian people turn their spoon face down after the meal. This is polite behavior in Indonesia. However, Korean people leave their spoon face up after the meal. This is one of the interesting differences I have noticed since coming here. I am sure I must have made some minor cultural mistakes since coming here.
You have been in Busan just under a month. What do you think of it so far?
So far, I like almost everything, but it is a little difficult to adapt myself to the food. Perhaps I will come to enjoy the spicy food after about 5 months, when I'm just about to finish the training program. However, I do like bulgogi and bibimbap, especially bibimbap as it is similar to Indonesian dishes.
Talking of food …. one of Indonesia's traditional dishes is 'Gado-gado’. Many vegetables are mixed together with peanut sauce, and this dish is also good for your health, like bibimbap. If you visit Indonesia, you must try this dish. I'm only sorry that I haven't found anywhere in Busan serving 'Gado-gado'.
Do you have any suggestions for improving Busan?
In Indonesia, I can easily find wastebaskets in the street, but it is hard to find one in Busan. After shopping and eating with me friend, I always have to keep my trash in my bag and take it home with me. I wish Busan had more wastebaskets in the street.
What do you think are the best tourist attractions in Busan?
Haeundae! Some of my foreign friends said that they came to Busan only because of Haeundae. It was so good once I actually went there. I am planning to go there again this summer.
What plans do you have for the future?
I will do my best to help Surabaya as a public official and make efforts to become an expert in my field. I also want to serve Surabaya better by learning Korean culture and various other skills while I am here, and to expand my knowledge of Korea's strengths in the economic and agricultural fields, etc, during my 6-month training period here at Busan City Hall.
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