CAMP CASEY, South Korea -- When Soldiers first arrive in Korea, the culture may seem unfamiliar. However, it doesn't take long to find out that South Korea has its arms wide open to newcomers. Korea offers American Soldiers an almost infinite number of opportunities to go out and experience the country and immerse themselves in its culture.
Staff Sgt. Felix Mena, a native of La Quinta, Calif., has certainly made the most of his time here. Joining Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery Regiment, 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, as a noncommissioned liaison officer, he was quickly employed as the unit's public affairs representative due to his background in media.
According to Mena, Korea offers great opportunities for traveling, tasting different delicacies, and just hanging out. "I have really fallen in love with the people, culture, and beautiful scenery here, but most of all, I love the food," said Mena.
In addition to sampling the menu, Mena makes use of his experience in photography and music production. He utilizes these talents during his adventures in local communities to create unforgettable recordings of his experiences and, in some cases, to become a part of the scene himself.. He has taken pictures at events like the Seoul International Marathon, and played music as a disk jockey at local festivals.
His unique background of being both an American Soldier and DJ in South Korea has drawn the attention of numerous local online magazines. Several have written feature stories about him. In addition, he runs a video series and website offering tips and classes in photography.
"They are the fuel that recharges my energy so that I can push through the long, difficult days that often come with military service," said Mena. "I never forget, however, that my duty, first and foremost is my military service and my commitment to the mission here in South Korea."
For Soldiers new to Korea, Mena suggests they go out and explore Korea as much as possible. See the country and discover what's out there.
"Grab a battle buddy, put in a pass and go out and experience everything Korea has to offer," said Mena. "The real Korea is waiting for you, get out and see it all."