Ahnyeonghasaeyo! Greetings from Seoul, South Korea. I have just spent a little over a week in Seoul, South Korea and wow, everything has been an adventure!
Waiting at the boarding gate in the San Francisco International Airport by myself last week, I was unbelievably nervous. It was the first time I would fly alone to another country. My family or friends weren’t by my side to talk to me or look after my stuff while I walk around the airport.
I felt lonely. When my mom called me before my flight to say goodbye, tears started to form. Why was I suddenly feeling homesick? Shouldn’t I be super excited to study and travel in Korea?
After 12 hours, I finally arrived at the Incheon International Airport.
The first thing that came in mind was the weather. South Korea is HOT and HUMID. It was hard to breathe and my skin felt sticky. It was the first time I traveled alone, but I found the bus to take me to the hostel I stayed at in only a few minutes. Testing the Korean I learned for two quarters at UCSD, it was not difficult to communicate with the people working at the airport. I felt accomplished and excited to start my adventure in Korea.
For my first night in Seoul, I stayed at a hostel in Hongdae, an area known for great nightlife. However, I was dead exhausted from my flight and decided to sleep early. The next day, I took a taxi to Yonsei University, the university I will be staying and studying at for the next few weeks. During these first two days, I was quite lonely. However, I found some classsmates from UCSD when I arrived at my dorm. They warmly accepted me to join their group and since then, I have been exploring Seoul with them.
I have already started my classes: Korean Cinema and Contemporary Korean Culture. They are very interesting! After my classes, I usually walk about 10 minutes off campus to eat dinner with my friends and catch up. On the weekends, we take the subway to different places in Seoul to sight see and experience Korean life. The city has been amazing. Everything is convenient: the transportation, food, and shopping.
However, monsoon season has started and we are not used to the bipolar pouring rain. Nevertheless, my friends and I have been loving Seoul.
Although my initial experience in Seoul was slightly discouraging and lonely, I have already created amazing memories in Seoul with a group of great friends and cannot wait to go to our school field trip to Busan this coming weekend!