Towards the end of my study abroad program at Yonsei, I realized that so much has changed in my life. After weeks of studying and exploring Seoul, I am able to identify with several aspects of cultural shock. Since I have been in Korea a few years ago, not everything was exactly new to me.
Still, Korea amazes me everyday. The nightlife, food, culture, and technology make every day an adventure. So many qualities of Seoul are different and sometimes more advanced than those of America. The subway system and bells on each table to ask for the waiter are so convenient and the food is absolutely amazing; who could get tired of being in South Korea?
Although I have been exploring Seoul and enjoying every moment, I still miss my family and friends at home very much. Since I attend a university not so close to my home, I haven’t had a chance to see my family and friends often since my winter break. Since fast, wireless internet is not too easy to find where I stay at, it has been difficult to contact my family and friends. I am not “homesick” but “people-sick.” A thought that I constantly have is the possibility that all my family and friends are with me in Seoul.
Exploring Seoul everyday has led me to be a little more fluent in my Korean abilities. I can understand more and speak a little better. I regret not taking a Korean language class here, but I feel like not knowing so much Korean is actually a good challenge to have. Having difficulties communicating with people here actually makes me more encouraged to listen more attentively and use words I know to convey my message rather than look things up on a translating app. However, the Korean language consists of many forms of formal and informal speaking, which is an obstacle I face everyday. Nonetheless, just being forced to get better at Korean is itself a fun aspect of studying abroad.