Now that I am back in America, I feel like I never left to go to Korea.
However, I am not the same person I was before. The high speed subway train, Korean language, food, and urban culture—all of these I miss very much. I have adjusted to living in a bustling cultural hub and I am not back at home. While I do miss living in a city and learning something new about Korea every day, I am very happy to be able to see my family and friends again. While I was abroad, I didn’t really know anyone and I felt like I couldn’t express my real self well or often. Now that I am back, I can return to the lifestyle I lived before.
Many differences exist between Seoul and the Bay Area in California (where I live.) I live in a suburban area and rarely go to the big city (San Francisco.) There is no night life where I live and stores and restaurants close before 10pm. I feel like no one ever sleeps in Seoul and there is always something to do at any time. Also, technology in Seoul is very advanced and efficient compared to that of America. The Korean subway is a lot cheaper and faster; touch screens and display screens are everywhere you go. Furthermore, the fashion and etiquette is drastically different.
Whether people are going to exercise or heading to a date, Korean people always dress nicely and fashionably. It is polite and expected to look presentable and stylish at all times whereas in America, wearing sweats or pajamas in public is accepted.
While America and South Korea are very different, I am now able to envision myself living in either country. Both places have its pros and cons, and I am able to see each country’s beauty and charm. Being abroad in Korea for a long period of time has helped me develop in a more adaptive and independent person. I feel like I have grown a lot as a person; experiencing a completely different lifestyle has broadened my perspective and made me more curious to try new things. I am very thankful to have studied and lived in Korea and encourage every person to experience other countries as much as they can.