How Riding Korean Trains Got Me into Graduate School

Of all things that Seoul, South Korea has to offer, from palaces to street markets to hologram shows and cow cafes, I spent a lot of my time on the trains. Coming from the great state of Texas where we have no subways (or great public transportation) and having not ridden on a train since I was 7 years old, the subways in South Korea fascinated me. To be able to avoid the traffic and hustle and bustle of the surface world for a quick underground commute all around the city was a great resource to have at my disposal. Every day after classes, I would head down the large hill from the dorms and head to Anam station and board the orange line to Myeongdong and Hongdae and Dongdaemun and Insadong. By the end of my 6 weeks in Seoul, having refilled my T-money card 10 times, I realized I had barely scratched the surface of South Korea.

Traveling abroad was a nice time off from the reality that I was not sure what I wanted to do with my life, at least professionally. I entered college with the intent of studying dietetics but became discouraged after a disenchanting experience shadowing a dietitian. When I returned to America, my mind remained starved for new experiences but my body was stuck in my familiar surroundings. When an internship opportunity came along in a dietitian’s private practice, while pre-Korea me would have passed up the opportunity, post-Korea me, seeking new experiences, decided to apply.  I was exposed to a completely new perspective of dietetics than what I’d had before, and I continued to seek out opportunities diverse opportunities in the field.

By my senior year of college, my once empty resume was now full. When I decided to apply to a dietetic internship, the experiences that I had gained after returning from South Korea were instrumental in my acceptance. I am now one semester into my combined masters and dietetic internship program and enjoying every minute of it. Had my sense of my curiosity and discovery not been reinvigorated during my study abroad, I do not believe I would be here today.

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