The Study Abroad Newsletter

Seoul Is Where My Heart Is

Becky Zheng
Chung-Ang University, Korea

I have always wanted to go and visit South Korea; to go somewhere and travel by myself; to be independent without my parents taking care of me. So I took a chance and I did the summer program in South Korea at ChungAng University in Seoul. It was everything that I have ever wanted and more. Before I decided to take this opportunity, many people around me told me that I was romanticizing Korea, that it wasn't going to be at all what I imagine it to be. I didn't care what they said because it was my dream to go and I will make it happen no matter what. There was a lot of planning and researching and persuading that I needed to do, but I took initiative and I did what I had to and I went a week before my program started in Korea. First time traveling by myself was scary. I didn't realize at first because I was so excited, but when I got off the plane at Honolulu international airport I came to the realization that this all felt so unreal and a little mortifying. It all didn't matter because I was determined to make it and show my parent I can be independent and take care of myself without them having to worry.

Skip to arriving in Korea. It was amazing. The city was so alive and so vibrant. I felt like I was stepping into a Korean drama, only that there were no subtitles for me to read. I have to admit, at first it felt too unfamiliar for me. I have never had this feeling before in my life because I usually adapt very well to foreign unfamiliar environments, but for the first time I felt strange and some- what alone in this city so full of people. I know that I am not someone that just gives up in a time like this, so I took initiative again and started trying my best to adapt to everything, trying to ride the subway on my own by reading the maps and looking at the different signs in the stations; try- ing my best to communicate with people at restaurants and store to ask them questions with key English words and hand motions. Still I felt lonely in this big city, but it was okay because at least I was getting over my jet lag.

Becky Zheng Collate

A week later, my summer program at ChungAng University started, I moved into the dorm and started to adapt to another lifestyle as a student in University in such a busy city. I had a basic Korean class to learn Hangeul, I love learning languages, it was so fun and my professor is one of the kindest and most caring person that I have ever met. I met up with my friends who came from the same University, I met new friends from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Britain, China and local Korean students. It was amazing being able to experience a new culture with some many others along side exploring with me. I didn't feel alone anymore!

Becky Zheng Collate

I felt excited and ecstatic to be able to ex- plore and learn about such a wonderful city. We went on field trips to explore the city and even village areas of the more rural areas of South Korea. I loved every minute of being in Seoul and being in a place that was so alive and full of life. Seoul was alive every moment of everyday, there was not one min- ute in the day where an area was dead quiet, there was always someone walking around or driving around.

Just a summer in Korea is way to short. I love that city and I will definitely return again for study abroad for sure. The city is too amazing. It's almost unreal how much there is to do in such a small area compared to some of the cities I have been to before. Seoul has been everything I have imagined and more. It was everything I have ever wanted in a city. I love the fact that I was always a 15-20 minute subway away from everything and that transportation was so convenient and available. It was such a welcoming place for anybody to go. I love Seoul, I love that I can relate to the culture and customs that they have, I love the vibrant city, I love the night life, I love the language, I love the transportation, I love the people, I love their attitudes, I love their values, I love the environment, I love the food, I love the things that you get to experience, I love the history, I love everything there is about Seoul. I will definitely be going back. Seoul, please wait for me.