The Study Abroad Newsletter

When My Life Turned Into an Actual Korean Drama

Ashleigh Wojciechowski

Linguistics major
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and Chung Ang University, South Korea

If there is ever a time in my life that I will think back to as being full, exciting, and never-ending in happiness, it will most certainly be my year abroad in South Korea. Honestly, one year was not long enough to enjoy the wonders of this beautiful country. I will never take my time there for granted. My name is Ashleigh Wojciechowski and I’m a Liberal Studies major with a focus in East Asian Studies.

Old stone carving

Music bands tour poster

Let me tell you, I have sat here for days trying to write about my favorite experience in Korea. I simply can’t write about just one thing. There are too many amazing experiences that I have to touch on! I studied at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies for the Summer of 2017 and then at Chung-Ang University for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018. I made amazing friends from all over the world and we went to amazing places within Seoul and outside of Seoul together. I admit, much of my time was spent enjoying the increasingly global sensation of Korean Popular Culture. I went to multiple K-Pop concerts and even met some of my most favorite artists! I had the pleasure of meeting the girl group Dreamcatcher as they signed my album and I spoke to them in my very poor Korean. Getting to see BTS (방탄소년 단) four times, however, was a truly magnificent experience, and yes, I cried at every single concert.

However, don’t think that just because I love the popular culture doesn’t mean that the historical aspects of Korea didn’t give me an equally thrilling time! The most amazing thing I got to do -- that didn’t make me scream and lose my voice -- was going to a buddhist mountain temple and statue near Boryeong. This was probably the most spiritual I’ve felt in my life. We walked up a mountain in the rain to get to this amazing carved statue of three buddhas, and the rain stopped with a halo around us as we approached it. It was absolutely mystifying and breathtaking. Along with this, I was able to see an old fortress near the sea and walk through the main palace of the Joseon dynasty wearing Hanbok (the Korean traditional dress). I felt like I was in my favorite historical K-Drama!