Korea has always had a place in my heart, from the first time I watched a Korean drama to my first K-pop song. I began to build a real interest in the country, and in my search to learn more about this country it broadened my mind to truly understand that Korea is far more than its entertainment industry. Though Korean celebrities are far from a shallow hook; I realized Korea had so much more to offer, and so I wish to learn all of this first hand. Thus, I made the decision to take the opportunity given to me by school, and venture to Korea for a year as an exchange student.
I personally have never travelled anywhere by myself, let alone lived in another country miles away from home for one year. However, as we grow older we begin to reach for independence in our lives. What better way to do that, then travel 10,594 km away from home right? I believe this experience will be good for me to lessen my dependence on my family, and truly discover who I am on my own. Although I won’t lie and say that I will be totally alone, as I will have friends in Korea who I had met, when they travelled to my university as exchange students to Canada. But nonetheless Korea will serve as a great test for me, especially trying to get from Incheon (인천) International Airport all the way to my Airbnb residence in Gangdong (강동), Seoul (서울).
I also came to the conclusion that Korea would be a great opportunity for my studies. I am currently an undergrad student studying for a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, with a double minor in Accounting and Human Resources. I know that’s a lot, but a girl has to keep her options open. Anyways, Korean education is well known for being one of the best education systems in Asia. So, of course I thought as a business student, what better chance than to add something like this to a resume. Along with attending a Korean university, a majority of them have internship programs open to exchange students during their stay, so a third year with experience working in a foreign company is not a bad look on a resume. The best part is that most internships require English speakers, so I have no need to worry about there being a language barrier. It also would not hurt to pick up another language while I am there.
I cannot deny that I am just like most students, meaning that I am constantly broke and just trying to pay off tuition. Therefore, the decision to go abroad did weigh on my mind, but another reason I choose Korea was because of its low-cost of living. In my situation, I would pay my tuition for the year to my home university and everything else like housing, books, and anything else school-related I pay to the Korean university I was to attend. Thankfully, in my case I was blessed with a dorm scholarship including room and board so two of the most important things were checked off my list. In terms of books, I was informed that their prices would never reach the prices that we pay here in Canada. Transportation in Korea is also efficient and cheap. What we pay here for a single ride on Toronto transport, in Korea it is around half of that amount.
Now I would be lying if I said I was only interested in my future student life in Korea, I am also looking forward to submerging myself in the culture from trying on a hanbok (한복), going to temples, attending festivals and just learning more about Korea’s rich history. Korea’s nightlife is also something I have heard much of and look forward to experiencing it for myself, though I am not much of a party person. However, I do have hopes to hang out eating chicken and drinking beer to my heart’s content with friends. As well as belting my heart out at a Korean karaoke (noraebang, 노래방) place. The food is also something I eagerly look forward to as it is cheap; it encourages me to try everything Korea has to offer. The size of Korea is what makes it a great country to travel around and from. So I am eager to travel from Seoul (서울) to Daegu (대구) to Busan (부산), to Jeju Island (제주도), and all those cities in between. I also plan to travel to other countries like Japan and Thailand since it will be much more affordable than flying to these destinations from Korea then from Canada.
Honestly, Korea was not my only option for an exchange abroad. Although K-dramas and K-pop inspired my interest, I truly believe that Korea will be an amazing experience and will forever have a place in my life. I look forward to leaving in two weeks and opening a new chapter in my life.