Like many people, I always get nervous before a big change in my life. Whether I'm looking forward to the upcoming event or dreading it, I always feel some amount of stress beforehand. Going abroad was no different - I was terrified. Despite going through the entire research and application process full steam ahead, I started feeling nervous as my departure date got closer and closer. During these moments, I just had to remind myself how far I had come. I learned to acknowledge my fear, but to not let it control me. Was flying alone going to be scary? Yes. Would I be able to do it? Also yes.
With all the confidence I could muster, I pulled myself together and got on my flight. Step 1: Conquer solo international travel. Check.
After actually arriving in Seoul, I was super thankful to have CIEE with me for the arrival process. I actually went through customs with two girls who turned out to be on the same flight as me! On two hours of sleep, we found our CIEE meeting spot and eventually took a bus to our dorm. Luckily, I was too tired to worry about the new bed or scenery, so I just fell right to sleep. Our next day started bright and early with YISS Orientation. There, we saw K-Pop dances, learned school cheers, and learned more about Yonsei. Everywhere I went, there were new people to meet and new things to say. Although it can be scary to meet new people, its important to remember that everyone is trying to make their new friends, not just you. Step 2: Talk to so many new people.
I was even able to find some people to go out to dinner with on my second night here. Another change: food! This was the best change because not only is the food here delicious, but it also usually isn't expensive (except when I want dinner and dessert haha)! Around every corner, there is a new cafe or street vendor with something that looks absolutely delicious. In my first two weeks, I think I've been to 7 cafes already? Maybe even more? Step 3: Eat all the food you can.
And the final, and most important step I can think of Step 4: Be proud of yourself. Even when you feel tired or overwhelmed, remember how far you've come. Take in the unexpected, wild moments and appreciate this once-in-a-lifetime experience!