Leaving Korea: Reflections

Authored by:
Barritt R.

Barritt R.

Hello Everyone, the time has finally come....

Bags are beginning to be packed, and as I am desperately trying to sort out what should be left here in Korea, and what should be taken back home, I am also trying to sort of my own inner thoughts and emotions that are floating around throughout my mind.

Thinking back on this past semester, I am overcome by all of the cool experiences I got the opportunity to be a part of. Yes, I am sad that I am going to be leaving so soon, but it is also the type of nostalgic sadness that only comes from experiencing finite and soul enriching things. I have learned a lot about myself and the world during my time here. 

I have grown in self confidence and learned how to navigate a giant metropolitan city. I have tried many delicious new foods, and I don’t think I will ever stop craving soft tofu stew again now. I have visited so many cool and amazing places, and learned a lot about Korean history and culture during my time here. I have also begun my very humbling journey in learning the Korean language, and I am both scared and excited to continue pushing myself forward in that realm. Even with online classes, curfews and group limits, I have managed to have an unforgettable and fun time here.

It was weird being here in Korea during the era of covid, something I once thought would only last two months, that is now approaching its second year mark. I think that my time here has made me ponder and reflect on public health systems and how the role governments play in the daily lives of its civilians can have a huge impact on how quickly a virus can spread. I not only watched South Korea go from having just 15% of its population vaccinated, to 85%. But I also watched the US stay at a stagnant 56% for most of the time I was here. The way that people viewed and acted within the world of covid was so culturally different from that of the US that it was rather shocking. I think that America could learn a lot from how Korea has been handling the pandemic overall (although of course no country is perfect). 


Even though the world seems to be moving at rapid speed in all sorts of unstoppable directions, I have found great comfort and happiness in the friendships I have made here. And I think this is one of the most beautiful things about studying abroad. I know that part of my heart will always be in Korea, and I have a strong lurking feeling that I won’t be gone for too long.

That is all for now, thanks for reading my blog:) You should hear from me again soon,

-Barritt

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