A rocky Start to a Beautiful Adventure

Authored by:
Martina A.


In the first hour after I landed in Korea, everything that I feared became a reality. 

After getting through immigration, I quickly walked over to the baggage claim praying that my bag would arrive when I did. I waited and waited for my black suitcase with all my favorite things to come through the carousel. When the carousel stopped turning, my stomach plummeted because I knew it was a lost cause: my bag was not here. Moments later at baggage services, I found out that my suitcase never left Montreal, the city I was flying from, and I would have to wait until they could bring it on the next plane to Seoul. 

So, after the disappointing news about my baggage, I saw a notification on my phone from my roommate for the semester. Moving to a new country when you don’t know anyone is nerve wracking so knowing that my roommate would be there with me for the first day was a comforting thought in the back of my mind. To my dismay, my roommate had texted she missed her flight so she would not be getting in until the next day. As a socially anxious person hearing that news ruined my mood further.

After leaving baggage services, I wanted to insert my new sim card that I had pre-ordered into my phone. However, as I tried to use my data, I realized the sim card was not working. After trying to get my phone to work for over twenty minutes, I gave up, feeling defeated and made my way over to get a taxi to my new living location.

As I entered the dorm building, I felt overwhelmed by the last hour of unexpected bad events. Everyone around me was chatting away happily (with their suitcases) and I felt a wave of sadness come over me. After months of heavily anticipating this trip, I wanted to be excited about my new surroundings but my first night in Seoul was not what I expected. 

And the truth of it all, I was upset that night. I went to bed wishing that none of those events had occurred.


As I am writing this blog it has been a month since my first night in Seoul. After traveling for almost 24 hours, nothing going according to plan was unsettling. 

Yet, studying abroad is a roller coaster of a journey. There will be many ups due to the new experiences, people, foods and more but as my first night shows, there are going to be downs as well. It will not be a perfect linear journey but that’s alright! The journey will work out the way it's supposed to with the good and the bad. I think it's good to embrace that there will be challenges but you can always overcome them as well. It is inevitable that you will have a bad day or even a bad week. However, that does not mean the entire trip is ruined. It’s all a learning experience.

The day after my first night, I was scared I would be alone without my roommate but that was not the case. I was able to meet people in the CIEE community instantly that morning by joining a group who wanted to go get breakfast. Then later that day, I was able to meet my roommate. My phone started working properly as well after I was able to communicate with customer service. Finally, my suitcase arrived at my dorm building three days later. By the end of the week all my original problems disappeared.

In this first month, I have had many beautiful memories such as wearing a hanbok, eating Korean barbecue, cafe hopping, eating delicious desserts, seeing beautiful parts of Korea and the list can go on and on. Though I experienced doubts the first day, I still persevered to make the rest of my days great.

So, to my fellow future study abroad (ers), everything will work out the way it's supposed to in the end, so just take it one day at a time.

Share This Post:

Related Posts

Related Programs