As my time here in Seoul comes to a close, I wondered what my final blog post should be about. Over the course of the year, I’ve introduced aspects of Korean culture, talked about places to visit and things to do, and tried my best to give highlights of the CIEE program. For my last post, I decided I wanted to share a few thoughts about my experience as a whole.
Before coming to Korea this past February, I was itching for a change. I was an exhausted college junior who spent two and a half years doing nothing but study, work, sleep, and repeat. Virtually my entire life had centered around academics and studying. While I was doing well in school, something felt missing.
A few months into being in Seoul I realized what had been missing that entire time: a life outside of school. This past year I took more time than ever to travel, hang out with friends, and reflect on myself. For the first time in my life, I prioritized just having fun and living in the moment rather than stuck in fear of the future. I discovered the youthful joy I had once thought was a myth.
There have been moments where I’ve been hurt, where I’ve struggled, and when I wanted nothing more than to go back home. These moments were brief, but they were important and they are a part of the study abroad experience. However, moments like these occur wherever you are and did not make me regret coming to Korea. If anything, the hardships made the periods of happiness that much sweeter.
There’s a lot of jokes about college kids who spend some time abroad saying “study abroad changed me!” Study abroad did not change me, but I changed myself. I spent this year working on self-growth and personal maturity, and Korea was the backdrop for my development. While I still have a long way to go, I truly believe I have made significant progress towards becoming a complete and better person this year, and I am proud of myself. My self-growth journey is ongoing, and I am very excited to see where it takes me in the future.
Finally, I want to say thank you to all of the friends I’ve made here in Seoul. You’ve made every day an absolute wonder and my story would be incomplete without you. My love for you is boundless and borderless! And to everyone back at home who has supported me from afar: I’ll see you soon.
I came to Korea an overly excited 20 year old ready for an adventure, and I leave an overly excited 21 year old who’s had the adventure of a lifetime.
P.S. Check out the video below for a recap of my year!