MY TIME AT HANKUK UNIVERSITY IS OVER, BUT MY TIME IN KOREA IS NOT...

05:21


Time flew by this past month and I have found myself now sitting in a hostel typing up this post after spending the past month studying at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul and I have to admit, I am missing my hard as rock bed at my dorm and the air-con crazy classrooms at the school already. Two days ago we had our closing ceremony where we reminisesd over the past month, representatives of each class gave a speech (myself included) and had to say to say goodbye to all the people we had met and be-friended, including the amazing teachers and staff that were there to help us along and make our time at the University as amazing as possible.

First week. Presentation on Globalization and Media in Korea and Japan at the closing ceremony. Final Day.
When I first arrived at the University a month ago I was really unsure what to expect; I had never travelled to Asia before and was nervous finding my way around the school and even just getting to the school itself from the airport, but from the start the people at the International Office and their volunteers were there to help you out and make your first few days there as painless as possible. They arranged amazing field trips for us right from the start, like the Boryeong Mud Festival which I had written a previous post about as well as many others. They were there to answer your questions and put up with your nonsense even at the latest of hours.

On top of that, I am lucky to call some of those amazing volunteers and staff my friends.

Last day at HUFS with these buggers.
Beyond the staff are the teachers who are incredibly qualified and each class had something amazing to offer. When they spoke about their respective topics of study it blew you away the credentials they had to back up their knowledge of the topics. But as qualified and intelligent as they were (obviously intimidating as well), they were also so kind and willing to answer any questions you had and encouraged you to speak to them and not hide when they came around due to their amazing brains.

And then...there are the people I met.

To quote Bilbo Baggins (don't hate, you know you love it):

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve".

Friends from all over, including friendly German and Polish interactions :P
Germany, England, France, New York, Hawaii, Italy
Quote and Bilbo jokes aside, I did meet many upon many amazing, intelligent, talented and driven people during my time here in Seoul, and I am lucky to call a number of them friends of mine now, and a few of them very good friends whom I will be visiting in Europe soon (hello France, Germany, and England)...and perhaps South Korea again if my wallet lets me...because I am not the boss, lets be honest here, my wallet is.

Let's just throw New York into that mix as well Mr. Wallet shall we?

My time at the University really sped by and I have no idea where the time went. It feels like a week and a half has passed, I still go for my phone to text my friends to ask "breakie at 8:15?", like we have nearly every morning before class since arriving in Seoul. On the last day, as we were receiving our transcripts it started to dawn on us that we were done, that the summer session was over, and soon we would be having to head back home. Some of us sooner rather than later. I am really happy I decided to go on this exchange, it was on my to-do list when I decided to go back to school and get my degree and I am proud of myself for making it happen; even though it sometimes involved 14 hour work days, limited social life and many sleepless nights, in the end it was all worth it because I have had an unforgettable experience here in Seoul with some unforgettable people. 

If I am to give anyone any advice when it comes to going to another country to study abroad it would be to just do it. People miss out on so much in list because they are scared to take risks, cannot find the willpower to save and budget or let other people tell them what to do. If you want to go abroad and are capable of making it happen for yourself, you should. Don't worry about making friends - you will (even an weirdo like me did...granted my friends are weird too but I digress), don't worry about getting around or language barriers - you will figure it out, don't worry about looking like an idiot lost in a new city- you will always find a local willing to help you. Just don't worry, like all things in life, it has a way of figuring itself out.

So go and look up the countries you have always wanted to study in and find out if your school can make it happen and get on with it! In the end, you will not regret it. So much of it has to do with your attitude and if you have a good attitude, doors will always open up for you. 

Like anything new in life, the first couple days may be jarring but you'll find your footing and figure out your groove and from there, things will just find its own way of settling and working out.

If you are thinking of doing an exchange, anywhere in the world, but particularly in South Korea, I wish you luck! ( and not in a "your gonna need it way) You will for sure enjoy yourself and if you want any tips, my previous post TIPS FOR TRAVELLING (AND STUDYING) IN SEOUL may have some answers for you.

An amazing group of intelligent and empathic people. (North Korean Human Rights Studies trip)
But even though my time at Hankuk Unviersity is over, I am still travelling and exploring Korea and in a little over a week I will be in Japan so keep an eye out for future posts about my time here in Korea, including some posts about the street art here in Seoul, being a vegan here and of course site seeing posts. I haven't done a post about the sites to see here yet because I am still wandering around Seoul, hunting them down, so once I am done that I will post my own personal list of sites to see!

Till next time...
xoxo

Nicole

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