A lengthy run-down on my first semester abroad in Korea!

The semester is officially over for me! I honestly cannot believe how quick it’s flown by! I’ve had so many amazing experiences this semester, and I cannot wait to see what next semester has in store for me!! Everyday I feel so thankful that I am able to be studying abroad in a country that I longed to be in for so long. Let me tell you all that I’ve learned this semester, and let me give you some great advice that you can use to your own advantage!

CONNECTIONS / PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE : 
Besides me being interested in South Korea, I also am using this  study abroad opportunity to test the waters and see if I do want to teach and live here after college, because that has been my plan since I declared my ESL major! I’m happy that I got the chance to study here before actually working here! So, if you’re maybe thinking of teaching or working abroad in the future, definitely try (if you can) to study abroad in the country that you’re interested in before making a career decision! It’s helpful because as a student here, you can learn the language, the culture, and how life works in the country, and you’ll even be able to make connections with people from the country that you can later connect with after college! I was actually very lucky to be chosen to be a Teacher’s assistant for Soon Chun Hyang’s winter camp this January! So, I’ll be working with 5th grade Korean students and helping them with their English! This is SUPER exciting because it fits so well with my major, and I’ll get a sample of how my career will be if I do choose to come here after college! As you guys can see, I already have a connection with a program in South Korea and something for my resume because, I am not only studying abroad in Korea (the country I want to teach in) but I am actually doing some ESL work as a student as well! 

LEARNING THE COUNTRY’S LANGUAGE:
Now, let me tell you about my experience learning Korean! I am..not near fluent (yet, hopefully!) But I’m not the worst either! Before coming to Korea, I did not know the alphabet, but I do know a large amount of random phrases and vocab words, so that’s helped me a bunch here! Once I learned the alphabet though, everything in Korea made SO much more sense..literally. There’s no way behind learning a language besides immersing yourself around it and studying! I literally read every sign I come across in Korea, just to help with my fluency in reading! It’s intimidating at first, but I really advise all of you (who are planning to study abroad in a country who’s primary language isn’t English) to study a bit of the language before coming here, or just really practicing and making sure to use the language at any given opportunity! Personally, I feel that it shows that I respect the country by trying to use the spoken language, and it really makes me happy that I’m able to live an easier life in Korea because I am able to understand and say some things! It definitely is hard learning a different language, but do not be discouraged! Native friends and teachers can always help you out when you need help! 

GLOBAL VILLAGE:
I am so thankful that I’m able to live in Global Village at SCH!!! It’s such an amazing dormitory! There are literally so many people from so many different places. I have met wonderful people from Mongolia, China, Uzbekistan, Korea, Japan, Europe, the US, and more! Through these friends, I was able to learn about their cultures as well as Korea’s culture! It’s amazing that we are all gathered here in a dormitory in South Korea, but that’s what makes Global Village a unique living experience! I know next semester will be just as amazing, and I cannot wait to meet new people! 

HAVE I CHANGED SINCE I’VE BEEN IN KOREA?
I’ve changed..SO MUCH. I’ve learned some things about myself, and I am now so much more open! I thought I was open-minded before, but now..I’m even more open-minded, if that makes sense!? There are just some experiences that I’ve encountered here that have changed my life and perspective! I’m definitely more independent as well now! I have had some encounters of taking taxi’s and subways/essentially traveling by myself, and having to speak Korean while doing so, and successfully doing it! Being so far away from home has also made me more independent! To be honest, I FaceTime or text my parents maybe only once or twice a week? My mom says that it’s perfect practice for when I live by myself or when I’m here teaching english! I definitely agree with her. I lived in the dorms at Concordia for my freshman year, but I was only 30 minutes away from home, so it wasn’t anything special! But now, I’m in a different country and it’s crazy that I haven’t been home sick one bit! I think I’m having a little too much fun in South Korea!!? Honestly, studying abroad has already changed me so much, and I’ve found out so much more about myself in Korea! I really encourage everyone to study abroad because it’s such an amazing opportunity and I wouldn’t change it for anything!! I’m looking forward to next semester, because I know it’ll be a blast as well with new adventures!! 

Sorry, this was all text! I just thought I would encourage some people who are on the fence of studying abroad and need that push! Or if you wanted to hear how my first semester in Korea went, here it is! 

 

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