After almost a year of studying abroad in South Korea, I had to say goodbye. I’ve been back home for two weeks, and luckily, I am well adjusted to the time zone, after struggling for a week! Reverse culture shock is definitely REAL, and I almost can’t believe I’m actually back in Minnesota now. Honestly, I did happen to cry once I landed at the MSP airport!! I don’t know..there was just a surge of confusing emotions. Was I..sad? happy? relieved? I couldn’t exactly pinpoint my feelings at that moment! Studying abroad is like a dream, or more so like you’re living a second life. My life in Korea was totally different than my life here back in Minnesota, and being re-connected with one, but having memories of the other is just..so..weird? There’s no other way to put it. It’s like I’ve lived two lives!
It’s funny how my life has drastically changed while being in Korea, but once I arrived home, nothing has changed and everything is the same! It’s just an interesting realization..but also so bizarre. I don’t know! It’s something you need to experience for yourself. This did make me realize that there’s a whole world out there outside of Minnesota, so I hope you all take advantage of that!!
Oh, and here are some study abroad tips that I highly recommend you all take into consideration!
- BE OPEN MINDED.
it’s definitely easier said than done. You’re in a new country, and you probably know nothing of it besides the things you read and see in the media. That’s only a fraction of what the country really is, so be prepared for anything!! Also, be mindful of the cuisine in the country you’re studying abroad in. Being in South Korea, I know some exchange students were not as adventurous and nervous to eat Korean food, but know that the culture’s cuisine helps you connect with the country and people, and you’re studying abroad!! so you should be prepared to try new things! Granted, you don’t have to try everything, but I advise you all to at least try the basic, well-known food items in the country that you’re studying in! It’ll definitely enhance your experience!
- LEARN THE COUNTRY’S LANGUAGE
Now, i’m not telling you to stay in your dorm and study 24/7! But, you should definitely take the time and energy to learn enough of the country’s language to get by. (especially if the primary language isn’t English) Sure, most people can survive the country with having no knowledge of the language..as TOURISTS (joking!), but as someone who lives in the country, whether it be four months or a year, I think it’s beneficial, and you will definitely feel more connected to the country you’re studying abroad in! // Also if the country you’re in has common curtesy gestures you’re not familiar with, definitely learn that as well!
- RESPECT THE COUNTRY YOU ARE STUDYING ABROAD IN
Please be mindful and respectful of the country as a whole, and try not to get into any serious conflicts while abroad! I know specifically in Korea, there are some places where foreigners aren’t allowed in because of a past event or conflict having to do with foreigners. Sure, you may think some things are strange or not right, but remember, you’re a guest in the country, and any disruptive things you do will not only reflect you, but your nationality, host school, and home school. So, just be mindful!
- HAVE A GREAT TIME AND EXPERIENCE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!!
Studying abroad was the best experience ever, and I enjoyed it so much. It was also so easy being able to study abroad through Concordia as well, so I really hope you all take advantage of studying abroad as a university student!!