Bao Yang is a student at Mount Mary College and a Classmates Connecting Cultures Blogger corresponding with the Social Work Club at Mount Mary. Bao is currently studying abroad with ISA in Seoul, Korea.
I have been a hermit in my house for the past few months. But I have my excuses. One, I’ve been busy writing my term paper about South Korea for my Independent Study class. And frankly,two, I don’t want to become sick with the flu. There is nothing worse than being sick and being stuck on an airplane for 14 hours.
Aside from the term paper and being a flu-maphobe (not a real word) I have been mentally preparing myself to live in Seoul. The inner social worker in me had to know more about the practical side of living in South Korea. That required a lot of sitting in front of the computer with a search engine and the words South Korea. Here are just of the few things that I learned in my research journey:
Pack light. For me, I couldn’t stop packing everything into my luggage. Every time, I take something out the question of “What if I need this” came into my head. Everything you need will be in South Korea as it is a developed country. And if not, that would be the perfect time to try something new. Best of all, less clothes means more shopping!
Money wise, atms gives the best conversion rate. There’s a 1% conversion fee from the card company, and the bank might charge their own percentage. But look into local banks or credit unions as they will only pass on the 1% conversion fee from the card company onto the customers and nothing more. Of course, read all the fine print for such things as out of network atm fee.
Have control over your time. Write out your schedule monthly and weekly to keep travel plans and homework in check. There is nothing worse than downgrading your GPA because you had too much fun and didn’t focus on your classes. Remember grading scales may differ in your study abroad country.
Even with all my research I know that the only way to learn is to jump in and be open minded.