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.
The worst fear that I had about studying abroad in Seoul was the thought I might be all by myself, which is understandable due to the human disconnection throughout the pre-departure process to travel to Seoul. For example, I contacted most of the ISA staff through emails or phone, so I didn’t feel like I was able to build meaningful relationships without meeting them in person. Furthermore, it was up to me to do most of the paperwork and such to prepare for my time abroad.
Fortunately, once I got to Seoul I met all of the other ISA students on my program and it finally sunk in that I was not the only one that was new to Seoul.
I believe that this simple and obvious epiphany often does not come to realization until after an individual sets foot in their new city. In other words, they need to already have taken the “study abroad leap,” but so very few students are willing to travel into the unknown by themselves when they can cling onto the familiar.
Those are just my thoughts for semester long study abroad.
Aside from the initial anxiety, I am adapting well to the different environment, but of course, my legs are sore from the constant walking. Seoul is the land of public transportation, which requires a lot of walking. Jaehoon, one of our ISA coordinators, took us on a great walking tour of Seoul. Here is a list of the places that we have been:
Seoul tower: Seoul tower had a great view of the city. There was also love lockers tree and gates for couples to lock their love forever.
Gyeongbokgung Palace: The main palace of the king (South Korea no longer has a monarchy, it is now a democracy). Fun fact: Only 30% of the original palace is left standing today; 70% was destroyed through war and Japanese occupation.
Myeongdong shopping center: The awesome shopping center, where almost anything can be bought, some expensive, some cheap.