Hi, I am Helena. I decided to study abroad and guess what? Though I have been abroad for more than three weeks, it has not hit me that I finally made it to South Korea. After having heard so many people tell me “no”, I finally got the one “yes” I wanted to hear. It has not been an easy journey but I am proud to be here in Seoul, South Korea.
I took an airplane ride with an layover. I had to go from California to Taipei to Incheon. After I took several naps on the plane ride from LAX to Taipei, the jet lag effect started to get to me. My body started to ache, I had bags under my eyes. The only good thing that came from this layover was meeting my roommate, who has since become my mom away from home.
On the flight from Taipei to Korea, we faced a lot of turbulence. After a span of a day and a half, I finally stood on Korean soil. Just like that, I went from sitting on a plane to sitting on a bus to Korea University. On the bus ride from the airport to Korean University, I met two people that I have become close to.
Once I arrived at the dorms, I tried to get rest and catch up on the 16-hour difference. After having orientation the next day, that is where it all started. We went to Gyeongbok Palace, where we saw the most beautiful and historical palace I have ever seen. From there we met three boys who made our group into big foodies. We went to the Gwangjang Market, Hongdae, and The Han river.
Not only did we turn to the food in excitement but also the culture. We dressed in traditional Hanboks and saw the Jogyesa Temple. We lived to the fullest until classes began. After they began, one would think that it would stop us from exploring so much. But, one would be wrong. It only slowed us down for awhile! But when the weekends came around we were back to our exploring selves. During the weekends, we went to Noraebangs, Hongdae, Seoul Tower, Myeongdong, Gangnam and way too many cafes.
Like I stated in the beginning, it still hasn’t hit me that I’m here, studying abroad. It still feels like a dream. I hope this dream never ends.
Helena Espinoza is a student at California State University Dominguez Hills and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying with ISA in Seoul, South Korea.