Staying Connected Abroad

girl standing on stairway lined with colorful locks; seoul tower in the background
The many Love Locks leading to Seoul Tower!

Packing your bags and moving to a new country during the middle of a world-wide pandemic can be daunting, especially when leaving all of your friends and family behind. However, the pandemic has taught the world how to become more virtual. This way, you can still be annoyed by your younger sibling(s) abroad!

While traveling and seeing so many new things, I began to miss my best friends back home. So, I decided to go to Seoul Tower and FaceTime one of my best friends. Even though she was not physically with me, we still had a great time together.

Together we went to the top of the Tower where you can see all of Seoul, South Korea. Inside the observatory, there are two levels, both with panoramic viewing. After looking around, I decided to stop at the cafe located on the second level of the tower to sit and catch up with my friend. Back home, we would go to coffee shops regularly. Doing this even over facetime helped some of my homesickness.

View of Seoul from Seoul tower
This is just one of the amazing views you can see from Seoul Tower.

After catching up, I left the tower and showed her the multitude of locks surrounding Seoul Tower’s fences. These locks are known as love locks. Many couples travel to Seoul Tower to write their names on a lock and lock it onto the fences. This has now become a thing for everyone around the world. It is no longer something couples do but also individuals, families, and friends. So, of course, I had to leave a lock behind with my name on it. But to make the moment better, I bought my best friend a lock as well. She told me what to put on it and help me determine where to put the locks.

Bridge with fencing covered in colorful "love locks"
There are thousands of locks and some almost a decade old!
The locks my best friend and I locked.

Even though this transition can be rough. It is key to find the little moments to connect with that friend back home, even if you are taking them on a virtual tour of another country. Staying connected with others back home will help you through this experience – as well as staying in the loop on each other’s safety with the pandemic!

Erin King is a student at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. She is an ISA Featured Blogger and is studying abroad with ISA in Seoul, South Korea.

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