Dear Korea, (from. Catherine)

Four crazy months have come and gone, and I cannot believe I am sitting in America writing my last article for Hanyang University Business School. It seems like yesterday I arrived at Incheon airport when it was freezing cold at the end of February, and now I am sitting back at home in the warm Florida sunshine. Thinking back on my time in Seoul, it seems like a part of someone else’s life, and I can’t believe it is actually mine. Being in Korea has taught me a few things, and I know these are things that have changed me for the better.

The first thing I learned is that time is fleeting. Four months seems like a long time when you arrive, but once you’re living your life, it goes by in a blink of an eye. I encourage going sightseeing as early on as possible and to make a bucket list of all the things you want to do before you leave Korea. While it may be really cold when you arrive, brave the cold and go explore the city. I think I missed out on seeing some things because I was waiting for the weather to be warmer, but by then, I had injured my leg and walking around was extremely difficult.  Don’t put it off until tomorrow because then there may be no more tomorrows.

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Next, exploring a culture other than your own is challenging and rewarding. I came to Korea because I wanted to be challenged, and I was challenged in more ways than one. I promise that you will get use to all of the hills and stairs and love all of the views you will get to see because of it. I promise that reading Korean will seem impossible when you arrive, but by the end of the semester, you will be ordering food in Korean and impressing all your friends at home with your reading skills. At the beginning, K-pop might not be your thing or the clothes might be strange to you. However, by the end, you will have K-pop songs stuck in your head, and you will be sitting at home wishing you bought more of the cute socks.

Lastly though, Korea is a place which I fell in love with the people more than the place. I have met so many incredible, smart, and talented people during my time at Hanyang. Taking a few minutes to get to know someone can teach you so much about a culture and a way of life other than your own. Sometimes it seems that the world as a whole is a negative place, but I know this is wrong. There are so many people who want to help and want to be kind, and this is something that spans across all cultures. Kindness knows no language barriers.

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In conclusion, I am so grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn in Korea. This experience is one of the most challenging and amazing experiences of my life, and I wouldn’t change a single second of it.  I promise that you will have the time of your life, and you will grow in ways you did not know you needed. So thank you Korea for expanding my horizons and showing me that beautiful places and people exist on the other side of the world. This is not a goodbye, but I will see you later!


Article by Catherine from the U.S.A.

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