Arts & Culture

Studying abroad in South Korea

If not now, then when?

Studying abroad in South Korea
An alley in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Alexandra Florent)
written by Alexandra Florent
September 4, 2015 6:00 am

We live in a world where televisions, smartphones, video games and social media are some of our only connections to the outside world.

Instead of going out and exploring the world, we repost pins of future travel destinations and watch movies about extravagant vacations.

In late June, I decided I wanted to travel for my second year while taking distance courses: there was more out there than the approval of my followers on Instagram and Tumblr. I took a leap of faith anddecided to change my scenery from a laptop screen to a baby blue sky and bright green trees.

I am a second-year student at Dalhousie writing this article from the comfort of my home in East Asia.

My permanent home for the next eight months will be in Seoul, South Korea, though in the following months I will visit China, Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and North Korea.

When I first arrived in Seoul, I was astonished how different and similar the city was compared to North America. Within my first few hours here I was able to see how significantly different the culture, landmarks, entertainment, transportation, heritage and environment is compared to Canada and the USA.

However, it is even more fascinating to see how Korea, Canada and the USA can be similar when it comes to food, shopping, museums, faith and the standard of living.

The biggest thing to catch my attention is how the atmosphere changes tremendously from block to block. One moment you will be in a Korean-speaking area, then only a few streets down you will run into an area where there are many Europeans or Americans.

Living approximately 60km away from North Korea, it is interesting to learn about the truce between North and South Korea.

The demilitarized zone at the border of North and South Korea still exists, acting like the cold war never ended between the nations.

I see that through education and hard work, South Koreans have formed a new world for themselves and made their country inimitable with technology, knowledge and schooling.

By writing down my experiences, I hope to inspire other students to take a similar leap of faith.

There is nothing better in life than that feeling of excitement and anticipation when exploring a new world.

There’s more to life than computers and phones – instead of using Google to answer all of your questions about life, go out there and find them yourself.

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