Now that I’ve been back in the UK for a little while, I’ve had enough time to look back on the whirlwind that was my time in Korea.
The main thing that stands out for me that defines my time away are the people I met. I decided to spend the first semester staying in an international dorm with two other roommates and here was where I got to meet the amazing international community and it was a perfect introduction to exploring the country with others who were also exploring for the first time. We also got to travel to Taiwan and Japan together, and it was the most fun to bond over trying a massive variety of foods and drinks.
For my second semester, I decided to move into a homestay with a Korean family. I chose to do this because I wanted to have a unique experience and tackle living day-to-day in the city alone. I was immersed in the culture and got to see what daily life is like for young people too, as the family had two sons aged around 17 and 21. Home-cooked Korean food is always amazing and it was so nice to have a family there looking out for me, and being able to return the generosity by welcoming them to stay with us back in the UK.
Studying as an international student, it was interesting to meet other students and seeing how they go about learning and organising themselves as we have all grown up in different school systems. It was interesting to see how student events are different in universities around the world, too, as each country seems to have its own unique student traditions for university students. In the UK this may be society socials, and in Korea the equivalent was going on trips away with a big group of classmates, similar to team-building in the UK.
I absolutely loved my time away, and I think every student should take the time to live in a completely different culture, to experience life as a foreigner and meeting new people and learning how they live, trying the food, and just having an adventure. I miss my time there already, but am so happy that I got the chance to live in Korea and have such an amazing time there.
I did an almost-daily blog at emllew.blogspot.com and, while most of the photos are of food and the frequency of updating it seems to dwindle towards the end, it gives a little more insight into what day-to-day life was like for me.