By Tarin Davis
My experience travelling abroad and studying in Seoul, South Korea was hands down one of the best decisions I have ever made. I feel anyone reading this only needs to be aware of one obstacle that comes with making the decision to study abroad. That is overcoming the fear of stepping into the unknown. I’m not going to lie, before I was about to leave I was seriously second guessing my decision to go. I had numerous thoughts running through my head like “what on earth are you thinking, you don’t even speak Korean, you don’t know anyone, you will be all alone in a foreign country….” and the list goes on. However once you get past this hurdle (easier said than done right?), get ready for the adventure of your life.
After getting lost on my way to Hanyang University which turned into a mini adventure in itself, I finally arrived. It wasn’t until I was settled in Seoul that the realisation hit that I had now entered the realm of the unknown. I loved every minute of it!
One of the biggest highlights of my experience was the people I met along the way. We all had common interests where we were all in the same boat from the very start. None of us knew anyone but we all had similar personalities and passions where we wanted to experience new cultures, lifestyles, travel and create global friendships. I made the decision not to stay in the dormitories offered but stayed in accommodation (Unidence) just outside the main gate of Hanyang University where I ended up living with around fifty other exchange students. We all had our own rooms and bathrooms where living, dining and kitchen areas were shared.
The best part about living with such a big group was that we went out and did everything together whether it was one big group or smaller groups. If you wanted to go sight-seeing or grab a bit to eat, there would always be at a few others that wanted to come too. Of course when it came to going out at night, everyone was all in. From Germany, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Morocco, Mexico, Turkey, Sweden, Finland and Indonesia, the people that I lived with during the semester were from all over the world and I treasure the friendships I have made with them all.
I will also be the first to admit that South Korea was never on my bucket list of countries to visit. It wasn’t until I was there that I realised that the country is a cultural wonderland and the history is incredible especially regarding the hostility between North and South Korea. Visiting the demilitarised zone (DMZ), the joint security area (JSA) and going down into one of the tunnels are some of the experiences I will never forget. Also again not going to lie, seeing Psy perform Gangnam Style was out of this world. The atmosphere was incredible. Pictures do speak a thousand words regarding my experience in South Korea so I’ve added a few of my favourites below.
In the end, the opportunity to travel and study is a once in a lifetime opportunity not to be missed out on and I urge you to get out there and create your own adventure before you finish up with your studies. The experience completely opened my eyes and I’m extremely happy I got the chance to experience one crazy amazing adventure studying and travelling abroad. As the title of my blog says, life is meant for good friends and great adventures and I found both during my exchange abroad.