My spectacular day in Sinan could only provide a glimmer of how amazing my study abroad trip in South Korea is going so far. If you could only walk in my shoes, you just might see why I decided to study in South Korea once again. The beautiful cities, unique culture, my amazing teaching job, and interesting classes and professors make up only half of my remarkable experience living and studying in South Korea. The other half, of course, are filled with the lifelong friends that I have had the pleasure and privilege of sharing this journey with thus far. We started off as strangers but by tackling the Korean language barrier, getting lost in travels, celebrating birthdays, meeting new people, and sharing our cultures with each other, together we have picked each other up and grew along the way.
However, there is a dark side to studying abroad. Yes, we lament over financial issues we college students must encounter, grumble over cafeteria food, complain about our academic struggles, and of course, occasionally quibble with each other. But the dangerous and unpredictable nightmare that is study abroad is without a doubt saying goodbye when it is all over. We have a little over a month left with each other but this simply means that now, more than ever, we must make every day count. Visiting Sinan today is an exemplary portrayal of this.
Exams are finally over so now I have the final lap until finals. For the first half of the semester, my mind has been preoccupied with my transfer university but now all I truly care about is making sure I’m living each day by making the most with my friends!
Did you know that South Korea’s Spring semester starts in March? I didn’t, and as a result I’ve had the pleasure of fitting in two month’s worth of vacation under my belt. All of January was spent interning at the Smithsonian Office of Fellowships and Internships and the Museum Support Center and February was when the traveling began.
I went to Singapore not only to attend Yale-NUS’s Visit Day but also visit my cousin’s family who so graciously took us in and gave us a tour of some of the great tourist sites of Singapore such as Universal Studios, the Aquarium, and the Esplanade, amongst others.
Afterwards I spent an amazing week in Sydney with my cousins whom I met for the first time!
Taronga Zoo, Sydney
Happy Birthday Andrew!
Heading downtown in Gwangju
lol my korean buddy
Professor Grotjohn, American professor here at Chonnam National University, took the North American students out to dinner! Thank you!
Invited to speak at GFN Radio!
Surprise birthday present for Rizki
Scavenger hunt in Yeongnam!
The past couple of weeks have included:
visting Gwangju International Center downtown
Dinner with Professor Grotjohn
speaking as a guest on GFN 98.7 FM
visiting Seoul and Chuncheon
rizki’s surprise birthday visit and noraebang celebration
AND MUCH MORE!
Most of my adventures have been recorded on my travel blog (azurinj.studentsgoneglobal.com) including some brief commentary on North Korea and more pictures. Take a looooooooook. Also teaching this semester is going well.
More pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeresnack/
Quite a lot has occurred even though the year barely started. I completed two winter internships at the Smithsonian, applied to three colleges, interviewed for a number of summer internships, wrote a ton of study abroad essays, got a dog, two of my cousins each had a baby, and received my visas for some upcoming travel. In less than forty-eight hours, I’ll be leaving for Singapore for four days, Australia for a week, and then South Korea for my Spring semester to learn Korean. But it doesn’t stop there; in May and June I’ll be attending two family weddings in the Philippines! This eastern hemisphere world tour is just what I needed since last semester was academically brutal. On top of traveling to DC almost every weekend, presenting at my first conference, TEDxVirginiaTech, my Korean study abroad application, a twenty-hour part-time job, and two graduate level courses, I still managed to receive a glowing 3.7 grade point average.
This upcoming spring semester in South Korea should definitely be an entirely different challenge despite having studied there in the past. I’ll be planted in Gwangju, a city around seven-to-eight hours south of where I studied last summer in Chuncheon. This means that I will have a completely new support network to explore all by myself, unlike the the group of two other Americans I had before. While I am more than excited, this new adventure is only now starting to hit me — all before I had the chance to pack! Moving on to the rightful next step of my life.
This has been one crazy ride of a semester. From driving five hours every weekend to DC, grad school interviews, TEDxVirginiaTech, teaching, and balancing out school, work, and study abroad/internship applications, I’m glad to finally say I’m almost over. While I don’t have any final exams or assignments, I’m staying here in Blacksburg for an extra week because I want to earn some extra money because I’ll be interning at the Smithsonian again over break.