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/
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.
I’m currently blogging whilst watching South Korea’s Dancing with the Stars from a hotel in Incheon, South Korea! I am studying abroad at Kangwon National University on a full scholarship to participate in their Forest Summer Program from 23 JUN to 14 JUL thanks to Professor Choi, former visiting professor at Virginia Tech. I will be joining two other Hokies along with students from China, and Malaysia to take courses in Forest Management and Resources, Landscape Architecture, Paper Engineering, and of course, the Korean language, just to name a few. We’re also going to participate in fieldwork at Nami Island and the Korean National Arbortum. This is my first study abroad trip and I’m glad it’s a country that’s not traditionally known as a “Top Study Abroad” destination!
Two years ago, I was afraid of wanting anything. I figured wanting would lead to trying, and trying would lead to failure. But now I find I can’t stop wanting… I want to fly somewhere in first class. I want to travel to Europe on a business trip. I want to get invited to the White House. I want to learn about the world. I want to surprise myself. I want to be important. I want to be the best person I can be. I want to define myself, instead of having others define me. I want to win and have people be happy for me. I want to lose and get over it. I want to not be afraid of the unknown. I want to grow up to be generous and big hearted, the way that people have been with me. I want an interesting and surprising life.
It’s not that I think I am going to get all these things. I just want the possibility of getting them. College represents possibility. The possibility that things are going to change. I can’t wait.