Korea, Thank You and 사랑해.

Guest Post By: Amy Lin, a Senior studying Finance and Information Systems. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through Foster Exchange at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, during Spring Semester 2022.

With the amount of uncertainty the pandemic has brought to studying abroad, I was sad, to say the least, when I got notified of the cancellations of all fall programs. I felt like my opportunity to study abroad in college was no longer there. Luckily, things were starting to look better, and now, I am here in Korea writing this blog for you all. I am not exaggerating, but studying abroad has been the best decision I have made. I can’t say that it was an easy process. The pandemic has added many more obstacles to tackle, but it was all worth it. The experience is like no other, regardless of an ongoing pandemic or not.

One of the best things about my time abroad in Korea is the amazing people I have met. As an introvert, one of the biggest things that scared me was making friends. I thought I was going to have to take on Korea alone. Lucky enough, I had such a wonderful partner with me to begin tackling Korea. Shout out to Erika, a fellow foster exchanger, who I met only a couple of weeks prior to our departure. We are now the best of friends. Besides Erika, all of my friends that I have made have been in the most random way. I happened to walk into my room and saw the husky gear on the desk. I didn’t expect to room with another exchange student from UW; it was a crazy coincidence, to say the least. What are the odds? I also did not expect to meet a lifelong friend through airdrop either. Now, I find myself spending most of my days in Korea with them.

Studying abroad also gives you the chance to fully immerse yourself in a new culture and experience it firsthand. You’ll be able to try new foods, listen to traditional music, participate in local activities, and discover everything else your host country has to offer while living abroad. As for me, I tried things I never thought I would try. I went to six different places outside of Seoul and went to events alone despite the language barrier. Do not be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone because it is one of the things that makes the whole experience so valuable and worthwhile!

The program has sadly come to an end, and I am forever grateful to have been given the opportunity to study abroad. Who gets the chance to live abroad for an extended period of time? Not everyone! It is more than simply moving to a new place and continuing my studies. It’s an experience that can’t be replicated in a traditional classroom setting. My time abroad has changed my life, and I am sad to see it end. Despite some ups and downs, my time here in Korea has been nothing short of amazing. It is quite fascinating to see your own culture through the eyes of somebody else’s. I have also learned so much about myself and developed greatly as a person. All my friends and family could tell I had become a new person abroad. All things considered, it is about what you are willing to make of it. Every experience is different, but that is the beauty of studying abroad. It is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.