Taking Things In

Guest Post By: Jenny Jeong, a Senior studying Accounting, Information Systems, CISB, and Korean. 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 2023.

Studying abroad is a rare opportunity to live in another country long enough to be immersed into its sights, scenes, and society. Many of us will be aware, almost painfully aware of this the moment we step into the airport of our host country. I was not an exception. During my first month studying abroad in South Korea, I always felt like I was rushing against the calendar to do as many things as possible to fully utilize the limited time I have here. 

While this sort of panicked exploration may seem to bring out your hidden efficiency, for me, it was a fast-track to travel burnout and a realization that while I was visiting so many different locations, I couldn’t remember specifics about any particular one. Luckily, I reached this discovery in my early phases of touring Seoul and before I explored outside of the big city. During my subsequent expeditions to Jeonju and Busan, I made sure to take a deep breath, take things slow, and take things in.

In Jeonju, I was able to take some much-needed time away from the bustling city and visit the famous traditional Hanok Village. I visited my mother’s alma mater and can now finally put a location to the stories I heard from her growing up. I also confirmed, as I was told again and again since I was a child, that there is no bad food in Jeonju. But then again, there was no bad food in Busan either, as restaurant after restaurant served amazing and affordable seafood alongside beautiful coastlines. Instead of rushing from one location to the next, I tried to take moments in each location to fully acknowledge what was passing through my senses. As precious as each moment was, I couldn’t let them rush by as I did before.

During your time abroad, I fully recommend going to as many cities in your country as you can, within the bounds of your ability to process the sights, scents, sounds, and savor these senses. It’s so easy for study abroad experiences to pass by like a blur, and you need to make a conscious effort to make sure you remember your invaluable memories with energy and clarity.