After a fantastic week spent in China, it was finally time to get to South Korea. I had been wanting to go there for a while now and I could not be more excited to finally get there. Our flight from Beijing wasn’t until the afternoon, but it would take us a while to get to the airport and holy cow, Beijing airport is HUGE and we wanted to give ourselves some extra time to get to our gate. So we left our hostel at around 6:30am and got in a taxi (our driver was great and used what little English he knew to chat with us most of the way there) and we were on our way!
We got to the airport and to our gate with plenty of time to spare, thankfully. I could hardly sit still as I was so excited. The flight was only about 2 hours long and it seemed to go even quicker than that. As we flew into Incheon airport I got my first glimpses of the country I would call home for the next year and I remember the butterflies in my stomach from the excitement. Once we landed, made our way through security and immigration we were off to find the shuttle that would take us to our school. Thankfully, Soonchunhyang University (순천향대학교) had shuttles set up so the students didn’t have to worry about finding our way there, we just hopped on the bus and were taken straight to our dorm. There were a few other students who had already arrived and were waiting so we signed in and joined them until the rest of that day’s students showed up. Then we got loaded onto the bus and began the roughly two-hour drive to school. To be honest, I slept the whole way there; I was exhausted! I woke up as we came into Sinchang, the small town our university was located in. Up the mountain, our bus took us and soon we were parked outside Global Village (this is the dorm where all of the international students are housed).
The dorms were set up in a suite style with a common living area, two bathrooms, and six bedrooms. There were two people per bedroom making our suite 12 members. Now here’s the really cool part, Korean students lived with us. There were roughly eight Korean students to every four international students (English-speaking international students for my program). These Korean students were the ones who were either English majors or were looking to increase the English language skill. Having these students live with us was such an incredible experience and helped both parties with language skills as we would help with English and they would help with Korean. My first-semester suite was fantastic and all of the girls were so friendly to us foreigners. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of my suite second semester, but they were just as lovely!
I spent the first couple of weeks near campus as we had orientation and then classes soon after. Also, I was very limited in my Korean language ability and wasn’t willing to push my luck too much the first couple weeks! 🙂
(So I’m about to get a little sappy here, just a warning. 😉
I just wanted to add that there are so many more details that I could add, but then I would never be able to finish writing. I love South Korea and the people there so much and I miss living there so much that I am tearing up as I write this. Looking back on my year there, there is not a single thing that I would’ve changed, as in this year I was able to find myself. As cheesy as it sounds, I really did. This year wasn’t just about learning inside a classroom, it was about learning about myself, what I can do, and facing fears each day. And this was exactly what I did.)