Friday, March 20, 2015

Hope to see you soon Seoul.

I am so glad I decided to take the risk back in the fall and apply for this abroad experience.  More than a trip, this was a learning experience for me. I definitely agree with other students who have mentioned a trip like this should be a requirement at some point in their college career.  For someone who aspires to go into foreign service, this served as a great help in my discernment.  Our first day in Seoul, I met Marymount alumni Nastacia House.  Nastacia currently works as an English teacher outside of Seoul.  I have seriously taken this into consideration after I graduate next year.  This would serve as learning experience which would aid my chances of going to grad school and starting my career while at the same time helping other students enhance their english.  Hearing foreign service officer Anthony speak of his time as an english teacher in Japan encouraged me to really consider going back.

Overall, I was very impressed with Seoul, it surpassed my expectations. Seoul really fit the "Miracle on the Han River" description.   My only disappointment is that one week was not enough. There was so much to see!  Although I did experience slight culture shock, this was not enough to make me not want to come back.  I became intrigued with their culture.   A week after returning, I miss hearing the catchy tune on the subway that signals an arriving train or walking the streets along Myeongdong.  Locals were friendly towards us, and although there was a language barrier, efforts from both sides made this a memorable experience.  I noticed that a smile and a sincere "annyeonghaseyo" (hello) or "gamsahabnida" (thank you) would be enough to obtain understanding and helpful directions.  One thing I will always remember is the curious glances I would sometimes receive.  When someone would ask me where I was from and I replied "America", they would look at Ashley and then at me puzzled.  They expected me to look like her (blonde hair).  I wished I was able to explain to them how diverse America is.   As mentioned earlier, locals were friendly towards us even more when we made an effort to speak Korean.  I was amused how they would smile or giggle after our attempts to communicate with them.  I felt safe walking the streets at night and would encounter a group of policemen on a frequent basis.  On our last day in Seoul, we accepted an invitation from Korean Students on a night out.  It is safe to say we made friends that night.  We had a chance to ask questions and know their culture a bit more. As we said farewell to them, one of them said he would not say "goodbye" instead he said, "see you soon."  This is exactly how I felt as I boarded the plane back to the US.  I hope to see you again soon Seoul.
going back home
In front of Namdaemun-one of 8 gates that surrounded the city during Josean Dynasty. 

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