Approaching a New Adventure

Study Abroad Blog

Approaching a New Adventure


When I first arrived at Incheon Airport in Seoul, I couldn't fathom that I was finally on the soil of the very country I loved and dreamed of visiting for the longest time. Although I was miles away from my home in Texas in a foreign land surrounded by strangers, I did not feel scared. The excitement of discovering Seoul on my own overshadowed any uncertainty I had from traveling alone. 




Seoul (Sinchon-dong which is where Yonsei University is located) was more lively and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. During my stay there, I was fortunate enough to stretch my budget to accommodate multiple excursions with the friends I made ( in full transparency, I brought about $1000 in spending money). We tried both Korean staples and foreign cuisine, visited Lotte World, and shopped at Myeong-dong among many other things. And when it comes to food, there were only a handful of American fast food chain restaurants such as McDonald's and Taco Bell. So when you are in South Korea, you should expect more Korean and Japanese inspired restaurants to satisfy your cravings. It is also common for international foods to be pricier too - so keep that in mind! However, everything is priced well with huge servings and numerous sides. You'll never leave with an empty stomach!


lotte world


One of the things that gave me comfort when I was away from my family were the amazing people that I befriended. We were all figuring it out and that shared experience made our trip even more worth it. One of the students, we called her "T" , was more proficient in the language than the rest of us, so she volunteered to help guide us as we explored the city together. I cannot stress enough the importance of making friends and reaching out to the other students in your program because chances are they are in the same boat as you and are looking for a friend in an unfamiliar place too. Or in some cases, they already know a few things about Seoul or South Korea in general and may be happy to help you navigate the area during your stay. 


coex mall


In our many times traveling together as a group, Seoul offered the city life in an aesthetic that was unique in its own right. Spaces are compact, but Koreans have made the most of their space. Every shop and restaurant was beautiful with an aesthetic embodying 'cute' . Even the mundane road signs in Hangul that I passed to and from Incheon Airport were their own form of art. And while my Korean only slightly improved during my study abroad program (it was only for 3 weeks after all), I found utility in what I learned. It is truly amazing how even a basic command of any language can help you get around. There is also a sense of accomplishment when the other party is able to understand your Korean - even if it is broken. 


seoul streets


However, it's not to say that I loved every minute of my time abroad. During the second week of my stay, I started to feel homesick and actually spent a day alone in my dorm. It was different being on my own abroad as opposed to traveling with family. To try to combat it, I called my family. They were extremely excited for me and were asking a lot of questions about the things I have seen so far. But when I told them I missed them dearly, they quickly caught on that I was homesick. They encouraged me to take as much rest as I needed and also talked to me about all the exciting things I can look forward to during the rest of my program. It wasn't long before I was back on my feet traversing the streets of Seoul in search of my next adventure. 

I think taking walks around the city also helped me combat my homesickness. People are the same on a basic level wherever they hail from and you'll quickly notice similarities between your country and your host country. I found that it was comforting for me to do this as it helped me process my feelings while remembering memories from home. It gave me a new appreciation for home and it shifted my feelings from loneliness while missing home to excitedly going back to share what I have experienced. 


Now that I am back in America, I realize how much of a privilege it was to be able to travel abroad. I will surely keep all the memories I made abroad there - the silly and the profound- because it is not every day that I am able to just travel overseas. So, I implore you to enjoy every minute of it. Experience it with your senses and capture it with your eyes (and your camera since we live in the digital age). I guarantee that even after you return home, you'll recall all that you experienced and keep your desire for discovering new places burning bright. 


I wanted to stay indefinitely, but my plans did not allow for that. However, I , for one, am already looking forward to the next time I visit. 


This post was contributed by Bianca, a study abroad alumni from Spring 2023. Bianca is a Finance major who studied abroad in South Korea.