Study Abroad Tour: The To-Do List

March 25, 2011 at 4:46 AM | Posted in (All Posts) | Leave a comment

I have no idea where to start. So much has happened to me in the past two weeks; I’ve experienced so much and I feel like I’ve become this person that I knew was really always there, but he just couldn’t come out. For those of you just joining my adventure, I’m talking about how my study abroad experience has already been the dream I’d hoped it would be.

To start from the first day and list everything I’ve done so far would take far too long, but I can at least give you a rundown of how my study at Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea, has changed my life. I know that sounds cliché, but pardon me for not caring, because it really is the truth.

In just 15 days, I have seen a different culture that I only thought I understood. The city of Daegu is so huge, so every day after class ends, it seems like the question is brought up, “What do we do now?” “We” usually being myself and my new friends – many of them Korean, but many of them exchange students just like me.

In just this one semester, three students named “David” from all parts of the world have come to Keimyung to study. I represent the David from America, while there is also a David from Germany and one from England. I have also made friends with students from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Romania, Russia, Ghana, Tanzania – I could go on and on. And these people are legitimatize, genuine friends. Being in a different country, all experiencing new things tends to bring the most unlikely people together.

And while we all have personal reasons for coming, everyone seems to have one common desire – to experience as much as we can. Allow me to list off a few things that I definitely feel proud of, and can mark off my to-do list.

*Eaten live squid (Well, OK, it was dead, but still moving)
*Been go a “jim-jeel-bang” (A Korean bathhouse)
*Seen a Daegu F.C. soccer match
*Partaken in a traditional “Korean Tea Ceremony”
*Enjoyed the heavenly food that is Korean BBQ
*Participated in – and won – a dance battle at a Korean Club
*Taken both the subway and a taxi for the first time in my life
*Shopped in “downtown” Daegu – which felt more like downtown New York
*Made so many new friends – from every corner of the Earth
*Learning to speak and write Korean
*Experienced a classroom setting in another country
*Learning Tae-Kwan-Do

I could go on for hours typing up all the things that seem exciting to me, but the greatest part is simply being here. So many times during the day, I find myself sitting in class or riding the subway. I am the foreigner in this land, and everything is so different. The dream that I’ve wanted to come true for so long is a reality. I just become numb to the fact that it’s happening right now and then I get caught up in trying to make the most of it.

As far as the classroom setting here, I am lead to believe this will be a pretty stress-free semester. I say that not because my classes will be easy, but so many teachers I talk to give one piece of advice more than anything else. It’s not “study hard” or “make straight A’s on everything.” Instead, those who have authority all seem to say, “just enjoy your time here.” I want to make the most of this opportunity, and by all means I will. That means doing well in my classes and building up my experience so this trip can benefit me in the future, but also jumping at every chance to get out and see as much as I can.

This weekend is tentatively planned to be my first real trip outside of the city of Daegu. A large group of the international students, myself included, are going to travel to Seoul on Friday and come back late Sunday. It will hopefully be the first of many trips around South Korea.

The most unfortunate thing that has happened to me, and many other exchange students as well, is getting sick. I managed to avoid this bug for some time, but it seemed like this past Saturday morning was the first sign I wasn’t doing so well. As I write this, it’s Monday evening here and I’ve been trying to take care of myself. Drinking lots of water and eating fruits seems to help. I made the “adult” decision to stay in tonight so that I might recover and not make it worse, and while it bugs me that I have to stay cooped up on campus, I at least got the chance to finish this article and share more of my journey.

With something like 16 weeks left to go, I’m sure I’ll have plenty more stories to tell.

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