What did you miss most about the USA? What will you miss about your host country when you return?
Although I’ve never had severe homesickness, it’s funny how many little things you miss when you are abroad. The things that you have considered normal for so long suddenly become so distant and easily pop through your head. Although there are many American franchises and firms in Korea that continue to be a huge influence, many aspects of my daily life at home have changed dramatically. Morning runs to the farmer’s market, drives to work and school every day, eats my favorite snacks, and the ability to spend my day in casual clothing has hinted at me ever since. However, the things I learned instead made me realize how different my life is here and how much I got used to it. Venturing to local markets, taking the bus and subway anywhere, picking up quick meals at the grocery store, studying in local cafes, and wearing more popular branded items has become so enjoyable, and I know I can absolutely do everything gonna miss this place. There’s nothing I won’t miss about Seoul, but I know that I’ll take so much more with me that it’s only worth it more.
Do you think that when you return you will experience reverse culture shock? Do you have a plan for immersing yourself back in home campus life and sharing your experience with family and friends?
After living in a very homogeneous place for so long, I expect a shock from the reverse culture when I return to the US. With a more collective mindset and strong social pressures that come with everyday life, I feel like I’ve adapted very well. However, this is a stark contrast to what I experienced in the US and I hope I can adjust accordingly. While I don’t have a set plan for how I’ll share my experience, I know that I don’t want to continually compare every difference I’ve seen in the US with that in Korea. In my opinion, there is no point in constantly comparing all the different aspects across different counties, as thinking about such differences tends to produce more flaws than positive aspects. Therefore, I hope to share my experience in an unbiased manner and not bother with negative comparisons between my life in Korea and my life in the US.
How do you intend to keep your international experience as a key factor in your life? Maintain friendships, maintain language skills, remain internationally committed?
I plan to use my international experience in such a way that I can keep a global perspective as I address different topics and use things I have learned in a way that will best suit the person I have become brings out. One thing I never thought of is all of the connections I have made, especially those that are so far from my home. While I really appreciated all the moments with the incredible people I was able to meet, it seems like more of a challenge to learn to keep in touch with them even when we all leave. I hope to use this as a great opportunity to keep in touch internationally with so many new friends who live all over the world and are connected in such unique and special ways. However, maintaining my language skills is one of the most important things that I worry about as I don’t have as many chances to practice my Korean in my daily life. Even so, I hope to be able to continue my studies on my own, hoping to learn more and hopefully become confident enough in my speaking skills to talk freely with my Korean friends and family.
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