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By: Kwthar Debbarma, PGDM-A
Semester Abroad Experience in South Korea
Ahnyeonghasaeyo! Greetings from South Korea. I had just spent 4 months in Busan, South Korea and wow, everything had been an adventure! The Korean language, their food, and the urban culture, all of these I miss very much.
I loved living in a city and learning something new about Korea every day. Korea is really convenient to stay:the transportation, food, and shopping are easy. The subway system and bells on each table to ask for the waiter are so convenient and the food is absolutely amazing; who could get tired of being in South Korea? Their punctuality regarding almost everything makes things better.
Korean people dress quite elegantly and are friendly and interesting. Their fashion and sense of etiquette are drastically different Also, technology is very advanced and efficient, touch screens and display screens everywhere you go. I am now able to envision myself living in other countries.
Being abroad in Korea for a duration of 4 months has helped me develop into a more adaptive and independent person. I feel like I have grown a lot as a person; experiencing a completely different lifestyle has broadened my perspective and made me more curious to try new things.
Not knowing the Korean language was actually a good challenge to have. Having difficulty communicating with people actually made me listen more attentively and use words I know to convey my message rather than looking things up on a translating app. Nonetheless, just being forced to get better at Korean language is itself a fun aspect of studying abroad. With a language barrier, I feel that I sometimes struggle or become confused, but overall, I have become more patient and open-minded to learn more about the language and how to communicate with people who do not speak the same language. I believe that having a group of friends one feels comfortable with is the key to having a great experience in another country.
Getting used to the lifestyle and fitting in with the locals may take a while but getting your life started is quite fast and easy in Busan. Most locals do not speak English, but the public services were quite foreigner friendly overall. You could easily find a mobile service provider or a bank at any corner of the city and most of the branches had English speaking staffs to help foreigners get started with the basic necessities with complete ease. Aside from that, traveling from one place to another whether by foot or the metro is always easy. The Busan metro is extremely easy to understand and convenient to get around and I believe that Busan is the kind of city where you could get to any place just by walking because the structure of their streets is so connected and well planned. Getting lost was never really a concern for me in Busan because I know that I would always find my way somehow. Furthermore, Busan is probably one of the safest cities I have ever been to.
This exchange programme has definitely been one of the best experiences in my life and I honestly think that everyone should definitely try living in a foreign country for at least a few months. The exposure and life lessons you gain from such an experience is invaluable. I am so glad that I did not give in to my initial fear of living in a foreign country without being able to speak the language. After living in Busan and having made so many new foreign friends, I wish to explore other countries and maybe someday I will return to South Korea to visit the places that I wasn’t able to visit during my exchange.
I am very much thankful to my institution for giving me such as wonderful opportunity to go abroad and study in South Korea.