Last semester, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) in Seoul, South Korea through Eastern New Mexico University and the CONAHEC program.
Apart from the occasional overwhelming sensation of living in the fourth largest city in the world, I was quite intimidated by my fellow international students at HUFS. Most students spoke at least three languages (including English) and were quite well traveled having been to more countries than I may ever be able to visit in my lifetime. Never having been out of the country before, South Korea was my first international experience and a country that I hope to visit again someday.
Apart from the fun of traveling Seoul with friends, I took seven grueling classes which, thankfully, were all taught in English. I took one Survival Korean Course twice a week so I could learn more than just the basics of the language in order to get around comfortably during my semester.
I attended a church that provided an English service for foreigners that I went to regularly with some of the nicest people I have ever met. I even applied to be an English tutor and had a great class of six of my fellow peers who met every Monday in hopes to be more comfortable with the language and more knowledgeable of North American culture and customs.
Most of the Korean people I met in South Korea spoke a little English or could at least understand my little Korean. I managed to get around easily enough and had a great time exploring the city with my camera in hand every chance I could.
I am incredibly thankful to those who helped me even make it to South Korea. Studying abroad is one of the most liberating and eye-opening experiences a student can have. If you have the opportunity, take it. There may be difficulties like expenses, time, credits and all that, but it is quite worth it in the long run. Life is too short to regret the plans dreamed, but never followed through.