Pre-Departure: Seoul, South Korea

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When I first decided that I wanted to study aboard in Seoul, South Korea at Yonsei University, I really didn’t take my own words seriously. I always dreamed about living in another country and experiencing life through someone else’s eyes. But I never thought that I could ever commit to such a big deal because I didn’t believe that it could be possible. I never really had the opportunity to step outside of my own comfort zone before. But as my departure day gets closer, it’s all starting to sink in.

Growing up in a family of Cambodian immigrants, I had the opportunity to experience my own native culture through my parents and family. But being born here has exposed me to the American culture as well. Now, my household is a mixture of Cambodian and American values. It’s interesting to say the least but coming from a different background has allowed me to be more open in terms of culture. So when I’m studying abroad in South Korea, I know that I’m going to soak in the culture very quickly because everything is new and exciting.

Going through the process of the application, getting a passport and gathering all the necessary documents really put things into perspective. I was able to plan ahead and look into the future for just a bit. I was picturing myself where I would be 6 months from now. And it was a real eye opener; this is going to be my first time out of the country let alone my first time on a plane and I’m already a nervous wreck just thinking about it. I have already set up so many high expectations and goals that I want to reach while I’m abroad and I hope I meet them while I’m there.

Just thinking about myself being away from home for so long gets me both nervous but excited at the same time. It’s going to be an opportunity for me to face the real world, hands on. I can either make it or break it. But if I don’t try at all, I’m going to fall and never get up. I want to try and gain experiences. It will help me become a better person and become more well prepared when I truly graduate and head out into the work field.

For me, I see this as a great opportunity knocking at my door and I’m going to do everything that I can to take it. Being a student abroad opens so many great doors but most importantly, I’m able to open my eyes to a world bigger than the one I already know. The struggles that I face everyday maybe different to the next person. But I’m willing to learn from their choices and actions and take notes. I can learn from them and use their lifestyles and ways to help build more opportunities for myself.

The experience of studying abroad is unique to each person and I want to be able to tell my kids one day about it.

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