By Tatiana Condouret, Foster Undergraduate who studied at the Yonsei University in Korea
Despite being extremely certain of all the decisions I made that ultimately led me to the point of arriving in Seoul, my first day was overwhelmingly stressful. Traveling to a non-English speaking country knocked me off my feet betraying the false sense of comfort I thought I had. Once I got past my first day and my eventual coming to terms with not being able to read any road signs, street names, and restaurant menus, everything fell into place, sort of.
As an advocate for risk taking and getting out of your comfort zone, I highly recommend studying abroad in a country that you don’t remotely speak the language. It’s important to experience those cultures you haven’t familiarized yourself with. Globalization has made it more difficult to go to remote parts of the world that you’ve never heard of, but physically living and experiencing something you never thought you had an interest in will lead you to some of the most incredible places.
While in Korea, I not only chose to live outside of the dorms, in the city, but I also chose to travel as frequently as money and classes would allow. I met friends that I couldn’t have met had I stayed in that confines of the school grounds. I did things, like hot yoga in Korean without any fundamentals in the language, that I couldn’t have experienced had I not pushed myself to try something new.
My biggest piece of advice for anyone planning to study abroad, be strategic in planning your location and the classes you are going to take. I knew learning a new language could be exciting but it would also require a lot of time and practice and can be difficult. I chose to go and experience rather th
an taking classes that would require me to spend a lot of extra time studying. I found success in my academic life and my social life because I knew my priorities and accounted for them in the planning phases back home. Listen to those around you, but ultimately trust yourself and your gut. Had I taken the advice of everyone around me half of these pictures wouldn’t exist!