Jasmine Lam: Growth from Studying Abroad in Korea
In the fall of my junior year, I embarked on a transformative journey by studying at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. Coming from the familiar surroundings of the Bay Area, venturing into a foreign country on my own felt overwhelming, especially considering the language barrier. However, as I gradually acclimated to my new environment and embraced the local culture, I began to fully immerse myself in the experience. My time in Korea proved to be a profound period of self-discovery, cultural enlightenment, and the development of a broader global perspective.
Coming back to SCU, I faced the challenge of assimilating what I had learned in Korea into my life on campus. The transition was difficult at first due to the different atmosphere, people, and an overall contrasting setting. In Korea, each day was unique, with new cities to explore, unfamiliar cafes to visit, and spontaneous adventures with my friends. Life abroad seemed to be a whirlwind of excitement, whereas back at SCU, it was a more structured and relaxed environment. Initially, I struggled to envision how I could easily readjust to college life in California. However, as time went on, I gradually came to appreciate the benefits and comfort of being back on familiar ground.
Returning to SCU allowed me to recognize the elements and interactions I have missed, including studying on the SCDI terrace, encounters with friends while walking to class, and the beautiful California weather. Being back on campus provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my personal growth before I went abroad.
One of the biggest lessons I learned abroad was how to be alone. Being an extrovert, I love being around people day in and day out. Even though I still prefer to constantly be around my peers, I came to understand the value of being alone. I learned to appreciate the beauty in being able to eat alone in a restaurant, study alone, go on solo adventures, and just be content with myself. Learning this has translated into my life back at SCU by allowing me to have a more balanced lifestyle with friends, clubs, and other commitments.