3rd week in Korea, 1st week of Class at Korea University

Hello everyone my name is Sean McGauley, I am 22 and a fifth year student in Pitt Business majoring in Global Management with minors in French and Italian.  I am originally from Malvern, PA in the suburbs of Philadelphia; in my free time I enjoy a variety of things from music (I have a collection that would take literally 2 months to listen to from start to finish) and movies to hiking, biking, and fermenting various foods (my most recent project being kombucha).

Fun fact: this is my second time studying abroad, but the first time I didn’t actually complete the semester; I had my foot run over while I was studying in Florence which resulted in 4 broken bones, 13 days in the hospital, and 3 separate surgeries, one of which occurred back in the states 9 months later.

As the title suggests, this is now my third week in Korea and I’ve already had a good amount of time to get settle in and get to know my surroundings.  I chose Korea University because I wanted an experience that would put me firmly in a place that would be well out of my comfort zone.  I would say that Seoul has largely lived up to this expectation, but the student body of Korea University creates a place that helps assuage this feeling.  The university is unique in that 20% of the student body is international, and as a result it is very easy to meet a lot of new and interesting people that are struggling equally as much as you are.

Initially I was worried that my lack of basic understanding of the Korean language would be a detriment to my experience.  It has admittedly gotten in the way of some things, but there always seems to be a way to get your message across or find some way of understanding what surrounds you here. I’ve also already had my fair share of struggles such as a broken computer charger and a run in with some very persistent mosquitos, but I can elaborate on these another day.

I am very thankful for the opportunity I have been given, and I am equally thankful for the people that have helped me get here.  I am very excited to get to know everyone better as the semester continues and look forward to everything this beautiful country has to offer.

Fair warning to anyone studying abroad in the fall semester: If you’re arriving in the country sometime around mid/late August, you will be met with a lot of rain. I mean a lot. It rained over 2 inches the day I arrived and everything I had not vacuum packed was soaked.

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