Seoul, So Far


안녕하세요! My name is Macy, I am a third-year student at Pitt and I am currently studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea. I am a Marketing major and am also hoping to minor in both Music and Korean. My decision to come to Korea came somewhat hand in hand with my decision to learn the language. I began teaching myself Korean as a hobby the summer after my first year at Pitt. During my second year, I made the decision to transfer to the business school, having previously been an engineering student. I also began looking at study abroad programs around this time and started looking into Seoul. I had always known I wanted to study abroad, having never left the country in my life, but I never had my heart set on any specific location. Once I was a business student, my schedule was much more flexible than it had been with engineering and I had room to take other classes that better fit my interests, which is when I decided to pursue both of my minors. I wanted to enhance my business education and give myself a more well-rounded skill set. I figured there would be no better way to learn than to immerse myself in the language by living in Korea for several months, so I chose to study abroad in Seoul. Because I had never left the United States before, I also wanted to make the most of my semester abroad, and for me, that looked like going somewhere totally different than anywhere I had been, somewhere across the world with a whole new language and culture, where I would really put myself in a vulnerable position. I wanted to truly force myself out of my comfort zone so that I had no choice but to be brave and independent and grow as a person academically, professionally, and personally.

View from the top of Lotte World Tower

I am enrolled as a full-time Korea University student, taking 18 credits just like I would at Pitt. While there are differences in the culture, the student life is very similar. Much of my routine hasn’t changed, but the new environment makes it exciting. The one big difference I have noticed within the education system here is that I have little to no homework in my classes; my grades are primarily exam and group-project based. While the added pressure on exams is intimidating, the flexibility of being able to study and do my readings throughout the week without deadlines is ideal. It allows me to build my own schedule and still have time to go out and explore the city.

I live in a dorm for international students that is about a twenty-minute walk from campus. I have a roommate from Massachusetts, which is another new experience for me. My first year at Pitt was 2020, and due to pandemic restrictions, I never had a roommate while living in the dorm. Although I am in campus housing, I do not have a meal plan, which is a fun opportunity for me to try new foods at the local restaurants and practice some of my Korean. Some of my favorites so far are bibimbap (비빔밥) and jjimdak (찜닭).

bibimbap (비빔밥) and various side dishes (반찬), commonly served with many Korean dishes

As the semester progresses, my main goal is to be more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Making mistakes is inevitable and crucial to the language-learning process, and I must be vulnerable and willing to make mistakes in order to practice and improve my skills. There is a lot to learn while being alone in a foreign country, and I hope to become more comfortable asking for help, as well.