I can’t believe my time in Seoul is coming to an end. Classes have ended, and I am finishing up my final exams this week. In 10 days, I will be boarding the 12-hour flight back to the States, before my layover to Pittsburgh. I’m very excited to come home, but I am certainly going to miss my new home away from home. Fortunately, I allotted a few extra days after the end of the semester to do some final sight-seeing in Seoul before my flight back.
I am looking forward to my next semester at Pitt with the new knowledge I have gained from my learning experiences here, which I can apply to my studies, my job, and my personal life. As I had hoped, I got a lot of practice with being in uncomfortable and unknown situations, and I am more confident when I need to ask for help or don’t know what to do. It is easier said than done, and while we are always told it is okay to ask questions and not always have the answers, it is difficult to relieve that pressure you often put on yourself without actually putting that mindset into practice. Being in a place where you don’t speak the language, it is impossible to avoid these situations, which I think was very beneficial. That being said, I think being surrounded by the language has improved my Korean-speaking skills greatly, and I am excited to continue the language courses when I get back to Pitt.
With the new knowledge I have gained this semester, it makes me even more eager to learn. I had so much fun learning about Korea and the different places I have visited while being here, and I know there is so much more out there to learn and see. No matter how much information you may seek out, I think it is very hard to learn about the world without actually experiencing different places and meeting new people. While I have always been an observant person, I feel like I have developed a greater attention to detail while being in Seoul. I am so interested in the subtle differences in the culture that I observe, which I think has made me pay attention to many things in a different way.
In my Organizational Behavior course this semester, we learned about individualism and collectivism, specifically in contexts of business and group values and behavior. Coming from America, one of the most individualist countries in the world, to Korea, which is known to be a very collectivist nation, I found it very interesting comparing my different experiences in either place. This was an idea that I had previously known little about, and I think this new awareness helped me question the values I have grown up with and what I know to be true. I think it greatly contributed to the new perspective I have on myself in both my professional and personal life. I am very thankful for all the meaningful experiences I have had abroad and will always cherish my time here.