Why bother studying abroad? It’s a fair question. If you have any desire to study abroad, hopefully, some reasons come to mind. It could be learning a new language, enjoying the new food and culture, meeting new people, gaining opportunities to benefit your education or career, and many more. For me, the number one reason for studying abroad was travel. When researching different host universities, I was looking for one in Asia or mainland Europe with good public transit. A new culture with easy access to travel were the key ingredients for what I wanted out of my study abroad experience. Ultimately, I chose South Korea. My girlfriend had begun introducing me to South Korean culture, they have great public transportation (with easy access to East Asia), and the breathtaking mountains sealed the deal. 

During my time here in South Korea, there was a lot of pressure from different sources. The K-pop industry is huge, but I don’t have the same level of interest in the industry as many other foreigners do. Still, I’ve managed to find my niche, connect with like-minded individuals, and engage with those who are passionate about it. Then there’s the pressure to document every moment of my journey on social media. While I have been sending pictures back home, I don’t have the same desire to be updating my Instagram story multiple times a week. If it brings joy to those who do, then that’s great, but it’s essential to do what feels right for you.  You don’t owe anyone a play-by-play of your adventures abroad. Keeping your friends and family informed is great, but remember, it’s your journey, and you get to decide how you want to live it. It’s great to experience and experiment with new things, but at the end of the day, you should be doing what makes you happy.

Got questions or just want to chat? Feel free to shoot me an email at ommaccarrick@crimson.ua.edu. Happy travels!