As someone who has relocated many times and has friends in many different circles, I have often questioned the meaning of "home." I have lived 8 years in Hong Kong, 10 years in Atlanta, and 2 years in Minnesota. I have family in Hong Kong, family in Atlanta, friends and my Mac family in Minnesota, and newly made friends in Korea. Regardless of where I live and where I am, I will always miss someone and something (probably food). Since starting college, I have been struggling with where I call home. Yes, it's probably possible to have multiple homes, but I also believe that at times, one place feels more like home and another for me. Whenever I see kids with their extended relatives, I'm reminded of the times that I was with my aunts, uncles, and grandparents in Hong Kong when I was young. When I want my thinking to be challenged and connect with friends who share my identity, I crave the intellectual debates and discussions that I have with my professors and classmates. There is no real answer to where my home is, but at times, I feel that home is just where I put my hat down.
In my social life here in Korea, I have met great people and made new friends from other parts of the US and the rest of the world. I regularly chat with other Ewha students through the E-Pal English tutoring program and catch glimpses of their lives through their anecdotes. I reconnected with my middle school best friend after not seeing her for seven years, and we conversed as if we have never been apart this entire time. I befriended a friend of Jennifer's from a past internship of hers and (hopefully) started another meaningful friendship.
In all, I have been extremely grateful for the experience of studying abroad. Not everything has been all sunshine and flowers as you might see in future blog posts, but it has definitely reaffirmed some of my values, beliefs, and life choices that I made. Heading into my semester of being abroad, I knew well in advance that my beliefs will clash greatly with some of the values that Korea holds. At the same time, being exposed to opinions outside of Macalester's liberal bubble allows me to interact and communicate with others who don't share my opinion. I don't have to agree with them, but I think I have the duty to listen and understand others' perspectives. My view is not superior/more valuable than that of someone else's view. And for me, that is the beauty of diversity; studying abroad gives me the chance to not only see a different culture but also an opportunity to be understanding and empathetic to someone else's background, beliefs, and life choices.
While these two months seemed to have passed by so quickly and slow at the same time, it is only mid-semester. I still have lots to learn about Korea and its complicated history in the two months ahead. I hope to leave Korea at the end of the year with a better understanding of the country's distinct characteristics and Korea's position in the East Asian region.
college student. junior. international studies major. over-the-top foodie. travel and lifestyle student blogger?
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