I always thought that going on exchange or traveling internationally was only for certain people. In my mind, these people are extremely extroverted, independent, and fearless; I possessed none of those characteristics. Truthfully, I have always been a shy person. Going on exchange, I thought, is not something a person like me can handle. What if I cannot make friends? What if the lifestyles in other countries do not suit me? What if I get robbed or harmed while I am abroad?
On January 2008, I took a huge step. I conjured up the courage to put aside the ‘what ifs’ and applied for exchange to Korea. The next few months flew by. Pretty soon, I was in Korea, having the time of my life: meeting both exchange and local students, practicing my Korean at restaurants and malls, traveling around the country, and eating really really spicy (but delicious) food. The exchange students there were not at all how I imagined either.
Many were timid and shy like me, venturing out of their homes for the first time. Some even shared the same love for Korean dramas! It is now almost a year since I took the plane by myself for the first time to Korea. My four months at Yonsei University seem surreal now, but the many pictures I took and the friends I still keep contact with serve as a reminder of an extraordinary chapter of my life where one brave decision brought me across the world.