|Liz in South Korea|
|Liz explores Japan.|
What was your favorite part of the experience?
My favorite part was definitely the people. I met people from all over the world, even someone who visited North Korea. I had the chance to converse with them about their country and some of the situations that appear in the news. I don’t think it is possible for anyone to understand conflict in specific countries without talking to its people. I roomed with two Korean students who now mean the world to me. They opened their arms to a complete stranger and even introduced me to their parents. The Korean culture is completely different than mine. It was refreshing and intriguing to have Koreans explain their society and the division from North Korea.
|Liz in HongKong|
What is something new that you learned?
I went to South Korea knowing close-to-nothing about North Korea, except about the missile threats you hear about on the news. I learned about the lives of the North Korean people and the intense leader and party propaganda the country is bombarded with. I learned about the songbun caste system used in North Korea. The caste is based on family history and devotion to the Party. People don’t really know what class they belong to. Some get a hint of what class they are in when their kids do not get accepted to college, as acceptance to college is largely based on songbun class.
How has this experience changed you?
I feel more confident and more comfortable in my own skin. I have become a better listener and public speaker. I have learned what I value in life and have reflected on how to live life happily in the years to come.
Do you recommend study abroad to others?I wish everyone had the chance to study abroad. It is truly a life-changing experience that lets you learn more about yourself and challenges you to get out of your comfort zone. It gives you a chance to show your true self by diving into a completely different environment where no one knows who you are. Studying abroad lets you explore breath-taking places and learn things you can’t read about in the classroom.