There’s a magical moment in life when your long-kept dreams suddenly turn into reality. This change often seems so sudden that it is hard to tell whether you’re still lingering about in a dream or have actually moved on to a real world. From the day I arrived atRutgers, the State University of New Jersey, as an exchange student, each moment was filled with this joyous discovery of my precious dreams coming true.
I remember my first visit to the U.S. a few years ago when it fascinated me so much by its huge potentials and openness that I soon became a fan of it. The first impressions of the U.S. which struck me during the stay, greatly affected my decision on where to set the next goal. Since I used to have this vague idea of pursuing my career abroad, I decided that I would study in the U.S., one of the most diverse nations where I can broaden my perspectives, at some point in the near future. Participating in an exchange program was a good start for this. I could test myself on the ability to adapt to a new environment and to make changes without any fear. I also learned to overcome different types of barriers that one may possibly encounter as a foreign student.
The campus was in New Brunswick, a small and peaceful city in New Jersey. I lived in a 12 story-building which was close to downtown area and was only about a two-minute walk from the train station. Almost every weekend, I would take a train to New York City which was an hour north of where I lived and hang out with other exchange students. We loved venturing new places for food or entertainments and exploring every block of this amazing city. It was definitely rich in culture and its romantic scenes provided me with inspirations for studying literature as well as American Studies. We shared much of our best moments in life together and had talks for hours on our future, dreams, love, and life. Every journey we took to the city was thus, full of excitement and thrills allowing us to be even more grateful for the times in which we all lived so heartily.
My roommate was French exchange student and my two other apartmentmates were American from whom I learned a great deal of cultural values. To live with people who had totally different backgrounds and experiences was not easy in the first place, nevertheless, it was a lot more exciting than living with the ones who have similar values and thoughts. It is not surprising that my passion for International Relations studies got serious at this point. They taught me the pleasure of exchanging opinions and thoughts over the differences which distinguished us from one another. We covered a variety of topics over dinners, parties or even on the way home from classes. The discussions went on and on carrying more interests and pursuing more depth. Strangely enough, being an extremely shy student who never liked to be involved in a discussion, I truly enjoyed this time as I learned to understand how important it is to manage good relationships with others and create chances to communicate with them.
Of all the things I liked about my old lucky days at Rutgers, the best one was the fact that I truly strived to become a better person, the better me everyday. I’d long been prepared to make the best use of Ewha exchange program and I believe all those efforts really paid off. Of course, there are certain moments when things get tough and you need to deal with challenging situations, but these times and memories would later become perfect for the development of your confidence as well as determination. I hope all Ewha students will not miss out on this wonderful experience of exploring your true self, let alone the new world ready to welcome you.