I was so nervous when I got aboard an airplane toward California because it was my first time staying in a country far away from my family and friends. Whenever I felt lonely and was troubled adapting to the new environment, I tried to be brave by reminding myself of the purpose of studying abroad as an exchange student.
I had stayed for 5 months with American hosts that had two children,a three-year old boy and two-year-old girl. Luckily, the hosts were all Christians so I could pray and sing Christian songs with them all the time. Since the children were so young, they sometimes interrupted my study when their parents were too busy to take care of them. However, I really had fun with the children and I was much welcomed to have dinner or party with the hosts’ family on holidays such as Christmas and Thanksgiving Day.
Since California had a really bad economic crisis, it had affected California State Universities adversely. Thus, several fall semester classes were canceled, and not only CSUF students but also exchange students, including those from Ewha, had difficulty enrolling in classes they wanted to take. Moreover, Cal State Universities made furlough days, which were mandatory holidays in which students and professors could not attend classes in order to cut professors’ payment.
At first, it was really hard to figure out what was going on during lectures because everything was unfamiliar to me and Americans spoke too fast for me to understand. Nevertheless, I encouraged myself to have a positive attitude and met good friends from Taiwan, China, and other countries to hang out with.
Moreover, several meetings for international students were helpful in making new friends and learning how to cope with surroundings I was placed under in America.
Even though I went through hard times, I truly believe the experience in United States made me grow up.
* Lee Ha-young (Political Science, 4) studied in California State University in Fullerton, USA.