Having lived in the upper state of New York during my childhood years, I had never expected studying abroad would be much different from my childhood. My childhood experience lessened my fear of going to a foreign country on my own as an exchange student. As soon as I started my life at Rutgers, it did not take long for me to realize it was a mistake.
Frankly, as the saying goes, every single thing was a challenge for me starting from the first day. It was not the language barrier or the cultural difference that struck me. It was more or less the fact that it was my first time being apart from my friends and family for a considerable amount of time.
It was especially challenging to share an apartment with people who have various backgrounds, morals and ways of life. Running out of toilet paper, the constant lump of hair that was clogging the showers and the nearly filled trashcans are only a few examples of the many trivial problems I faced in everyday life.
Achieving the right balance between academics and social life was yet another goal I had constantly tried and was only partially successful in.
Personally, I recommend Ewha students to take courses that are not offered in Ewha campus and enjoy the true moment of pure learning. Exchange program offers the time and the environment to explore new things that goes easily unnoticed while we are in Korea and studying at Ewha. As for me, I was able to cherish a totally different kind of life during my exchange student years.
One of the most memorable experiences at Rutgers was belly dancing in front of 3,000 audiences in the State Theatre. It might seem bizarre, but it was an unforgettable and breathtaking experience.
* Lee Ji-soo (’12, International Studies) studied at Rutgers, state university of New Jersey.