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South Korea made me patriotic
2015년 05월 11일 (월) 09:56:11 Jennifer Lee Bitschene evoice@ewha.ac.kr

Jennifer Lee Bitschene
(University of Tuebingen, 2)

My name is Jennifer. I am 20 years old and I started my adventure abroad three months ago. I have wanted to live abroad since I was in elementary school; in fact, back then I was certain that I was going to be a full-blown emigrant. At the time I did not consider my home country, Germany, as a good place for me to live. Fast-forwarding to my high-school self, thanks to one of my uncles who went to Asia quite frequently, I started to gain interest in China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. These countries’ pop cultures were easily accessible on the Internet and I strived to explore all of them. South Korea especially fascinated me as it has a lot to offer to teenage girls, from movies to TV shows to pretty boy bands. Ask a 15-year-old girl to resist that! My love for Korean culture eventually led me to start learning Korean and choose Seoul as my destination for my study abroad. As I had expected, my life here is pretty great and I have lots of fun. Seoul with its vibrant streets, colorful night scenery, clubs and great variety of leisure activities and food. Seoul never sleeps, which is very convenient. Seoul is only one city but it has everything one could ask for culturally and traditionally. The people I have met here are enthusiastic and are always up for fun and excitement. This city is the kind of city I dreamed of when I was younger, the kind of place I wanted to live in. If you are familiar with German culture and history you might know that Germans are not known for being patriotic. Due to our country’s history, it might even be frowned upon. Before I came to Seoul I was, in fact, one of those people who thought patriotism was for the intellectually challenged. So here I am, three months into my new life in Seoul, and I have begun to notice this hint of patriotism for Germany in my heart growing bigger every day. Suddenly, I saw Germany through my Korean friends’ eyes and learned that my country’s public image in Seoul is quite good. I saw that people love Germany for its good-quality products, neatness, architecture, labor market and its health care system, and of course, for its beer and sausages (no surprise there). Moreover, living abroad has shown me that the things I took for granted in Germany might not be as easily obtained in other countries. For instance, cheap healthy meals without strange chemicals, or feeling safe when taking a taxi or using an escalator are not taken for granted everywhere. As I am a representative of my country here, I have always been practically forced to say positive things about Germany, which has actually made me think of the advantages of living in Germany. Thanks to my journey here, I can confidently say that there are many advantages. So why am I telling you all this? If you have never lived abroad, I strongly recommend you to do so. When you go abroad you can see your home country through other people’s eyes. Once you get some distance from your country you can really see what is going on. Of course, this can have a completely different effect on you from the effect it had on me. However, I believe that it is an experience worth every effort. Hence, if you are reading this and you have never lived abroad for any lengthy period of time, I encourage you to try and do so. Don’t be scared; grab this experience while you can.
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