When I came to Korea, it was surprising that Koreans seem to have a good image of Germany. After exclaiming their love toward German beer, I usually got questions about my honest opinion s on Cass or Hite, Korean beer brands. For instance, if there is a big difference when compared with German beer. The truth is, when I was back in Germany I didn’t drink beer a lot because the taste is bitter. Actually I preferred sweet. Even worse, it bloats the stomach immensely, mostly to the point where moving gets uncomfortable. Whenever I say this, unbelieving eyes with thousands of question marks bent on me, disappointed by my lack of understanding of how refreshing a good beer can be. But then I begin to explain, with a dreamy expression in my eyes, the experience, which has changed my views on beer, of when I went to the Han river with friends in autumn. Accompanied by scrumptious chicken and beer, it was a night full of laughter and joyful stories. Well then, I finally understood the magic of beer. As a refreshment after the final exams or when meeting friends you haven’t seen for a while, beer was an excellent answer.
A year abroad as an exchange student is an unbelievable and probably a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about a new culture. When I went to Busan a couple of weeks ago, at the Haeundae beach, some young and motivated students interviewed me for a school project. Their task was to ask several foreigners questions about how they chose to come to Korea.
In my case, I began to study Economics and Politics of East Asia in Germany two years ago. Even though I took an intensive course for Chinese, my interest grew exponentially on Korea and its fascinating and unique culture. When my close Korean friend suggested me to make a trip to Korea at the end of 2013, my first trip to an entirely different continent started.
During the two weeks of my trip I visited the most popular sightseeing spots in Seoul, such as the palaces and various museums. I was overwhelmed by all the impressions Seoul left on me: busy and crowded streets, the skyscrapers which I immediately fell in love with, the kindness of Koreans, the variety of the Korean cuisine. It was fantastic and I thought this would be the last chance for me to visit Korea. There was still so much more desire to explore Korea deep inside my heart.
However, just a short time after I have returned from Korea, I got a request to come back for an internship starting in February 2014 at a Korean guest house near Sungkyunkwan University. I accepted the offer because it meant I would have more time to learn about Korea and it was also the time I had to consider about applying to go abroad for a year to study. As you can guess, I had a great time working together with a lovely team at the guest house and it helped me ensure my decision to come for a third time to Korea and study at Ewha Womans University.
Now after one semester I look back on the great memories I have made so far: making friends from all around the globe and learning about other cultures. I was also able to attend classes which were interesting and helpful for my understanding about the Korean history and traditional heritage.
All in all, a year abroad can widen your own horizon and the way you approach new challenges. Personally it helped me a lot to learn about myself too, such as curiosity about making new experiences and the way not to restrict yourself. I am grateful for that chance, for being here at this great university, which is Ewha Womans University.
I am so glad for being able to tell everyone about this wonderful experience. I want to encourage everyone to travel or even to live abroad for a while. My advice is try learning different cultures and foreign language. As I speak from my own experience, although learning another language can be hard, it will always be good for your own advantage, especially when learning its culture.