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#stuDUYabroad: first impression of Seoul

Though this isn’t my first trip abroad, I have to say that this was the most stressful and difficult one in term of preparation. The entire process of applying to Seoul National University, including class registration and dorm application, was a mess. But that would be a whole different post.

Saying bye to my little sister was also difficult. She used to be younger and did not understand the concept of different countries. But now she does (she’s almost 6!); now she understands that Korea is far from home and that she won’t be able to see me for the next couple of months. She was crying after I left, my mom said. But that’s okay… I guess? Yeah yeah, I’m a terrible brother, I know. PUNISH ME. MY BODY IS READY!!

[Please don’t. I lied. My body was never ready…]

Anyways, I feel like I’ve already typed quite a bit and so this is the part where I suppose to introduce myself right? [Or no? Welp, too late. Here I go…] My name is Duy, basically a senior majoring in Marketing and International Business. I’m a travel addict so I’ve lived in multiple countries and have travelled here and there a bit. I’ve also read multiple blogs from people who’ve studied abroad in Korea so I will try to document what wasn’t covered. (For a detailed blog on my current and upcoming trips, feel free to also visit me at Duy Overseas.)

Moving on…

I basically spent half of my life in Asia but I don’t think I was ready for Korea. Asia feels like home but Korea is still foreign to me. I want to start off this documentary with my first impression of Korea and a couple of things that I feel like I’d need to get used to.

Disclaimer: Please note that the below are what “surprised” me when I first landed in Seoul and so they might or might not seem a bit negative. Understand that I’m noting them because I want to see how my view on these 3 things change over the next few months as I get more familiar with Korea.

  1. It’s crowded here. I guess a year in China was not enough for me to get used to the crowdedness in Asian countries. Or maybe I’m just allergic to human…yup, that gotta be it. Anyways, Michelle (also from Drexel) and I went to Hongdae the night we got here. As soon as I walked down to the subway, it hit me that I wasn’t in America. It’s crowded here! There are so many people! Like where did all these people come from? It literally took us like 10 minutes to get out of the subway and it’s the huge exit with a giant staircase. But luckily, everyone here is polite and they get in line for everything.
  2. Guys wear makeup. You can’t help but notice that the guys here wear makeup. Not all of them, but a majority of them have some kind of makeup on. While some only wear a little, some I swear have a full bridal makeup on. I really don’t have any problems with this because I personally have worn makeup a couple of times during photoshoots. But like… it really get scary at night walking on the dark streets and you see this masculine figure walking towards you and his face looks like he just killed his Beijing opera performance. And just so you know, I like watching scary movies. But like… this is something else man…
  3. Everyone dresses extremely nice. You’ve probably heard about the Korean style and how they always dress to impress. It’s true. It’s rather difficult to find someone on the street who looks like a bum. I planned to wear sweats to class like how I would in America but like… I will probably get stared at for looking so out of place.

I hope this first post did not discourage you from studying abroad and/or coming to Korea. I have only been here for a couple of days so of course there would be things that are different and that I would not find them comfortable. It’s natural to feel like so when you’re going to abroad. Many bloggers try to sugarcoat and beautify things to make them sound more interesting and attractive. Plus, who would want to blog about bad things, right? But anyways, I want to document both the goods and the bads so that you can be fully prepared for if and when you decide to study abroad in Korea. It has only been a few days but I think I’m already falling in love. Continue to follow my misadventures and you will see how it all happened.


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