Some of my favorite childhood memories from when I was in Bangladesh was all the time that it rained. This season in Korea is similar to the season in Bangladesh, the only difference being that in Bangladesh it never gets as cold. I feel like in the U.S there isn’t really a rainy season, but rather rain comes and goes throughout the year. When it started raining in Korea we weren’t really able to leave the campus, but for some reason, I would always leave my room and just walk around in the rain, and it almost felt like I was back in Bangladesh. I would often find myself staring out my window for hours with no sense of time, just feeling nostalgic about times that I would never get back, about things that never happened.
Bangladesh and Korea are both very different countries but in the end, they are both Asian countries, and I’ve noted many similarities. Both countries have very similar mannerisms, both of the languages have an informal and a formal dialect, and my favorite, the pressure on the kids to do well in school is absolutely identical. I was never able to talk to any of my American friends about the pressure to be perfect, to get perfect grades but this was one topic that was often the topic at my dinner table. Another similarity was the difference in the treatment of sons and daughters in an Asian household. This was another thing no one understood in America but all of my Asian friends understood perfectly.
In some ways Korea felt like home, and I think without the language barrier I would fitted right in. My Kazakhstani friend and the Korean friends all had a lot of “trauma” in common. We grew up in very strict and conservative households, had to fight for things that our brothers got easily, and were constantly being judged by everyone. These late night discussions that we shared hold a very special place in my heart. It’s hard to have these conversations with the Bangli girls in the U.S, as some of the girls were born here so they grew up in a different environment. I’ve also experienced paranoia of being heard by our parents getting in trouble for being disrespectful. Korea gave me a different sort of freedom, being away from the constant fear of getting caught even when I wasn’t doing anything wrong, away from the constant lecture of my parents, and so these three months were just for me. I lived these three months for myself and myself only and I will forever look forward to the time when I can find myself freedom as precious as the one that Korea gave me.
A Message from the Office of Global Engagement:
The safety and security of Drexel students is a priority for the University. As part of the efforts to support Drexel students that are studying abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Global Engagement has conducted a rigorous review of programming and provided additional support to participating students with customized pre-departure orientations and regular check-ins during the required self-isolation period and the term.