Studying abroad can be somewhat intimidating, especially for someone (like me) that has traveled very little within their own country. The plane ride was a long exhausting one of almost 15 hours, but I am lucky I am one that can sleep well on planes. Even though I was extremely nervous upon landing in South Korea, I realized Seoul is a very welcoming city for new travelers. The big city is very friendly for someone that speaks very little Korean, and the locals are always very kind and will go out of their way to help you. I had the privilege to study abroad this summer at Korea University, one of the SKY universities (an acronym for the top three prestigious universities in Korea). I fell in love with the campus from first sight with its alluring castellated architecture. Seoul is surrounded by a mountainous and hilly landscape that adds to the picturesque view.

The one thing I was not prepared for was the numerous steep hills and stairs that would make me drenched in sweat by the time I reached the top. My home university back in the United States was a predominantly level terrain so definitely not use to it. But hey, I’m not complaining if I have nice, toned legs by the end of my study abroad!

This picture was taken on the first day of orientation at the beautiful Inchon Memorial Hall located on Korea University’s Campus.

Korea has several vast and expeditious ways to travel around the city. The public transportation system, such as buses or subways, are quick, efficient ways to get around. The fares for buses and subways are very inexpensive and there are also taxis, which will cost you a bit more. The subways are easy to navigate; even for someone like me who doesn’t have a very good sense of direction. All of the signs do have English translation, but I would highly recommend downloading the 지하철종결자 subway app (English translation Smarter Subway) to help get around. The one thing I feel I should forewarn you about is being prepared when you need to ride the subway during rush hour. You know the scene in “Finding Nemo” when Dory gets caught in a net with tons of other tuna and they are all squirming around and can’t move. Yeah, I think that’s the best way to explain it. But just take Dory’s advice and you will be fine. “Just keep swimming”.


Now let’s get to the most important part, food! I’m not going to lie; I feel like the most exhilarating part of my trip so far has been the delicious food. There hasn’t been any food so far I haven’t liked. I would estimate that 80% of my camera gallery consists of all the exquisite meals, sweets, and drinks I have tried. Plus, the food here is very affordable and you get a good-sized portion, which is a cherry on top. If you walk five feet in any direction, you will most likely find an abundance of restaurants. Since I was only there for six weeks, I made it my goal to avoid American food since I could get that anytime back home.  But of course, every now and again I couldn’t resist. Is it wrong to say that even American food tastes better in Korea? Maybe it’s just me, but I am going to miss the food here so much!

So to say the least….. Korea is at the top of my places to travel now!

Wheaton Hardwick, University of Kentucky, is studying abroad in South Korea with TEAN.