Disclaimer: Originally posted on the SUNY New Paltz Study Abroad Blog.
I am posting this 8 days after I have landed in South Korea, and I wanted to briefly mention a few of my initial reactions and my journey here.
So before I was even allowed on board, I had to change my already paid flight, and I had to buy an additional new flight because my original flight had me transferring twice in Russia. I do not have a Russian visa, thus, I could not step onto Russian land twice. Already my trip seemed to be going down hill. I had an 8 hour flight from JFK International Airport in New York City, to Sheremetyevo International Airport in Moscow, Russia. Then I had an 8 hour layover till my next flight which would get my to South Korea. Slowly my phone began to die, and because I did not have the correct plugs for the outlets in Russia, I could not charge my electronics: LESSON LEARNED, BRING NON-TECHNOLOGY TO KILL TIME – I will have a 22 hour layover when I return. After the dreadful 8 hours of waiting till my next flight. I finally got on board and was given a window seat, which I used to take many pictures of being in the clouds.
Finally, after a long journey, I landed in Incheon Airport, and went through customs, and baggage check. I also exchanged a bit of money at the airport – I suggest people to exchange from card to cash so you can take out a little at a time, this avoid losing money and in case you do not use up all the money you exchanged, there is no need to change it back to your home currency. I had a Dankook University student pick me and two other students at the airport, they were German and were teaching at the Cheonan Campus, I stayed at Jukjeon. I was excited to meet people from out of my country because it does not hurt to learn about more than one country while going abroad. Right across the highway from Incheon Airport to the rest of South Korea, we passed a mud flat – it was already 2 in the afternoon, so I was surprised that the river did not sweep over it yet. As we got closer to campus, I realized that South Korea had amazing infrastructure and landmarks – that was only the beginning. I finally got to campus and am currently living in the Woongbi Hall with my roommate, Susan, who is also from SUNY New Paltz.
To be honest, I still do not feel that I am in South Korea, despite the volume of Koreans, Korean language, and Korean words surrounding me. Instead I feel that I am in a really huge Flushings in Queens. The only possible distinctions other than the overwhelming Korean culture would be the infrastructure, and the amazingly priced food.
I have started teaching for the English Village and in my next post I will be mentioning a few things about how the English Village and teaching has been going.