Disclaimer: Originally posted on SUNY New Paltz student study abroad blogs website. A few minor edits have been made.
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 thus far.
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’s itinerary had me transferring twice in Russia. As a result of not having a Russian visa, I could not step on to 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. In Russia I had an 8 hour layover till my next flight 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 for my next flight. I finally got to board and was given a window seat, which I used to take many pictures being in the clouds.
Finally, after a long journey, I landed in Incheon Airport, 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. There is bit of service charge, 3 or 4%, which does add up after a while, but it is much better than the amount the bank takes for exchanging the currencies. I had a Dankook University student pick me and two other students also just landed at Incheon International Airport, they were German and were teaching at the Cheonan Campus, I stayed at the Jukjeon Campus. 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.
We got on the car and from the ride across the highway from Incheon International 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, it still has not hit me that I am in South Korea, despite the amount of Koreans, and Korean language surrounding me. Instead, I feel that I am in a really huge Flushings, Queens. The only possible distinctions other than the overwhelming Korean culture would be the infrastructure, and the amazingly priced Korean food.
I have started teaching for the English Village and in my next post I will be mentioning a few things about English Village and how teaching has been going.