I headed out early the other day to grab some things from the convenience store a minute down the road, but after I ate I got hit with some mad jetlag. Fair, as it was reaching 2am back in the UK. But I also meant to buy a multitude of other things which I didn’t as Olive Young was not quite open yet, and unfortunately, despite the morning’s success, I had been too anxious to leave my room.
Eventually, I reached out to the group chat with other people from my home uni, and met up with them to wander Anam. It’s really reassuring to not be alone for the first few days of being here especially when going out, especially when we are all feeling the same nervousness! I hope this improves over time, especially as I have met other exchange students through orientation. At Korea University, there are over 700 exchange students from 53 countries. I have already met people from 8 so far!
But let’s rewind a little. As mentioned, I’ve been a nervous and depressed wreck for the last week or so. Even on the plane, I had to hold back from bursting out in tears. I mentioned on twitter that it was because I was afraid of starting the new adventure, and very excited to achieve a long-time dream of visiting the country, but I think a lot of it is also leaving behind the support system I’ve built over the years through my friends and family. They’re all a message away, it’s just the timezones!
After stopping in Paris, my main flight was 11 hours, and it was killer. I was bored AND nervous. I watched Captain Marvel and Murder on the Orient Express which are both great films I really enjoyed. I did NOT realise how STACKED the cast for Murder on the Orient is, all the big names I recognised there. Then, I tried to sleep and managed maybe two hours.
Of all the things, my butt hurt the most despite trying to move around the plane and stand up at times. It couldn’t take 11 hours of sitting! I like the experience of flying, but just not the travel aspect of it if that makes sense. Being in the air? Fine. Fab,actually. Being cramped and uncomfortable for so long? Na.
When I landed, I took the airport bus/limousine to near Korea University. I didn’t realise how long the walk was to my accomodation which meant dragging two suitcases for at least 20 minutes. My arms are still sore from that!
As expected, my goshitel room is small. It felt even smaller with all my suitcases, but now I have unpacked, it’s more cosy than cramped. It’s absolutely fine for any normal person living alone for a year. I am hoping I do not go wild on purchases this year – I tried to avoid the makeup and skincare while I was in Olive Young! I will do a room tour towards the end of my stay. Wandering around Anam, I realised that I’m right in the middle of all the food and convenience stores, and the uni is maybe a 10-20 minute walk from me depending on which building I am headed to. The subway station is also just down the road!
Korea University sits on a gigantic campus. Each time I have wandered around by myself, I have gotten somewhat lost, and I do consider myself to have a decent sense of direction! Many of the buildings are fashioned after a European style, but done in such a way that they all kind of look the same. They look so pristine, I felt they looked fake even, like a well-made plastic model. It is still very beautiful and lovely to walk around even in the heat. The biggest downside is that it’s situated on many hills, so my legs get a good workout from trekking up stairs and slopes to the right location!
Overall, I am settling in about as well as I can. I constantly pinch myself not quite believing that I am here. Classes start next week, so I will be sure to update when I can!