2010 - James Fitzsimons from UCD in Korea
As the first student from my university to go on exchange to Korea, I certainly had my reservations in the weeks leading up to my departure. Little did I know that it would be the most interesting and exciting year of my life. Within no more than a few days of my arrival in Seoul, I had made dozens of new friends that were mostly fellow exchange students in the same situation as me. The strong camaraderie between the hundreds of exchange students was something I was pleasantly surprised by.
My Korean buddy, was a great friend to me throughout the year and on my first day in Korea he had shown me to my accommodation as well as help me buy a mobile phone and set up a Korean bank account. I’ve made so many great friends from all over the globe that I’ll stay in touch with forever. I’ve learned so much about the world and other cultures that will stand me in good stead for the rest of my life. Furthermore, within weeks of being there, I had learned to read and write in Korean as well as speak at a level which enabled me to live comfortably in my new environment.
I have had so many great experiences during my exchange that it would be impossible to describe them all. I travelled with the friends I made to several different places such as Tokyo and Beijing as well as some of Korea’s most scenic locations like Busan and Jeju Island. These were some of the most enjoyable trips I’ve ever had but what I will remember most vividly are the friendliness of Korean people, the phenomenal night life in Seoul, the delicious food and most of all the incredible friends that I made.
I will always look upon my time spent at KU with great nostalgia. So much so that flying back home was more difficult to do than it was to fly out there!