I have officially been in South Korea for six months...wow. I arrived in Masan in September of 2012 and the plan is to leave the country this September, 2013. Quite honestly, if I had to leave this place now, I would be devastated. I have developed a love for South Korea that's not easy to explain to anyone that hasn't lived here. I was talking to a friend of mine on Skype today who recently finished up a teaching contract in Seoul and is currently living in Australia. I was excited to hear that he will be returning to the "mother land" to begin a ten week intensive Korean language program this July. If you really open yourself up to the culture and the people of this country, I can already tell that it has a way of pulling you back.
When I think of all the things that I've done in Korea over the past six months, I am a little blown away. From staying the night at Buddhist temples to partying it up at clubs in Seoul, I've done it all, literally. The first six months here, I was very focused on applying to graduate school and planning my next move. But even while I was completing the strenuous application for school, I still managed to have a lot of fun. I've found a way to balance my life in Korea that I am proud of. I have managed to save money, get accepted to my desired graduate school program, make a ton friends, enjoy myself, learn a lot of Korean, and find a spiritual balance that I've never had before in my life.
Beginning next January 2014, I will be shifting cultural gears in a big way and begin my graduate studies in International Business at Universidad EAFIT in Medellin, Colombia. When I received my acceptance letter to Universidad EAFIT, it was nothing short of a dream come true. Prior to beginning my studies in Colombia, I will be taking an extended trip around Southeast Asia during which I will be volunteering, meeting new people from different cultures, and loving life.
I think there's a big misconception in the United States that you have to have a lot of money to do what I'm doing and that traveling the world is somehow "irresponsible" or "compromises your future." Quite the contrary, I truly believe that if you don't spend enough time developing yourself and your relationships with others then you're putting the rest of your life in jeopardy. If you're not developing yourself into a better person and helping make other people's lives better then you're wasting your time. It's a shame that not many people think like that and I'm just happy that I "woke up" before it was too late.