Captains Abroad: Meet Abigail in South Korea - Christopher Newport University


Abigail stands in front of Changgyeonggung palace while wearing a hanbok (traditional Korean wear).

Captains Abroad: Meet Abigail in South Korea

I'm studying at Korea University for the fall 2022 semester.

Above: Standing in front of Changgyeonggung palace while wearing a hanbok (traditional Korean wear).

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Hi, I’m Abigail!

My name is Abigail Lee and I am a junior at CNU. For the Fall 2022 semester, I am studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea! I am studying at Korea University (KU) and am taking classes focused on my communications major and writing minor.

I am taking two communication classes: Intro to Media Criticism and New Media Cinema. I’m also taking two electives: Beginner’s Korean and An Introduction to Applied Linguistics.

I chose to study abroad in South Korea for many reasons (lol). But to narrow it down, I chose Korea because I knew that being an exchange student was probably one of the only opportunities I’ll have to live in Korea for a decent amount of time. South Korea is a country I want to explore and experience living in the day-to-day, and I can’t do that if I have a job that only allows a limited amount of vacation time. I don’t currently plan to have a job in Korea in the future, so I’m planning to make the most out of my time here.

It will be a new, exciting, and scary experience to live in another country. But I hope that in the end, I’ll look back fondly and be grateful for all of the experiences I’ve had.

Settling In

A student wearing a mask stands in the foreground with Seoul, South Korea in the background.
Me overlooking Seoul at the bottom of Namsam Tower.

It has been a couple of weeks since I arrived in South Korea and my concept of time has been thrown out the window. Since landing here, life’s been a whirlwind of to-do lists, bucket lists, and handfuls of slightly anxious interactions.

Classes have begun to start and although I am adjusting somewhat to life in Korea, I run into new and unexpected things every day. I go to cafes and try different foods all the time. Luckily I eat Korean food at home so I don’t think I’ll be homesick for food that much, but I highly doubt I’ll be able to eat Korean food the same when I’m back in America. It just tastes 10x better here in South Korea.

I’ve been meeting new people and it’s fun to talk to and get to know people from other countries. I think the majority of exchange students here are from America, but there are a good amount of European and Latin American students also.

I have had some language barrier moments, but Seoul has a lot of tourists, so once I tell them I’m American, they usually transition to English or find someone they know who speaks English.

All of the professors I take speak English and a good amount of Korean students speak English pretty well.

It still doesn’t feel real that I’m in Korea. I’ll look at the different signs on the street and see the Hangul (Korean alphabet) and remember that I’m in a foreign country, but I don’t feel scared.

Maybe it’s because I’m living in an English-speaking environment, but so far I’m just having fun and trying to live my best life before the homesickness kicks in.

Read more of Abigail's experiences

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