I lived in Seoul, South Korea, for a year during my undergraduate degree. I lived and studied at Korea University, Anam-dong, in the Northeast corner of central Seoul. I studied, taught English, traveled the country and spent hours/days/weeks in coffee shops, writing. I wrote about day-to-day life and all my adventures in Korea. I learned to speak Korean, made friends from all over the world, ate wonderful food, explored, partied, and documented the whole thing.
That year changed my life. Going was the best decision I ever made. It opened my eyes to a world I had never had access to before, and has affected me significantly ever since. My experiences of Buddhism and folk religion in Korea formed the groundwork for my undergraduate dissertation and my travels around Southeast Asia informed a major part of my final year studies at Royal Holloway, University of London. I continued my study of Korean in London in 2014.
Upon my return to the UK, I spent two years hankering after a solution to one question: “How do I get back?” A single week in Beijing in May 2013 was the closest thing I managed for some time – that week left me inspired by the big city and more desperate than ever before to find my way into a life in Asia.
Despite my current location and satisfaction with my life in Beijing, Korea holds a special place in my heart. My first weeks in China were often tinged with a staggering nostalgia for Seoul, and, while I have learned to appreciate the differences between the two, I feel certain I will return to Korea sometime in the not-so-distant future.