Someone once said that "It's the journey, not the destination" and what an amazing journey it has been in Seoul. Although I have been back in the States for over 2 weeks, I've been able to reflect over my time in Seoul and how it has changed my perspective forever.
As a young Black woman from Iowa, I felt it was even more of an interesting time going through culture shock and changed perspectives yet came out ahead. It was fascinating to see Korea go through cultural pride yet simultaneously see their foreign disdain and reverence unfold before me. There are a lot of dynamics that I find fascinating in Korea and I find myself wanting to go back and explore them further.
That is why I am enrolling in Korean Language classes at my University either this semester or spring semester. I love the language and I feel that learning it would be one of the biggest forms of gratitude I can convey to all the UOS buddies who strived to make our trip pleasant in English. I would like to return that kindness by learning Korean.
I am also planning on going back to Korea to study abroad for a semester hopefully my junior year because I left way too much unexplored and was changed and enriched by too many people. Talking to my engineering advisor, my University's College of Engineering apparently has a lot of Korean alumni and she said if I ever wanted to get in contact with them she'd be thrilled to help me out (Korean engineering internship or research possibilities maybe?!)
I also feel there is an underlying Black and Korean movement that I can't really explain but can feel the effects. With the appreciation of Black music and aspects of Black culture (many Korean men I had met knew the black handshake unsurprsingly), I feel there is much more to discover there as a Black woman and I am ready to go back.
Also, I miss many people there including my friend Jaeyong. He's too adorable to be left alone. He got really excited because apparently there is a Black woman who just arrived at the University of Seoul and he said she reminded him of me. I demanded that he go out of his way to make sure she feels welcomed on that campus because I know she's probably feeling a little isolated.
Korea was a life-changing experience that will remain with me for a lifetime and I am so grateful that I was blessed to be able to experience it all. Above all though, it is the people I will never forget. I've been changed for the better and will cherish these memories for a lifetime. Thank you all for your support.