My dream of world-travel began several years ago, my first year of high school, when my family opened our home to a foreign exchange student. Before then, I had never been too interested in other cultures and lifestyles, just like most teenage kids, but that all changed soon after. I had dreamed of the day I was going to be able to step on a plane and fly across the ocean to other countries. Finally, during the summer of my Junior year, by dream became a reality as I finally was able to get on that plane and let my dream fly into a reality.
I’d never been anywhere other than America, and a short stop in Mexico, but that was when I was young and had no recollection, or interest really, in what I was doing. As I progressed through high school, however, I became more curious to what was out in the world other than what I knew already. I started watching channels on the Travel channel and the Food Network that had shows about culture.
During the winter break of my Sophomore year, our family took in another exchange student, a girl from South Korea, Carina, and she had sparked my interest even more. Before her, I did the stereotypical American thing and thought every Asian was Chinese, and that was that. With Carina sharing her culture with my family, I knew that someday I would like to go there, and finally, the time came.
People everywhere, rushing, bumping, some murmuring, “Sorry’s” as they push by, others just going on without a glance. I had never flown, and at DIA, I was a little fish in a huge ocean. Thankfully Carina was with me, basically taking me on a leash to our gate, terminal, and finally the airplane. It was huge! There were three rows of three seats each, TV’s in the back of every chair, people everywhere. It all happened so quickly. However, the TV’s and seats were not what I noticed first. It was the people. For once in my life, I was the foreigner. And it felt weird.
I was in a bit of awe the whole time I was on the plane, and eleven and a half hours of riding was a long time to be in awe. When I arrived in South Korea it was a bit unreal to me. Everywhere I looked there were Asians. Everything was just a little bit different.
What I experienced in the two weeks when I was in South Korea is something that I will never forget. From Gwangju City, a city in Southern Korea, full of cultural amazements such as a stone Buddha that people flock from all around the world to look at, to the largest amusement parks, and just the busy streets where you can stop and see the world in a whole new way! Culture coming at you in so many new ways! Religion, daily routines, history! Everything was so new, so interesting!
South Korea is a wonderful country I would encourage everyone to put on their list of things to do! So many amazing experiences took place in the two weeks I was there. So many memories I will forever cherish. I’m blessed to have had the opportunity, and I thank God for it everyday!
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