Leandro Lumanog takes us through his final part of his study abroad journey.
The last few weeks of the exchange came like a freight train. My friends and I would constantly joke about how much time we had left every now and then, but we were all worried and down about the countdown that loomed over us. Yet despite knowing our limited time left on our exchange, we all made an effort to make the most of it. We treated every night like it was our last day in Korea, and got even closer in the process. The last few weeks were also the times of the finals exams, so we were all set on maintaining a study schedule, whilst being able to explore and have fun. We went out to our usual destinations; Sinchon, Han River, Hongdae – everywhere.
As the last days approached, we all had to say our goodbyes. Living halfway across the world from each other; our bond remained strong despite the distance. Naturally everyone was emotional in their goodbyes but we all knew we would see eachother again relatively soon.
It’s been a few weeks after getting back from my exchange, and so many emotions run through me on a constant basis. You can’t help but feel sad about leaving your home for five months, yet you’re excited to be home. The feeling of settling back into your steady schedule, as well as the longing for the unpredictable lifestyle of a semester exchange. Constantly missing your friends in Korea, and telling your stories to your old friends back home.
They said that the effect of ‘reverse culture-shock’ is significant when someone comes back from an exchange, and it’s certainly true. You’ll require time to recover and get back to your daily routine, as well as mentally move yourself from one country to another. But once all the smoke fades, you’re left with the feeling of accomplishment and an established desire to move forward, see your friends in the future, visit your host country and explore many more.
Finally, I’d like to end my blog series on a couple of videos made by my girlfriend, who is a fellow exchange student from America that I met during my study abroad in Korea. Our memories together along with her friend group, I think are best encompassed by her simple yet meaningful videos. Through her eyes and ours, you can gain a sense on the people you will meet and the things you can discover while going on a semester exchange.
Check out my photo portfolio here from my time in South Korea.