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Tara Townsend  
Yonsei University 

Now that the time is soon coming to a close, mixed emotions are flying. I've made great friends and had a good experience overall. Yet at the same time I know I must go back to finish what I started,  one of my korean friends who went abroad to the States was trying to explain all these emotions I am feeling. I think to have friends that have gone through similar situations is what really helps. I think by trying to meet all sorts of people, has in a way been a stepping stone to me becoming a mature adult. But it's not just about meeting people that will help, but also the experiences I have had. I didnt do anything like go to concerts or anything big; but the small moments--visitng families, actually starving for a weeks, going through depression, laughing with friends in their room, having hot chocolate with a professor and classmate. These are what made my trip worth remembering, so that as I continue my adventure elsewhere, I will not forget what I went through in Korea. I think now that I am able to sit and ponder, its finally hitting me that I want to come back and maybe teach children here for awhile. I know that I want to go to grad school, yet at the same time I want to do something different than sociology for right now. If I allow myself to explore a little more, I truly believe that when it comes time to go to grad school, I will be ready with a purpose and course of action. Yesterday was great, I had hot chocolate with one of my  professors and a classmate, but I also got to meet a grad student at Yonsei--sociology major actually. I really enjoyed talking with her,  though she is just beginning grad school; it was nice to get her thoughts. 

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The one downfall of this, the classes were good but they didnt give me any homework :( Yea that I wasnt prepared for and didnt know how to cope while others had lots of homework. And of course now that it is getting down to the end, they want to give essays and finals. But in all honesty, I'm taking four classes, one class I have quiz every week and one final, my other three I just have final essay and thats it. Easy ride all the way through.  I will miss my professors, they truly made me feel welcomed and valued my input as a foreigner. 

Thank you Korea^^ Lets meet again!

 
 
Tara Townsend  
Yonsei University 

Time doesnt seem to care what you are doing, or even where you are at. I still can't believe that I've been in South Korea about four months. I can still remember going through security and boarding the plane, wow, time sure does fly. I have enjoyed every moment of my journey and still am; I have had the opportunity to meet new people, eat great food, and see another part of the world that some might never get to see. The moments that I have gone through, I think have helped in some way shape my character. It will later reflect later in life, when I am in a job or interacting with other people in another country. I recently just returned from a small town on the outskirts of Seoul with a friend of mine. I loved it so much that I didnt want to leave but I knew that I had to :( While with my friend, we visited her family and there I got to see how the family interacted, plus I got to help with making kimchi, samgapsa (grilled pork) all of it was delicious. It was fun being surrounded by the family who loved having me. 
  My classes are fairly easy and are taught in English, though my one professor after lectures if there is time left over will give a Korean overview of the lecture for the Koreans in the class. I stay and listen which makes the material a little more interesting. I think all my classes are fairly interesting because each has something unqiue about them. The only downfall is the reading, I don't have homework just reading :-/ I have to say that this is way better than loads of homework but after awhile it becomes boring. 
Weeks ago, I had an encounter with a mother and baby at the red light. We were waiting to cross the street together and I couldnt help but look over and there was a mom with a baby strapped to her in the front. The baby was all cheeks and just stared at me, well I couldnt help but smile and try to make the baby smile. No such luck, the baby kept staring and nothing else. The mom who noticed my attempt smiled at me and would occasionally look at her baby to see the reaction. The babies I noticed are in my opinion a little more cuter than some American babies; I'm not sure if it's because of the extra chubbiness or what but they are.
Only five more weeks and then vacation. I won't know what to do with myself but when it does come, I'll only think about eating, sleeping and relaxing!
 
 
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Tara Townsend  
Yonsei University 

Hey guys,

I know it seems like forever since I wrote here; I guess you can say I was waiting for something inspirational to hit me before I wrote senseless words. It seems that so much has happened to me since I've been in Korea but at the same time nothing has happened. I know that doesnt really make sense, but its the way that life is going for me. Classes are pretty easy here and I am rather sad because of that. When I was preparing to come to South Korea, I was prepping my mind for hard work and nothing short of that. Yet once I got here I still had that mindframe that classes were going to be tough or equal to Maryville, but sadly I was mistaken. I am taking only four classes--simple I know but I was not sure how classes really worked over here and instead of overwhelming myself; I kept it nice and easy. My professors are pretty laid back guys who expect me to do my work and be able to have fun. Though I must say, its hard to have fun especially in my one class because I'm the only foreign English speaker. I can say one thing for MC though, since they have a variety of international students I am able to be around a lot of different people and not feel sense of loss. I am making friends with some of the Koreans here and when we meet, its nothing but laughter from both sides. 
  I am still the same as I was in Maryville, but now I think that my persception of those around me has changed to adapt to those who are here with me. I still remember the one afternoon walking with my one Korean friend and we were talking on our way to the library. I forget what the conversation was about, but he stopped me in mid-sentence and said, "Can you slow down a little." I had completely forgotten that his listening skills were not as fast to pick up my English; I slowed down but our conversation didnt stop. I have found that once a Korean is approached more than once and each time talked to, they seem to open up. This seems to me almost like an onion, to get to the heart, each layer needs to be pulled back--almost like befriending a Korean.  My one friend Jiwon is simply adorable!! I still remember how we became friends-- I was waiting on one of my classes to start and I sat down beside her, but she was giving out information for a new club on campus. We struck up a conversation and she invited me to the club event. I had already been invited by the president, but I didnt let her know and this was how even today we are still good friends. Both of us like music so we try and share what music we like. 

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 Right now I am learning Korean, the grammer is hard like English and those in my little class now know that I don't like grammer in both English or Korean. It's fun learning though I'm a little sad that I couldnt take the actual classes like some of the other people I know here. I hope that when I go back home that I will still teach myself Korean. I am losing my other language--American Sign Language, this was bound to happen since I don't know anyone who signs here. The Korean Sign Language is totally different from American, but I have seen it on T.V when the news comes on. It's a little weird to watch especially since I don't know the language. Though while watching I saw the same gesture and wondered what they were signing that could have the same gesture over and over.
  So now I'm enjoying myself.. Midterms have passed and I only had one midterm in class and the rest were take home essays. I am a little angry that my one professor has yet to write the essay questions for my take home midterm essay. But until he does, I'll just relax and do what I normally do--nothing :)

"Enjoy the journey, enjoy ever moment, and quit worrying about winning and losing."
 
 
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Tara Townsend
Yonsei University

Good evening all, I know it's been awhile but it really doesnt feel like it. I do have to say that with classes and trying to be a little social its crazy; why do I say this? For starters I have to keep in the back of my mind that what I do here can somewhat affect what happens when I get back home. Hahah almost like a child, being cautious in case mom or dad finds out what I've done--nothing bad of course;-) Classes are going well, all of them are in English with Korean professors who are not as tough as what I expected them to be. Yet let me not say that to loud, don't want them to think anything differently. South Korea especially the capital, in a way reminds me of the big cities of the US; traffic, bars, clubs, lots of people and not enough trees or stars in the sky because of pollution. Most of the times I think that I am back home and have just gone to New York for a visit, the only thing really different is that here the majority is Korean. I don't speak the language except for the baby words like thank you, goodbye, hello; and the Korean people are shy around foreigners unless you approach them in which case they might forget what English they learnt. My classes are really interesting, since what I learn in one class seems to be what we are starting to learn in my other class. What I really like about these classes is the way they are getting me to think in the way of my major. lick here to edit.

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 Nothing new has really happened to me much while I have been here besides eating new food, meeting people from different states and sometimes different countries, and joing a club that is trying to help children of multicultural families. All in all, I'm enjoying myself.

Until next time bye bye

 
 
Tara Townsend 
Yonsei University 

Wow where did the days go? Seems that once you try and enjoy your time abroad the days just fly by and you don't even realize it. I guess for me in between my low moments and high moments time decided to skip merrily by without even a glance back. I am enjoying my stay in South Korea and slowly learning some words; all while meeting new people= great! Word of advice from someone who is going through the the adventure (being abroad), you really have to be willing to let go a little bit to really see what the country has to offer. I know being stuck in one frame of mind can be a survival thing, but at the same time that can hinder having a good time with complete strangers on campus. This morning I was walking to get some coffee with my roommate and I saw this guy sitting by himself looking like someone stole his best friend. I was feeling quite sleepy and happy so I motioned that he should smile and he did, I don't know if that made him feel any better; but that simple act of making a smile could possibly make his day much better.
     I am realizing as I continue to stay in the city and in South Korea, that most people will not smile unless they are with friends or family. They have what I am coming to figure out two faces- nothing bad about it; but when they are around complete strangers they have a straight no laugh face. This face can flip at the drop of a hat if family or friends come into view, strange I know but it has worked for them. For me personally I try not to adopt this style from the people around me, though when you are in a new place we all try and adopt to fit in.

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   To switch the subject now, yesterday was a really fun time with my peers who were from the states and some who were from another country. We traveled it seemed all over Seoul and I finally got to ask a Korean friend of mine questions that I've wondered about Korean people. Surprisingly, he answered them with no hesitation while incorporating what he learned while in the USA. If he didnt have the answer he wasnt shy to admit that he didnt know. This was good mental stimulation for me, because when I am with other Korean people they have a hard time knowing what to say or they get really shy, or they don't know how to express in English well. So to have my friend talk to me confidently and at what I consider "normal pace" was good. 

Let's hope for more good times and fun adventures!! Annyeonghikaseyo(goodbye)!

 
 
Tara Townsend 
Yonsei University

It's happened.. I wasn't sure it would, but it's happened. I am experiencing what most would call the "drop" or  after the honeymoon feeling that one gets when they travel to somewhere new. I thought for me that Korea would stay interesting for about a month or two, yeah not happening. Yet I'm okay with that, hmmm... I must really be growing as a person, me being okay that something is becoming boring. In the past I would throw a fit that something was becoming boring or dull to me, but now I'm accepting it and going with it. I've talked with fellow students at MC about the feeling and they are all like, "hang in there," "it's to be expected," I'm not quite sure what they were expecting me to do, what freak out? Hahaha I guess I could freak out and go crazy but my inner person is really relaxed and waiting to see what's going to happen next. I know for some people though, they can't seem to sit still and let things come naturally, always in a rush. Usually I would be right beside them, demanding the next thing to happen on my time.
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   After coming to Korea, I've become even more chill/relaxed which I don't mind. It's weird being in Seoul though, the busy city like its American partners (NYC and LA) never sleeping but always awake. I didn't think I would be in a busy city and like it, yet here I am taking in everything around me. The hustle and bussle of people, buses, cars, and seems to never stop. Here I am away from the quiet of my hometown to the roaring of Seoul Korea--who would of thought?? I got the chance to talk with my roomate from Japan and she couldn't believe I was studying abroad, the only thing I could do was just laugh. If she couldn't believe it, how did she think I felt?! I knew it would happen someday and well I demanded it happened when I wanted it to. Now that I'm on this adventure I'm glad that I did decide now, I wouldn't change anything about it. 

Wonder what's going to happen on my next adventure? Hahaha every moment is an adventure :) I've enjoyed the past couple of downtime now it's time to get out and see the city again...

 
 
Tara Townsend  
Yonsei University 

Where should I begin or matter of fact where should I end this? Being in South Korea now for 3 weeks has opened my eyes to people quite different than I but yet the same. We've all heard negative things about South Korea or just Asian people. I won't go into details with those because like any negative comments about people of a different ethnicity there are lies and some truths. What made me feel a little "warm hearted" today was that there are people out there in the world who don't mind helping a stranger find their way. At first in my mind I thought Koreans are not always nice, but I actually stopped myself and made myself rethink that statement. Some Koreans are not nice and others are nice folks who will help a stranger. That statement that I just mentioned about some koreans being nice is true for almost all the world. There are some folks who are ignorant while others try and move past that wall into understanding or at least try to. Today brought about that idea that there are nice people out there who will try and extend beyond the line even if different languages to help someone in need. During my travels today I rode the subway with another american girl. Not having much practice by myself in the subway and the other girl being a newbie too I decided I would lead the way. Actually we both did our parts in getting confused and finding our way.
  The start of our journey to the Immigration Office began sour as we tried to find which track to ride and finally looking at a bigger map I traced where we had to go. I don't know why but a feeling of "you're in the way" came over me and sure enough there were two guys behind us also looking at the map. "You're fine," the one guy said, relief that he spoke English I asked which way to get to the other track and graciously he pointed to the other side of the path. Thanking him we headed for the other side of the pathway. Our next mistake came when we got half-way to our destination and this time we were on the wrong side of the tracks. After asking one elderly guy which side we moved down the hall alittle and started speaking English. The funny thing about being in a country where some of the people speak English and the rest don't, it seems the ones that you think don't speak the language, actually do. While we were speaking another elderly guy turns his head and looks at me, nothing unusual on my part, this is a common thing in Korea. But he doesnt turn once to look at me but again as if trying to grasp what we are saying and I know my face had the lost look on it. So what the heck, I leaned forward a little and said where we needed to go and oh my gosh he answered in English. Actually he did more than answer in English he followed us to the escaltor and told us to go to the other side. If we werent in a hurry I probably would of hugged him for helping us. I guess it goes to show that some of the older generation are trying to move into the 21st century but heheh at their own speed.

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Now I know that South Korea is modernized and technical savy but some of their people are like some Americans. You pass them on the street and they look at you curious as to who or what ethnic group you are. What really bothers me is when you are somewhat dazed as to where you are and go to ask for directions from them; they blow you off and keep walking the other way. Now where is the kindness I don't know and it's not like I was trying to sell them anything; hahaha I didnt have anything to give. We did eventually find our building funny thing was it was a block down the street we were on. So we really didnt need those girls help but I guess it was more of a mental comforter if they would of helped. After the longest time in the Immigration office we had to return to the subway and somehow manage to not get lost which we didnt really.. hahahha.
There are a few things I like about South Korea, and will give them some credit, when the promoters for new restaurants or stores are out they don't bother me. I was with a girl who looks Korean and they gave her a flyer but didnt even pester me with one. I guess I didnt matter but hey I am not complaining, the less paper I have to carry.  

 
 
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Tara Townsend
Yonsei University

Finally I made it to Yonsei University and have settled in; but I did more than settle in, I made friends. No sooner had my Korean host mom put the van in park and wonder inside a wrong building another lady who spoke English approached saying that this other building was where she thought internationals students went. Following her lead my sister and I proceeded to the building the Korean lady told us and I met up with a girl who was from Singapore. I just did what came natural and started conversation and that is how I met her, otherwise the elevator down to the next building would have been boring. Dead end for me.... I thought the building below would be my home too along with the Singaporean girl, but it wasnt.  I headed outside and my sister was waiting, " You're suppose to be upstairs, I asked the lady at the desk." There was hope for me! Using the elevator again I went upstairs and the lady did have my information and was waiting for me. Getting everything I needed from her I went up to my dorm and surprise--- small room.. Good news is I have a girl from Singapore as a roommate and she is super sweet! Saying goodbye to my Korean mom was sad but at the same time it had to happen. Now being at Yonsei has made me miss my Korean mom and her endless Korean chatter. Here there is English and other foreign languages that I  could pick up, but nothing is the same as my Korean mom. 

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First night out in the city and I don't know what to do or where to go but Im in luck. Two of my Korean friends from MC are in the city and they come get me and show me Seoul. I get to try spicy noodles which it's name says it all and we go see a movie-- Step up 4 revolution (in English with Korean subtitles). My day has gone well and after we split ways, I am again with another friend from MC--Eun and we enjoy dinner together at an Italian restaurant. The day seems to have been a dream but a very good dream. 

The days seem to float into the next without me realizing it. That seemed to be the case until the day Yuji flew into Seoul. It seemed I was once again a newbie in Korea, enjoying the sights and exploring as a kid would. That day seemed to be the drinking day as well, in Korea it is the culture when with friends you eat and drink. I was with friends and we did what was part of Korean culture. Like all things it had to end the next day and we split paths once again.