데카당스 이곳으로 날 던져 generation
/we’re here in this together
the way that it is disordered
the décadence is where it’s at
i jump inside, generation/
As anyone would expect, moving overseas to a country where you have around the same, if not less, capabilities as a primary school kid is very chaotic and disorientating.
Although it is a disorientation filled with excitement and thrill, the unease still lingers. I have travelled to South Korea in the past and would consider myself quite exposed to Korean culture. But the overwhelming feeling of “What am I doing here?” in the first few days of my experience still surprised me. It felt weird as I struggled to grasp my new role in this foreign city. Am I a tourist? Or something more than that?
I would visit all the famous areas of Seoul in the morning but go back to the dorms at night to order family-size bottles of laundry detergent. This experience is new to me, which I think is inherently unique to an overseas study experience. I won’t say this experience is 100% pleasant, as it washed me over with exhaustion and confusion.
However, I am still very, very glad that I have signed up for this. Reflecting on these experiences, thoughts, and feelings, I feel I have truly learned more about my relationship with routines. More importantly, how I can make myself feel more at ease in new environments — a valuable lesson in today’s globalised and ever-changing world. This challenge to feel “settled” will undoubtedly provide clarity in the future — beyond simply moving to new countries.
So, a big pat on the back for myself, as when I am writing this, I no longer feel like a headless fly going around Seoul. Rather than feeling completely chaotic, I have taken steps back in certain areas to give myself the space to build a routine in which I can feel grounded. I am still keeping myself open to all the new experiences waiting to come, but also accepting my limits and finding the midgrounds to take a breather, which would probably be my best advice for new exchange students at this point.
No rush in pushing yourself; you have time 🙂
In this learning journey, I also want to give the biggest and greatest thank you to the other students alongside me in this programme. They have been the anchor in this experience and a consistent source of joy and comfort. Doing things together has made navigating this new adventure much more enjoyable. Beyond the new connections down this journey, I am even more grateful for this opportunity to develop these existing friendships wholeheartedly. And I look forward to experiencing more chaos and/or routines with them.