Snow, School, and other things

It’s strange doing mundane things in a place entirely different from your norm. We just finished our first week of classes. When I’m in the classroom, it feels like I’m just in another Korean lesson in Auckland. However, as soon as classes end and I walk out onto the beautiful Korea University campus, I remember that I’m not in Auckland or New Zealand at all. 

Things have been more difficult during this first week of classes and the lead-up to Christmas. It’s always scary being new, especially as after introductions, I realised most people had already been studying at Korea University for at least a semester. This means they were already familiar with the course and how it would be taught and settled into friend groups. It’s always more daunting to enter an environment where everyone’s already comfortable. But I was lucky enough to meet some very friendly people and go out for sushi with them.

I come from a big family, and Christmas has always been a very important day for us, so being so far away from my family during the holiday season has been difficult. There are so many family traditions and events that I can’t take part in. It’s disappointing and lonely not being there with them. This Christmas, instead, will be filled with new experiences rather than traditions. It’s my first time seeing snow (other than that one time, ten years ago, when it snowed in Wellington, but that doesn’t really count). My first white Christmas. The first time it snowed, it was like being in a storybook until I slipped and fell in front of the older men scooping the snow… I didn’t realise how warm Auckland was until I came to Korea during the winter.

But despite all this, when I take a moment to take in where I am and what I’m doing, I’m incredibly grateful that I came because it’s given me many new experiences and opportunities. I hope that in February, I return to New Zealand with a stronger mindset regarding doing uncertain things and a new appreciation for the Auckland weather.

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