Hello fellow Longhorns! My name is Celeste Oon. I’m a third-year double-major in linguistics and East Asian studies, and this fall I’m studying abroad at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea.
I’ve always known I wanted to study abroad, even before entering university. I mean, who wouldn’t want to travel and go to school in another country? I often daydreamed about what I might do while abroad. Then, around the tail end of my sophomore year at UT, I decided it was time to go through with the preparation process and make it a reality. I was fully ready, excited, and committed for the adventure.
But, as time passed, things began to get more stressful. I found myself submitting document after document, going to appointment after appointment, doing this and that in order to prepare. I was submitting applications, forgoing my housing renewal here in Austin, and so on. It began to hit me that there was no going back. And I actually began to dread the entire thing.
Doubts constantly swirled around in my mind. What if I was making the wrong decision? What if something bad happened to me? What if I didn’t like life over there? Would this even be worth the trouble? I’ll be honest when I say I almost called off the entire thing. But there was a little voice in the back of my head telling me to keep pushing and go through with it, otherwise I’d regret not going in the future. So I kept at it, and the next thing I knew, the summer had rolled by and I was getting on a plane to South Korea.
While I was sitting on the plane, something felt different. As I looked out the window, gazing at the clouds and beautiful landscape below, I knew everything was about to change. This was a chance for me to try something completely new and have an once-in-a-lifetime experience.
It’s been a little over a week since I landed in Seoul. I’m currently sitting in an Isaac Toast shop, munching on a bacon potato pizza sandwich. Life has been pretty crazy since I got here. I’ve been out and about every single day: shopping at Myeongdong, looking at art at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, eating street food anywhere I can find it, and hanging out with my friends at the best restaurants around campus. I’ve walked more in the past week than I ever have at UT, and have climbed up way more stairs than I want to admit. In a few hours, I start my first day of class, and I couldn’t be more excited.
So what’s my advice to you? Take the chance. No matter how stressful or uncertain things may seem at the moment, keep your end goal in mind and know that it’s worth it. I’ve only been in Seoul for a week, but I already know that studying abroad has been the single best decision I’ve ever made in my life. I can’t wait to share my adventures with you as the semester unfolds!
Celeste Oon is a 2019 Global Ambassador majoring in linguistics and East Asian studies. Celeste is studying at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea.
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