Before studying abroad, I thought that the transition out here would be the hardest part, but it turns out that getting ready to leave this place and transitioning back home is even harder” is probably the most remarkable part for me when I gave a speech during the Spring 2016 Farewell Ceremony. I really had so much fun during my study abroad period that I wanted to stay longer here in Korea and did not want to come back home for just a moment longer.

It’s been a great year at Chung-Ang University where I made lots of memories, experiences, and especially met some amazing and wonderful people around the globe. I stayed here for a year, 11 months to be exact, and to me it didn’t feel like a year at all. It went really fast, especially my second semester here at CAU. My study abroad experience is something that I would never trade for anything. To me, it is a golden treasure that I will surely be keeping with me for my whole life.

What made my study abroad experience more meaningful was when one of my professors offered me an internship to work in her laboratory. I was working with CAU graduate students, and it was a great month working with them all. I learned Molecular Bio techniques in the lab that will help me in the future especially.

Not to forget, GLAMs are amazing! I was really thankful to have them to help every exchange student! Despite their busy schedules, they were always there to make time for me and willing to help every time we needed help. GLAMs are one of the best Korean people I’ve met during my study abroad program.

Often, people asked what I will miss the most when I leave Korea. I usually take a few seconds or even a minute to think, but I couldn’t think of just one thing. I will miss everything in Korea of course. But there’s one thing I will never miss… the hill going back to the dorm! Incoming exchange students are lucky that the newly built building has escalators and will never have to experience climbing up the hill.

If I were to give advices to incoming students, I would say to always have fun and enjoy every moments of their study abroad program. Explore, go outside, and do as much as you can. Try as much Korean foods as you can, even the exotic ones! Probably once might be enough, at least you can say you’ve tried it. Try it for experience and always go for adventures! Never say “I still have time, I will do it later” because trust me, you don’t! But also, do not forget to spare some time for studying. Remember, you are also here to study and get some good grades!

This experience is not only to broaden our horizon but also to enrich our life experience. Interacting and socializing with different kinds of people make us learn different perspectives and teach us things about life. Just learning the Korean culture itself is already fascinating, what’s more when you interact with other exchange students around the globe.

It makes everyone of us an open-minded individual, that learning something from each other’s culture is not different or bad but a unique identity to be proud of.

Micheal Angelo Sagun, University of Hawai’i at Hilo, Fall 2015-Spring 2016