As a GDUFS’ exchange student now studying at Hallym University, LIN Xiaochun cherishes all her experiences – from living to studying – in Korea, which over the long term, will help to foster her optimistic spirits.
Before her arrival, her impression of Korea was made up of Korean operas, the belief that all girls wear make-up perfectly, and brilliant actors are everywhere. In fact, things are far beyond that. LIN’s classmates – also GDUFS’ exchange students – have met beloved Korean actors on the street several times. In addition, influenced by distinct Korean fashion, the young dress in a similar style, which makes LIN confused sometimes when recognizing her friends. Besides, Korean’s obsession with kimchi also came as a surprise to LIN. Kimchi is such an essential part of a meal that it can be seen everywhere: in breads, in soup, and even in western-style meals.
In terms of her studies, LIN regards it as the toughest challenge in Korea, because she has to learn and complete all presentations in Korean. “But it does help a lot,” LIN said; “people even mistake me for a native Korean speaker.” After a semester, she now has adjusted to this way of education and is willing to acquire knowledge independently.
When it comes to the benefits of being an exchange student, LIN uses “active” to describe herself. Compared with what she used to be, LIN has become outgoing and confident when communicating with others, which has brought new friendship to her. She believes that she has been brave enough to address all problems in her exchange life. “I used to give up before I started, because I thought I could not live up to the expectation,” LIN said, “but now, I am willing to try first, and it usually turns out that I can do a good job.”
In LIN’s opinion, respect is always the vital principle for exchange students when integrating with the new environment. They should try to accept exotic customs and understand differences between cultures. In other words, do as the Romans do.