I came to Korea as soon as I became an adult. I sometimes had come to Korea to travel. Before coming to Korea, I was uncertain because I would have to live far away from my family and friends. However, this uncertainty disappeared soon as I met school officials, roommates and foreign friends who were waiting for me at the airport.
I first learnt about alcohol in Korea because I came to Korea as soon as I became an adult. I know that it is different from Japanese drinking culture. I had a chance to drink with a Korean friend when I started studying abroad. I was embarrassed because I didn’t know Korean drinking culture. In Japan, it is customary to pour alcohol to the glass of an elderly person first and fill the glass before the glass is emptied. But in Korea, we shouldn’t pour the alcohol before the glass is completely emptied and we must face the opposite side while drinking with an elder. In addition, we should hold our glass lower than the elder’s and hand position is important when we give and receive alcohols. For these reasons, I felt Koreans respect drinking culture differently than Japanese.
I heard “Japan has good service and Japanese people are kind” a lot from my Korean friends. But I think Koreans are nicer than Japanese. Japanese are kind when they enter the store but I feel it’s just business kindness.
One day, I was looking for a restaurant at night after studying late. One restaurant’s light led me. Therefore, I went to that restaurant. It was the closing hour but the owner let me in. They gave me lots of food and treated me like their daughter. I thought that I was at home. So, I felt warm and cried. The reason why I cried is still a mystery.
Taxi drivers, who talk with me, are comfortable and kind, owners’ friendliness when I go to the market, warmly and open atmosphere in stores and people’s kindness. I can’t feel the same Korean affection in Japan. Affection is one of the reasons why I like Korea. In restaurants, they say “enjoy your meal” when they give food, and “have a nice day” when I go out of the restaurant. Also, I hear “hello” when I enter and “thank you for coming” when I go out. These trivial and common Korean greetings make me feel warm.
There is no big difference in school life between Korea and Japan, but Korea has big universities and better services than Japan. I was surprised and envy that there are banks, cafes, convenience stores and movie theaters on campus. Also, I was very impressed by how there were lots of places for students to get rest and talk with their friends. One thing I was surprised at is that I could reserve study hall space whenever I wanted to without any time restrictions. I was very amazed because I didn’t see this system in Japan.
Because I love Korea and Korean language, every second studying in Korea felt enjoyable and was a happy time that made me strong. In addition, I understand different cultures over the border through Korean language. I will never forget my friends whom I met in Korea.
The life where I lived far from my family was a good opportunity for me to feel thanks and importance toward my family through working and studying alone aboard. I learnt and grew a lot through studying abroad in Korea. My first time, one year in my life of studying abroad is already coming to an end.
| Yumoto Mayu
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