Picture of Seoul captured by Unsplash

Welcome to the next chapter of my Escape to Explore Series! In case you missed the previous chapter, click on the link below and read about my experience solo traveling for the first time.

 

I made it!!!

These thoughts came to me as soon as I stood up from the seat of my 15-hour plane ride. When I finally exited the plane and looked outside, I thought I was in another world. The shining lights off buildings far away and hearing the traffic horns on the highways… I made it.

 

It took me a while to fully grasp my surroundings as I hurried through immigration to find my driver. Once I was in the taxi cab, it was then when I was able to fully take in the city of Seoul for the first time. I think there is always this sense of excitement when and thrill when you visit a new place, but to me, this was different. I knew that this experience was going to be very special. When first arriving to Seoul, I had so many feelings: shock, awe, anxiety, but above all, excitement. There was just so much happening all at once.

 

4 THINGS I INSTANTLY DISCOVERED WHEN ARRIVING IN SEOUL

 

 1.  A Vibrant City At Night

Upon Arrival I was surprised by how busy Seoul is at night. People in every corner walking, restaurants and shop signs still bright and open, busses running, etc. There’s so much to experience and take in at night and I couldn’t wait to start exploring during my stay. Even though some might compare Seoul to New York City, Seoul is a unique city in its own way.

Escape To Explore Series: What It Feels Like To Arrive In Seoul

City of Seoul Captured by Jordan

Escape To Explore Series: What It Feels Like To Arrive In Seoul

The Streets of Seoul Captured by Jordan

2. Welcoming And Accommodating

When I arrived at my accommodation, I felt comfortable, and everyone who helped me settle in was very kind. At that moment, I remember I was so tired and highly jet-lagged. Even little conversations or simple acts can make a big difference. As I am currently still in Korea, everyone has been kind to me. From my coworkers to even people I meet randomly walking outside, it was my first time traveling where I felt not out of place with someone like me coming from thousands of miles away.

3. Convenience Is The Key

The night of my arrival, I decided to walk around the block to familiarize myself with where I was staying. I found how convenient everything here is. There is convenient store, a bank, a café, and the subway station all within the same vicinity of my accommodation, and the subway station is only a few steps away. Seoul is a highly efficient and convenient city. Everything you need is only a few steps away. Everything here is very easy to navigate.

Escape To Explore Series: What It Feels Like To Arrive In Seoul

Coffee Shop and Convenient Store Captured by Jordan

Escape To Explore Series: What It Feels Like To Arrive In Seoul

Picture of a Subway Restaurant not too far from accommodation Captured by Jordan

4. Communication

One worry that I had when arriving was the language barrier. I am not fluent in Korean and I thought communication would be a bit of a challenge. I’ve experienced that while sometimes it can be a challenge, you can get by without knowing any Korean. English is a second language here in Korea and English texts are written underneath subway station names, restaurant signs, etc. While I can navigate speaking English in Korea, My goal during my stay here is to learn the Korean language as much as I can! Down below are examples of subway station names written in Korean, than translated into English underneath.

Escape To Explore Series: What It Feels Like To Arrive In Seoul

Subway Station names in Seoul captured by Jordan

Escape To Explore Series: What It Feels Like To Arrive In Seoul

Subway Station names in Seoul Captured by Jordan

Takeaway from this Chapter?

I have learned that you really don’t know what to expect until you firsthand experience it yourself! Imagining is very much different than reality but Seoul is a rare place in which it is even better than what you’ve imagined.

Next Chapter, you will hear about other interns and their experience so far in Seoul!

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