Going home: An end to my epic study abroad adventure!

by Paris Norris
Stripes Korea

Editor’s Note: Paris Norris is a former soldier turned student who studied in Korea. She chronicled her time on the Peninsula in Stripes Korea and Korea.Stripes.com.

Here I am again at Incheon Airport, standing in line waiting to board my flight to Los Angeles. As I dread the long flight back to the states, I begin to feel an array of emotions. It feels like déjà vu. I can’t believe that my time in Korea has finally come to an end. Only yesterday was I moving into my dorm at the SK Global House on the Yonsei University campus. The last five months I’ve spent in Korea feel like a dream. All of the people I’ve met, the places I’ve visited, and the food I’ve grossly indulged in, seem to blend together into one bittersweet savory flavor that I will cherish for the rest of my life. To think, it all started seven years ago-my passion, drive, and motivation to get to Korea.

Saying “Goodbye”
My final days in Korea were a bit odd. Majority of my classmates departed for the states before Christmas so they could spend the holidays with their families. The few lucky students who will remain in Korea until the end of the school year are all still enjoying their vacation time and traveling Asia. I spent my last two weeks at my favorite guesthouse in Hongdae, Come Inn Guesthouse, with my friend Bobby, the owner. The day before my flight, my phone would not stop ringing. I was constantly receiving messages and notifications from all of my friends who wanted to see me off. Initially, I had planned a small dinner at the guesthouse with a few of my closer friends; however, once I divulged to everyone where I was staying, people continued to pour into the guesthouse the entire evening. We ended having to go out for dinner, which turned out to be a spectacular farewell dinner party!

Just do it
Korea has inspired me in so many ways. I have a newfound passion and determination to pursue other endeavors that I am interested in. With this being my final year as an undergraduate, I previously pondered applying for graduate school, but after my experience in Korea, I’ve decided to move to Seoul for the next few years. I have already begun looking at potential careers, and I think that if all goes well, I just may make Seoul my permanent home. This adventure has taught me that I can succeed at anything that I want to do. My key ingredients for success are desire, drive, and purpose. My advice to anyone looking to reach beyond the boundaries that they have set in front of them is simple. Do it. Just do it. It’s surprising how easy and attainable any goal is once your mind is set and you focus on what exactly it is that you want. If you’re reading this upon the brink of making a life decision, jump! Dive into the deep end. You might surprise yourself.

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