Hi! I’m SeungLee Lee, a sophomore hailing from Seoul, South Korea, and I am thrilled to be writing for From Albania to Zimbabwe. I will try to share all aspects of the international experience at Brown and hopefully provide a well-rounded, honest picture of what an American college experience is really like. Stay tuned!
I’ve been repeatedly saying this for the entire semester, but it is crazy how fast this semester has gone. I’ll be home in less than ten days, which brings some bittersweet emotions. This semester has been my most rewarding semester at Brown – I have yet to experience the infamous sophomore slump, and I feel like I have become more mentally equipped to manage stressful, overbearing situations. I no longer have the “why am I here?” question I constantly asked myself freshman year. I finally feel at home and appreciate this quaint, beautiful city more and more.
Home, for me, and for many international students, stirs up some complicated emotions. In fact, for anyone who had moved around often or had lived away from family members, it is difficult to pinpoint where our “home” is. Beginning of freshman year, when everyone was asking where everyone was from, what everyone was studying, etc., I introduced myself as coming from the suburbs of Chicago – and I wholeheartedly thought so, even though I had recently moved back to Seoul. Chicago was my home for the past four years and more. Nowadays, I don’t feel quite the same. I introduce myself as an international student from Korea. If people are curious which city I am from, I say I am from Seoul – and even that is not completely accurate because my family recently moved to Busan last winter. I still feel out of place whenever I am in Busan – everything is different, from the dialect, the food, even the weather. Where I perceived to be my home never aligned with the where I was physically living at that time.
Still, I’ve talked to people who has moved around way more than I have. A girl I met last year, whose parents worked for the embassy, had a map in which she marked every country she had lived in or visited – it was quite remarkable. My roommate and I have conversations about how we have come to not attach ourselves too much to one place but appreciate all of them equally. And honestly, it’s fun to live in and experience different places – that’s exactly why I chose to come to Brown. It’s both a challenge and a privilege.
That doesn’t mean I don’t get jealous of friends who live two hours away from Brown and can go home for long weekends. I am not looking forward to my two train rides and a 14-hour flight that I need to endure to get home, but before teleporting becomes a reality I’ve run out of options. But I know it will be worth it at the end.
Have a wonderful holiday and I will see you all next year!
Do you have any questions, comments or concerns? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you!