by Kristy Ng
Summarising a whole month’s worth of time abroad is difficult when there’s so much happening. Least to say despite thinking I expected the unexpected, I was still caught off guard. For instance, I never thought I was going to be sick of Korean food. After all it’s so similar to the Chinese food I’ve had all my life, right? But my first culture shock came through food, as the Korean palate was too sweet for my liking and lacked the salty kick that gives meals it’s satisfactory comfort.
We all know how much food contributes to personal happiness.
It didn’t end here for me, soon I was suffering from Korea’s lack of leafy vegetables, as sure the table was full of preserved vegetables and roots, but where are my big dishes of vegetables so commonly served up in Chinese restaurants? Or even a salad would be warmly welcomed. (Mind you I don’t even like eating vegetables at home.)
But when fruit and veg comes at sky high prices and if you’ll excuse the graphic description: when your stool has changed from the regular brown and green to yellow and orange; you know there’s been significant changes to what your body has ever known.-But it seems to be holding up ok..
Up to here you may think that this must be a complaints post, or that I’m a grumpy old fart. But the charm of exchange is that you learn to stretch yourself more than you think you can go and to search for solutions. You don’t let these things get you down, because you’ve been told you’re here to have a good time.
And most importantly don’t forget that:
- Be openminded- I was told this 100 times by everyone who knew about the exchange process, and it’s true. You can choose to hate life where you are and be a quitter, or you accept and move on.
- You will experience culture shock-even if you’re prepared, even if you’ve visited the country before. Things are just different when you’re there for a holiday and when you’re living there.-At least in my case anyways.
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