“At First, You’ll Feel Like a Freshman Again…”

I’d be lying to you if I said study abroad will be the best experience of your life. In fact, be prepared to feel the saddest you’ll ever feel in your life as you leave behind a city you’ll grow to love, a life you can call home and friends you’ll never forget. In other words, don’t study abroad, you will have feelings and die. However, if you’re prepared to suffer bittersweet agony, go ahead, be my friend.

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The decision to study abroad was a difficult one. To end my college career, I decided to study abroad at Korea University Business School in Seoul, South Korea. Why would anybody question the opportunity to study abroad? Well, it was a difficult situation because I was graduating a semester early and wouldn’t be coming back to Binghamton the following semester. It came down to two choices – give up study abroad or give up Bing. Don’t get me wrong, I love Binghamton and am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and the people I’ve met. However, something was prevalent to me; Binghamton would no longer challenge me to grow anymore. Life can be repetitive at Bing – waking up, going to class, attending events, hanging out at Bartle, and maybe spending more nights than you would like at the Rat. It was a never-ending cycle and I needed change.

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At first, you’ll feel like a freshman again. It’s exciting to be thrown in an environment with countless new people to meet and new places to explore. You will not only make friends with locals but friends from all around the world enabling you with a global network. You’ll meet and work with some of the brightest people and will be inspired by their ideas. Besides that, you’ll gain skills as you adapt to a new environment proving you can work anywhere in the world. You’ll become open to working overseas for international experience. The places you’ll go will open your eyes and heart to new landscapes in the world. I had the wonderful opportunity to see several different cities ranging from the Hawaii of Japan (Okinawa) to another city that never sleeps (Hong Kong).

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I’ve stayed up with friends till the crack of dawn in Seoul. I’ve partied on New Year’s Eve in Osaka, and visited shrines on New Year’s Day in Kyoto. I’ve spent Lunar New Year with my grandparents in Guangzhou. However, I’ve also seen homeless who spent cold nights huddled together, orphans who scour the streets for leftovers, and workers who are grateful for rice on their table and a roof over their heads. These experiences not only opened my eyes but has also made me realize how fortunate I am to be able to see such sights and experience all cultures.

Carney Zeng, a recent graduate who participated in the exchange program at Korea University Business School in fall 2016

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