It’s been a whirlwind of excitement since I touched down in the UK and began my studies at the University of East Anglia. Two weeks have already flown by, and I’m here to share the incredible journey of trying something new in this vibrant and diverse community.
In my past study abroad experiences at Temple Rome and Temple Japan, there was only one building that housed all the people and all the classrooms. There was no extended campus. Here at the University of East Anglia, it’s an entirely different story. This is a fully established university with a sprawling campus, multiple buildings, and a green, natural paradise all around
The abundance of greenery is a sight to behold. I’m surrounded by lush plants, flourishing forestry, and the occasional bunny hopping by—yes, you read that right, bunnies! The campus feels like a sanctuary of learning and natural beauty, a far cry from my previous urban-centered experiences.
One of the remarkable aspects of studying at the University of East Anglia is the multitude of societies and clubs on offer. Unlike my past study abroad programs where extracurricular activities were limited, here the options are limitless. It’s almost like a buffet of interests, with something for everyone. In the UK, they call them “societies” (equivalent to clubs in American terms), while “clubs” here usually refer to sports. The options are endless, and I wasted no time diving into this world of new experiences.
First up, I stumbled upon the Mahjong Society—a delightful find for someone who hasn’t touched a mahjong tile since high school. The game has found its way back into my life here in the UK. It’s like rekindling an old friendship from high school. Sitting at the mahjong table, the familiar sound of tiles clacking and the challenge of forming winning combinations flooded my senses. Mahjong has not only rekindled cherished memories but also introduced me to a new circle of friends who share the same passion for this captivating game. It’s a delightful addition to my study abroad experience, reminding me that sometimes, the past can beautifully intertwine with the present.
But my journey into the past didn’t stop there. I dusted off my ballet shoes, a passion I had to set aside when I moved to the US from Korea. The graceful movements and the wave of nostalgia that swept over me were truly magical. It’s remarkable how the things we love have a way of finding us again when we least expect it.
As someone who embraced salsa dancing in Mexico, I couldn’t resist the allure of ballroom and Latin dance at UEA. From the sultry rhythms of Latin dance to the elegant twirls of ballroom, I found myself captivated by the world of partner dancing. I learned to dance the cha-cha-cha, waltz, and jive at UEA, and each dance has brought its unique charm and flair to my life in the UK. It’s not just about the steps; it’s about connecting with people from all walks of life through the language of dance.
Taekwondo, a martial art I had briefly practiced during high school, also made its way back into my life. The discipline, focus, and the rush of adrenaline during training sessions brought back fond memories while paving the way for new ones. I found new friends from all over, including meeting new friends from Korea, being able to connect to my roots! On a humorous note, I had accidentally kicked someone during a practice session, and the master won’t stop making fun of me for it! It’s all in good spirits, and it’s moments like these that add a touch of humor to my life here.
And then, there’s archery—an aspiration I’ve held onto for as long as I can remember. I’ve always dreamed of wielding a bow and arrow like a character from a medieval tale. Now, with the opportunity right in front of me, I’ve decided to give it a shot (pun intended). The first session was a mix of anticipation and exhilaration, and I can’t wait to see where this new adventure takes me. I’m ready to aim for the bullseye, both in archery and in life.
In this kaleidoscope of new experiences, I’ve had the privilege of meeting people from all corners of the globe. Each society and club brings together individuals with diverse backgrounds and stories. It’s a reminder of the beauty of human connection and the richness of cultural exchange.
As I continue to explore these newfound passions and friendships, I’m reminded of the limitless opportunities that studying abroad presents. It’s a chance to step out of your comfort zone, rediscover old passions, and embrace the new with open arms.
Stay tuned for more tales from the UK as I navigate this exciting chapter of my study abroad journey. Who knows what new adventures and discoveries lie ahead? The only way to find out is to keep exploring.