Anica Bunag is a third-year Psychology student who moved to Perth from the United States when she was 15. For many years, she struggled to make meaningful connections with other people, but this changed last year when she decided to make a real effort to push herself out of her comfort zone, which involved studying abroad for a month in Korea.
What made you want to study abroad?
Up until last year, I couldn’t figure out how to make deeper connections with people or make close friends – so I was kind of forcing myself to constantly go out of my comfort zone and try new things and meet new people in the process. Going to Korea was just one way that I tried to remember how to connect to people after moving here.
Why did you choose Korea?
I was interested in Korean culture because I was just starting to watch K-dramas and listening to K-pop… so I think it was mostly just because it aligned with my hobbies and interests.
Was it hard to adjust to life over there?
Not really – it was pretty fun right from the get-go. When you first arrive, you’re split up into teams made up from people from different countries and you’re also assigned to local students who take you under their wing and help you set up. Everyone in the dorm was in the same boat so we were all willing to meet each other and hang out. It was pretty easy to fit in.
What was your favourite thing about Korea?
It’s cliché but definitely the people – they kind of make or break the experience and I was just with a fantastic group of people. For the first time, it felt like I was back to my old self and I was really just learning how to meet and reconnect with people.
What can other students gain from studying abroad?
I had a friend who studied abroad in Japan who told me that studying abroad was going to change my life and I just kind of dismissed it but he was right. If you study abroad, you should be willing to fully embrace the experience and just be open to the people and the culture and just throwing yourself out there. Immersing yourself that much in the variety of new things you’re exposed to really does change your life in a way. When you go abroad, there’s nobody who knows you so there’s no risk in throwing yourself out there, which gives you a sense of freedom.
Want to have your own life-changing study abroad experience? Find out the four easy steps to be on your way here.