Let's Live Like We Are Traveling!
Let's Live Like We Are Traveling!
  • Yoo Jin
  • 승인 2024.03.04 10:31
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In 2023, I spent the hottest summer in Taiwan. Being an exchange student, which is only open to university students, is a possible dream that everyone can achieve during college at least once. I participated in the exchange student program and achieved what I had hoped for: I experienced the wider world, made progress in my foreign language ability, and developed internally now six months on. Now, the things that were the objects of my envy came to be my reality in the summer of 2023.


A feeling of excitement and fear

Experiencing the exchange student program was one of the most important times in my college life as I am a student majoring in linguistics. Since I was a freshman, I have thought about participating in the program whenever I apply for school clubs or think about taking a leave of absence, with high expectations of being an exchange student. I originally wanted to be an exchange student for a year, but I ended up going for only one semester. The preparation process was more difficult than I expected, but I finally left and started my journey in Taiwan.
I packed up my things ahead of my departure. People pack for moving or traveling and have certain expectations for the future as they do so. I have been unpacking and packing dozens of times so far due to living in the dormitory and living alone in Seoul. As ever, I silently prepared my luggage to go to Taiwan, but I felt that the act of packing was not as light as usual. I could not ignore my heart trembling and it was impossible to imagine what my life in Taiwan would be like.
I had already been to Taiwan with my family, so it didn't feel unfamiliar to me. However, when I arrived at Terminal 2 in Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, it suddenly came to me: "Oh, I am not here to travel." I could feel excitement and fear at the same time as I got off the plane and went through immigration. I found it difficult to judge exactly whether it was because I was excited or nervous. This is the way I began my life as an exchange student in Taiwan.


Nevertheless, I will be a traveler!

The way I chose to enjoy Taiwan in my own way was to travel. I wanted to meet various people, experience new thoughts and emotions, and gain a broader perspective of the larger world. Not only the happy moments but also some hard experiences made me stronger. Especially, my first two-day trip with a new friend in Taiwan was an unforgettable experience. One day, a month after the start of school, we went on a trip to the city of Yilan on the east coast. From the beginning of the trip, things started to go wrong. We got lost inside the train station and changed the dolphin tour time we had applied for in advance due to our late arrival time. Moreover, we experienced severe motion sickness on the ship and missed the train station where we had to get off. All this happened during the short journey.
As the dolphin tour was delayed, I found the nearby Waiao Beach as soon as I could. Waiao Beach is famous for its gray sand and felt exotic because I had only previously seen brown sand beaches. In addition, the boat shook and lurched on the way out to see the dolphins as the waves were strong. Perhaps thanks to the price we paid to see the natural dolphins, they were playing freely in the sea and welcomed us with cute behavior. However, even on the second day, our luck didn't change. According to our plan, we had to go from Yilan Station to Luodong Station. While listening to a song on the train, I looked out the window without thinking, passing through Luodong Station, and headed further down the street. It felt like I had become a romantic traveler, but it wasn't romantic. Sitting on the train, heading to a most unfamiliar place which I knew only by name and nothing else, I didn't feel so brave. Maybe we wanted to feel the sensibility of train travel.
Even in this situation, I was able to relax thanks to my friend, who continued to keep a smile on her face. It was a trip where nothing really went the way we planned. Maybe because of that, it's a trip that I will never forget and lingers in my memories. While traveling, I often find laughter and happiness in areas I didn't expect, and I also face unfamiliarity and fear. I think it's been a long time since I felt various emotions and stimuli, so I want to keep challenging myself and traveling.


The hottest summer

The exchange student life in Taiwan was a comedy when seen in long-shot but a tragedy in close-up. I had such a hard time in the beginning that it took lots of courage just to buy a drink. However, with the support of the other foreign students, remembering my initial intentions, and courage, I finally came out of myself and became internally strong. During my stay in Taiwan, I enjoyed various experiences that I had never tried before. So, I think I lived a little more of a relaxed and romantic life, focusing more on myself than when I was in Korea. Now, I will have to leave my life in Taiwan as a memory and concentrate on preparing for employment and studying in Korea again. Life will be fierce in the future, but I have made a commitment through travel that the way I accept such a life and the attitude of not losing sight of me are important. It seems that I have grown up into a person who can enjoy the moments that are challenging and need courage without avoiding them. I want to remember and cherish the hottest summer I spent in Taiwan for the rest of my life.


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