5 Questions I am asked about studying abroad in Seoul

There are a few questions I recently noticed I hear a lot since applying and getting accepted to study abroad in Seoul next semester. By now I can give an automatic response to all 5, which can make me feel like a robot.

Photo Credit: Heimo Aga (National Geographic)

Question #1: “Why would you go there?”
Why wouldn’t I? To be honest, I have a LONG list of places I want to go, but South Korea came out as number one when I was looking at where I wanted to study abroad for a couple of reasons.

My interest in South Korea developed partially from a modern Asian history class I took a few years ago (back when I was a history major). The history, culture and language were interesting to me and the book we read, “Still Life with Rice” by Helie Lee, left a strong impression on me. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do.

I started studying Korean around a year ago now and my goal is to become fluent. I am a believer that the best way to do so (for any language) is to immerse yourself.

Question #2: “What will you eat?”
My initial response: “Um…food?”

That quickly proved to be an insufficient answer for the questioner, as they would explain that the food there will not be the same. 

Naturally I had to change my answer: “Um…Korean food?”

To me part of the whole travel experience is the food! I don’t want to eat what I eat at home, that’s…boring…

Question #3 (The PSY Effect):  “Do you know Gangnam Style? Is that why? Will you go to Gangnam?”
I do know the song Gangnam Style; at this point I think most everyone does. However, I can confidently say it had nothing to do with my decision. I submitted part one of my application on July 9th, the MV for Gangnam Style came out 6 days after (on July 15th)

Yes, Psy’s video/song aside I would like to go to Gangnam; I want to see as much as I possibly can. It was already on my list of places to go in Seoul.
Question #4: “You do realize how long a flight that is right?”
I do. :) I am not fond of flying and never claim to be, but I had a philosophy for this. I wanted to study abroad somewhere where the flight is long enough that I would skip it for a week’s vacation. 14hrs is a long flight, but there are 4 amazing months between them.

Question #5: “You’re sure about going then? You can still back out…”
I heard this most while going through the second part of the application process. (I submitted part one online without telling anyone until afterwards.) Even after being accepted I this question popped up quite a bit while I worked on submitting the required forms and documents.

Everyone seems to now understand what I’ve been saying all along. I am 100% positive I am going. Seriously, why must they try and bring down my excitement?

Have you ever been asked similar questions when traveling? 


  1. Funny post. I enjoyed it. Enjoy Korea!...Prof. Lauro


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