I just realized that it has been half a year since I was away from here. The first semester of graduate school was so intense that really kept me busy until I did not have time to write anything. I am now on the vacation. Winter break started in mid-December but I could not find time to write because I was tied up with busy schedules including a short visit to my home country.
Now that I am free I can sit down and get back to my favorite hobbies including writing. I am now sitting alone in my house, drinking a hot mocha, listening to music, and writing this post. It is too cold outside. These days, the weather has dropped to almost -20 Degree Celsius.
Looking back to my first semester, everything was new to me as I had been away from academic life since I graduated from college in early 2014. So how was my first semester? It went well. I eventually finished it with satisfactory grades for all the courses. I took five courses so it was quite intense for me. It is a bit hard to handle all the coursework and papers. It does require strong time-management skills. So I took my semester as an experience and learn from it so that I can plan ahead for what I have to do next semester.
All my professors are great. They are really helpful and respectful. My classmates are also amazing. The best thing I have learned from all my classes was the discussion of various topics with people from diverse countries. I was able to get to know the real examples and experiences from different countries. It is a wide-open window to see the world even clearer and better.
To complete all the school work, I need to read many journals and books before class to discuss with professors and classmates. Moreover, I have to write a critical review as an assigned task every week. I did not have midterm or final exams. They were replaced by midterm and final papers. During the final weeks, I always stayed up late to finish my papers until 6am or 7am in the morning. I usually drink coffee or eat chocolate while I study so that I can concentrate on my work without feeling sleepy.
After all the hard work and sleepless nights, my effort was well paid off. Due to my GPA which is above 4.30 on a 4.50 scale, I am awarded an extra scholarship from HUFS. I did not expect to get that. I actually just tried my best to complete all the tasks on time. This award is a huge motivation for me to try even harder for the next semester.
Despite all the busy schedules and loads of school work, I still managed to visit some new places. Thanks to my Cambodian friends, I was able to travel inside and outside Seoul. Now, they were all back in Cambodia since they already finished their graduate study. They were an important part of my life experience in Korea. Without them, I would not be able to have a joyful life here.
It is undeniable that studying abroad is for obtaining an academic study; however, it is not the only important thing. The academic experience is important so is a social life experience. Studying abroad is a priceless opportunity to explore a new country, new land, new culture, new places, and new things. We cannot just focus on school work and ignore the outside world; because, at the end of the day, all we have got from academic life is a certificate degree while social experiences will leave us with loads of experiences, tremendous adventures, and unforgettable memories.
Time has flown too fast for those who are enjoying it including me. It was like yesterday but I have already reached halfway through my time in Korea. I have only 3 semesters left which is one and a half years to go. It might be long for those who wait but it is definitely short for those who want to stay.
Life is a long journey. We can stop in the middle of the way because we are tired and want to rest but eventually we need to get up and walk again on this long and unpredictable journey. Sometimes, it is ok not to have a destination and to live a moment. Yet, it should not be too long.