Cassandra Staalenburg - 2017 Program Participant

What inspired you to go abroad?

I was determined to go abroad because I wanted to educate myself on something more than I already knew. And Korean culture, from the music, TV, and food, all really interested me since it was introduced in the United States. I’m in love with the fashion, the morals, and respect they have over there in South Korea, and the entire experience itself.

Why did you choose LanguBridge Education Centre?

I chose the Langubridge program because it fit all my requirements perfectly. It was in the perfect time slot during the summer, comfortable living situations, a mix of language learning, and culture trips, and free time. It was honestly just a perfect fit!

Dinner with friends in Seoul, South Korea

Dinner with friends!

What was your favorite part about South Korea?

My favorite part was the feeling I had after living there for a week. Even now I can still remember what it was like to walking in the subway everyday, or buy snacks from the convenience store. The people, and the feeling was truly a feeling of home. It felt very right.

What made your experience abroad unique?

What made it unique was the complete difference in culture, language, and everything. I got to experience a little bit of everything and made a bunch of new friends that were native to the country.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

The staff was absolutely amazing. I had a very strong relationship with my langubridge counselor, we would all go out to eat together and she was really someone I trusted. As well as the other head staff, when I got sick the first week they made sure to check in and do whatever they could.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

I wish I would have tried to practice my Korean more so I could have become a little more confident.

Describe a typical day in the life of your program.

I would wake up, get ready for the day, and on the way to school me and my friends would grab a quick breakfast from the bakery shop in the subway. Then we would go to class for 3 hours or so, and then go eat lunch. From this point we would either have free time, or go on a culture trip, depending on the day!

What did you enjoy doing in your free time?

We would either go shopping, hang out with our native Korean friends, go see touristy places, or hang out with our host family and chill out!

What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?

I had a host family, and they also had other host siblings so it was a very amazing atmosphere to be in. I not only got to meet native Koreans, but also other people from all around the world. Such as Germany, Egypt, and Sweden. I loved how home like it felt.

Seoul at night

Night view

What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?

Be very open minded and let yourself experience a whole new culture! And get ready to be attentive in your classes!

What was the hardest part about studying abroad?

I think the hardest part about studying abroad was being so far away from home, and truly being on your own. But once you adjust to the new lifestyle and get comfortable with the new place it all becomes a lot better.

What surprised you most about Seoul?

How friendly and welcoming the people are surprised me. The people made sure to be very helpful and complimented us, I never felt unsafe or unwelcomed.

How difficult was it to communicate with locals?

It was fairly difficult to communicate when trying to order at smaller places but I feel like that is also part of the experience and trying to get better at the language.

What is one thing you wish you would have known before studying abroad in South Korea?

I wish I would have known how humid it would be, and how not all the places would have AC like in the United States, but it was quick to get used to.

If you could study abroad again, where would you go?

If I could study abroad again I would go to Japan since the culture seems very interesting and different.

SM Town in Seoul, South Korea

SM town!

What do you feel the biggest benefit of studying abroad is?

The biggest benefit is the journey and things you learn about yourself. I feel like I learned a lot of new things about who I am as a person, and how quickly I can adapt. It was a test of how independent I was, from managing my money and navigating from location to location. It really opens up your mind about the world, and about people in general. It makes you realize that there is so much more to the world than just your home country. It's really fascinating.

Do you have any packing tips for individuals headed to Seoul?

My packing tip would be to pack toiletries in detail, especially if you have specific skin or body conditions. As well as plug converters, those are essential. I also purchased a wifi egg so I had wifi wherever I went and that was very convenient. Make sure to pack for the weather as well.

Now that you're home, how has your program abroad impacted your life?

My time abroad had impacted me in so many ways that I felt like a completely different person when I came back. I was more confident, sure of myself, and who I was. I learned new things about me and the world, and other people! It’ll forever be an opening door for me, leading to so many more amazing things.

Would you recommend LanguBridge Education Centre to others? Why?

Yes i would! It’s an amazing program and everyone is so nice and caring. Its honestly a perfect mixture of everything!