I Finally Traveled To South Korea To Visit My Home Country, And I'll Never Forget It

I Finally Traveled To South Korea To Visit My Home Country, And I'll Never Forget It

Being a Korean American, I was surrounded by hints of Asian culture back in California, but not a full and complete experience of immersion.

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Being a Korean American, I have never stepped foot in South Korea until this month. Recently, I went to South Korea with my friends over fall break because I am studying abroad in Shanghai, and I can say that it is a completely foreign yet comfortable feeling. Especially, as a young adult, visiting your home country for the first time, it was definitely a new experience that I would never forget.

All these years, I have stayed with the States because there was never any time for me or my family as a whole to travel to South Korea. However, because I am abroad in Shanghai, and South Korea is right there, I cannot miss the opportunity to visit at least once. So here, I took the chance and went to Seoul and I can say that is was definitely worth it. Being a Korean American, I was surrounded by hints of Asian culture back in California, but not a full and complete experience of immersion. I got to see a whole other culture I have only heard of or seen on television, ate traditional dishes, and saw many national sights. As a Korean American, it was definitely both a weird yet comforting feeling.

As I walked through the streets of Seoul, I definitely felt out of place and many people could tell that I was not from Korea. From the way I dressed to the way I talked and acted was very different from those who live in Korea. Yet, I was familiar with the language and culture, as I watched many Korean shows and learned about Korean culture as a young kid. I felt both out of place but at home when visiting South Korea, a feeling that is indescribable. However, one of the main things that I learned and got out of visiting my home country for the first time was the regret of never visiting as a younger child. I think that it would have been completely different, maybe even better experience if I went when I was younger with my family and got to experience the glimpse of childhood life in Korea.

Although I have this feeling of regret, I am still extremely glad and appreciative that I had the chance to go as a young adult. I learned many things about myself, one being that I became more proud of being a Korean American. Being able to experience and feel comfortable in two completely different cultures and understanding the language and culture of another country is definitely a huge privilege. What this visit has taught me as a young adult is to never forget my roots and where I came from.

A lot of the times, I forget what it is like to live in another country as a different person. I am caught up in what is happening so much in where I grew up, the States, that I forget that my home culture and origin is from another country that I have never been before. However, just because you've never visited doesn't mean that a part of your home culture is gone. I learned to be proud of where I came from and never forget.

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11 Inexpensive Road Trip Destinations For College Students

Because adventure.
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College is a time to make memories. It is a time to set out and explore the world. The only problem is that it can be difficult to travel when you're flat-out broke. Many college students are discovering that while the cost of textbooks and tuition increases, their travel funds sadly decrease. Since jet-setting to Paris or Rome may be out of reach at the moment, many students are resorting to road trips within the United States to fix their case of wanderlust. Not only are road trips much more affordable, but they also allow for more spontaneity and exploration. There are countless of hidden gems just waiting to be explored, so grab some friends, put on your favorite Spotify road trip playlist, hit the road and make memories at these 11 incredible places.

1. Havasu Falls, Arizona

It is hard to believe that such a breathtaking waterfall can exist in the middle of the desert. Thankfully, Havasu Falls is no mirage. The falls are located in a remote region of the Grand Canyon and can only be accessed through a 10-mile hike. The entry fee to the park is relatively low and the overnight camping fee is even lower, making it a great destination for college students on a budget.

2. Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado

Instead of spending a semester's worth of tuition on an expensive snowboarding trip, students can try a cheaper alternative - sandboarding. Located in Southern Colorado, Great Sand Dunes National Park is a unique destination that offers a variety of activities. Businesses right outside the park offer the rental of boards, sleds and even skis all specially made for the sand. This means that the rental and entrance fees are the only costs for a fun-filled day of surfing the dunes.

3. South Padre Island, Texas

Whether you head to South Padre for an exciting, fun-filled spring break or for a relaxing weekend getaway, renting a condo is the way to go. The cost of renting a condo can be very low if you split it among several people, which means you can enjoy a tropical beach vacation without breaking the bank.

4. Las Vegas, Nevada


Vegas can either be a very expensive destination or a very inexpensive destination. That's why it is important to play your cards right - and I'm not just talking about gambling. Skip staying the night at the high-end hotels and enjoy their free attractions instead. If you decide to hit the casinos, make sure to keep track of your money - those textbooks don't pay for themselves.

5. Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

In the fall, college campuses across America celebrate the chilly weather with football games, bonfires, and pumpkin-spiced everything. For those who want to switch things up, pack your bags and head to the Smoky Mountains. These beautiful mountains are a must-see in the fall due to the stunning scenery and fall foliage. Try renting a cheap cabin or camping at Smoky Bear Campgrounds to save money.

6. Austin's Sixth Street, Texas

Sixth Street is an iconic and historic street in the heart of Austin. From the exciting nightlife and multitude of bars to the live music and unique art galleries, Sixth Street offers a little something for everyone. For a truly unique Austin experience, stay at the affordable Firehouse Hostel, just minutes from Sixth Street.

7. Daytona Beach, Florida

Located about and hour and half south of Jacksonville, Daytona Beach is notoriously known as a wild spring break destination for college students. While exploring all the concerts, bars and clubs that Daytona has to offer, students can take advantage of the free party bus for easy and affordable transit.

8. Albuquerque, New Mexico

For the low price of only $10 per person, you can experience Albuquerque's annual Balloon Fiesta. A photographer's dream, the Balloon Fiesta offers tons of unique sights, shopping opportunities, and delicious food. If you can't make it to Albuquerque in October, when the Balloon Fiesta takes place, there are plenty of other affordable places to explore. From Sandia Peak to Old Town, Albuquerque offers something for everyone.

9. Rainbow Springs State Park, Florida

For water lovers, this Florida gem has it all. Kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving and tubing are just a few of the many activities you can enjoy in the crystal clear water of the Rainbow River. Since this destination is off the beaten path, it is an affordable alternative to Florida's Discovery Cove.

10. New Orleans, Louisiana

Two words: Bourbon Street. Full of iconic bars, local jazz musicians and interesting cuisine, there is never a dull moment on Bourbon Street. As if this famous street wasn't crazy enough, in February thousands of college students flock there to celebrate Mardi Gras. Though the prices of drinks can be high during this time, students can save money by booking their hotel ahead of time. For under $100 per night, Astor Crowne Plaza offers guests a luxurious stay on a budget.

11. Pacific Coast Highway, California

Though this one is not quite a destination per se, it should definitely be high up on your bucket list. This coastal highway, also known as Highway 1, hits many of California's major cities such as San Fransisco and Santa Monica. As if a trip to these cities is not exciting enough, the drive itself is extremely scenic. To save money on this trip, try booking cheap hotels or even stay for free at hostels. Of course, with this trip and all of these trips, you are bound to spend some money. But the memories that you will make on these trips will be worth every penny.

Cover Image Credit: StockSnap

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11 K-Pop Songs For Any Mood, Big Or Small

It's becoming a popular genre, so here's some suggestions.

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Over the past two years, I have been diving into a genre that has become very popular called K-pop. K-pop is short for Korean pop which is what the name entitles. Koreans singing pop music. The reason that I have been getting more into this genre was because of a group called BTS (if you don't know who they are at this moment and why, they are seven guys that essentially broke through the music barrier in the US first. To all my fellow army reading this, they paved the way). It takes a lot to understand what a song meaning is, but here are some for any mood.

1. Lost or feeling like you're nothing

Some suggestions that I would give are "Butterfly" by Loona or "2! 3!" by BTS. Both songs talk about being strong and that there are days that are going to be better because you are awesome.

2. Just went through a breakup and you're pissed

This I have go to with "Gashina" by solo artist Sunmi. It's more of the badass song that gives off this "bitch, why did you mess with me" vibe and literally one of the lyrics is "why are you leaving such a beautiful woman like me behind?"

3. Just went through a breakup and you're sad.

I had to dig but I have to go with "Butterfly" by BTS. This has a different feel from Loona's "Butterfly" but it's good to listen to because it can lift up a spirit.

4. Need a pump up song before a house party

"Gogobebe" by Mamamoo. It's that song that can get someone pumped up for a night out while getting ready, in my opinion at least.

5. A good party song

"Cherry Bomb" by NCT 127. The beat is big and it's a song to get people dancing.

6. A song for Wine Wednesday

"Dionysus" by BTS. The song title is literally the Greek God of wine. I don't that's not the meaning behind the lyrics but like... wine.

7. A song for if you just want people to say your name

"Say My Name" by ATEEZ. A new hot rookie group that I've been obsessed with listening to like that deep voice when they sing "say my name, say my name, say my naaaame."

8. Just need some drama in your life

"Dramarama" by Monsta X. *deep breath* DRAMAMARAMAMARAMAMA HEY! And rest.

9. In a happy and peppy mood

"Very Very Very" by I.O.I. Can I first say I love this song and can I also say that I wish I.O.I didn't disband.

10. A good summer song

"Dance the Night Away" or "What is Love" both by Twice. They're great songs and the music videos for both are just amazing. I mean, "What is Love" makes many video references!

11. A song you need to stream

Just stream K-pop in general. It's hard to get into the mainstream of music here in the United States and now K-pop is in that. Yes, it's in a language most may not know, but it's not the language. Music is universal.

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