So today was the big day! Until now, Korea seemed like a point way off in the future and a place far away on a map. But as I packed my (waaaaaay) overweight suitcases into the car and said goodbye to all my neighbors, my trip suddenly became much more real.
My family drove me to JFK Airport for a 1 AM flight (yes, 1 AM!!!), and we said our goodbyes before I went through security. I was very sad to leave two such wonderful parents and nervous to embark on this new chapter of my life. Luckily, meeting the other Fulbrighters on my flight cheered me right up!
The flight itself was fourteen hours, and the time difference was thirteen hours. So I left JFK at 1:00 AM on Saturday and arrived at Incheon Airport at 4:00 AM on Sunday. The jet lag didn’t seem too bad at first, but as the day went on, the 70 of us were all but begging for sleep!
Our Orientation staff greeted us at Incheon and traveled with us to our orientation site, Jungwon University in Goesan. Jungwon (pictured below) is a marble palace, a labyrinth, a model of modernity meeting tradition, and a mammoth structure in a rural town. More about the university later.
When we reached Jungwon, we settled in our dorm rooms, had a few welcome presentations, and received a cultural lesson about the protocol of bowing. I also ate Korean food for the first time, which was…a rather spicy experience.
Our language test is tomorrow and so are the first teaching workshops. Off to sleep!