We sat on a couch at Aalto University learning hub with Olivia, one of my closest friends (and coolest girls walking on this planet). It was an already darkening late winter afternoon in Helsinki.
”Hey, you know the student exchange results have been announced today!” She told me. Her voice had an excited tone of anticipation. A month earlier I had applied to do an exchange in Seoul, South Korea. What really inspired me to do so, is a long story and a combination of several factors.
I have always loved adventure and for me it has always felt like a natural option to study and work outside Finland. I did my professional studies in music in Stockholm and have lived there for almost three years. An exchange provides a great possibility to try living further away from home and go to places that might otherwise be difficult to access for longer periods of time. Also the South-East Asian pop- and street culture were huge inspirations. I had a great experience at EARS last August in Helsinki and also met some really cool Korean people (who you can read more about here and here). That was the first time I really felt an urge to travel to Seoul. So, when the exchange application period started, I simply decided to give it a shot.
“Are you gonna look if you got accepted or what?”, Olivia continued as I was still in a kind of shock. To be honest, I had almost forgotten I did apply. As I was scrolling down the list of names my heart bumped up to my throat. I had told myself I filled the application just in case, so that I didn’t have to regret a missed chance. But what if I didn’t get accepted? Would I be super disappointed? What if I did? Would I really be moving onto the other side of the world - just drop everything and go?
It took one confused afternoon and a couple of drinks that night shared with a couple of good friends. Anna, Elli and myself sat on my bed in my small student room in the middle of the Friday night, staring at the screen. “Just push the button. You will regret if you don’t”, Anna pushed me. I laughed at her. Who was I kidding? Of course I would go. I am just way too curious to let chances like this slip away. We toasted for my decision and I felt butterflies in my stomach.
If you would have asked me last summer, living in Seoul had not been among the things I imagined myself doing fall 2017. But as you may know, life works in mysterious ways and right now I couldn’t see myself spending the second half of this year anywhere else.
In 5 days I will be landing in Seoul.