"If I were to die tomorrow, would I not regret my university life?"
If I study hard and get good grades and go to school with a scholarship, can I say, 'I spent my university life doing well'? Looking back on my university life for the past two years and asking myself, the answer was NO. Because university life with only grades seemed really meaningless to me.
I wanted to live my life differently than I have ever lived. Not just university life with grades, but I dreamed of my own university life filled with happy memories that I could smile at just before I died.
In order to change your life, you have to change three things. 1) Change where you live, 2) Change who you meet, and 3) Change your time. So I wanted to try anything in my 20s. I remembered what my senior told me, "You should travel as much as you can when you are in university. Don't make excuses that you can't go because you don't have enough money, just go back and owe it to your parents. You're going to see the world bigger than anything else, and that's why it's so important." Following my senior's advice, I decided to go to an exchange student and it was Warwickshire College located in Leamington Spa, England. Below are three things I have learned from my four-month English exchange student.
1) Change where you live.
I was a frog in a well. After living in Korea all my life, I saw a whole different world in England. The most impressive of them was the modern architecture, which was densely built throughout the city of England. Korea was so full of skyscrapers that even if you walk along the street, you can't feel much of it, so you can't take your eyes off because of the splendor and grandeur of the modern architecture of the people who turn their eyes in England. In particular, the UK has the 'Act on the Conservation and Management of Modern Buildings'. On the other hand, I was envious of the British who said they felt historical value and nostalgia from such well-preserved buildings. If I had stayed only in Korea, I would have never known that these magnificent and colorful modern architectures on the other side of the globe were in this era we live in. It was only when I changed the environment that I began to see how big and broad the world was.
2) Change who you meet,
The British were really curious about how they lived their lives, unlike us. As I started making English friends one by one, I could learn about the way they look at the world and the way they treat life.
First, the British did not look at other people's eyes unlike Koreans. It's a short life to be happy, but the British are not wasting their life looking into other people's eyes.
Second, the British are very considerate. For example, every time I enter a building, the person ahead smiles leisurely for the person behind me and holds the door. That's why England is "gentleman's country." However, I've never experienced such a consideration in Korea, so when I first experienced it in England, I was very touched.
Third, the British have their clear opinion. The classes at the Warwickshire College were completely different from Gachon University. In Korea, professors unilaterally give lectures during classes, and in the U.K., classes are conducted in advance and question-and-answer sessions. Also, I was shocked at the way countless students raised their hands when asked by the professor, "Any Question?" Seeing the British practicing to speak their opinion made me reflect on myself for not being able to articulate my opinion.
3) Change your time.
For the British, family was the most important priority in life. The British, wherever they went to school or work, tried their best to do what was best for them, but if anyone in the family was sick, they ran to the family immediately. What was even more surprising was that everyone, whether at school or at work, understood the situation and instead gave them a vacation to take good care of their families. Looking at this, I looked back on where I spent my time the most, and I was spending more time doing my personal hobbies than my family.
There is a saying, 'The family is one of nature's masterpieces.' I'll prioritize my life and spend a lot of time on the most important thing, which is my family in my life.
Now that I'm about to graduate from university, if a freshman asks me, "How can I spend my time in university without regret?" I'd like to answer this question without worrying a moment.
"I have the happiest moment of my university life. It was exchange student time in England. At that time, I realized that there were so many happy people in the world. Remember that university is a place not to only get good grades and a good job, but to discover what you like and do well by having various experiences around the world. I hope you can find something you like at this most beautiful time. Cheer for your brilliant youth!"
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