Healing My Inner Child

Chung Ang
Author: Maryann Choa

Reflections from Chung Ang University


The weather is 20 degrees with humidity. The sun is shining brightly in the Sindorim neighbourhood as teenagers and young adults take the streets to enjoy their Saturday afternoon. While I am at a realtor office waiting for my rental agreement to be processed and finalized. I stare at my phone, laughing to dissipate my emotions. 

The realtor asks me; “왜? 괜찮아요? (Why? Are you ok?)” 

He proceeds to ask me in English. “What’s so funny?” 

I respond; “Oh nothing, just giggling” 


The reality was, the dream that I had envisioned for myself for the past 10 years was materializing before me. I live in a foreign country, in a micro-studio apartment that I had been manifesting since I was provided the opportunity to study abroad. 


As I sat in this realtor office surrounded by monitors that had apartment listings in Korean, open chats of foreigners and native Koreans bargaining their units, and the nation’s equivalent of Google Translate-Papago-armed for easy translation, the reality of my situation began to hit me. 


I live in South Korea. 


For the majority of my days; I speak Korean, I read Korean, I hear Korean, I absorb Korean media, I observe Koreans interacting with their environment. 


I am living a dream that many would envy. 


It felt surreal… ever since I was in middle school I have always had a lingering feeling that I was not meant to stay in Canada for the rest of my life and that I would eventually leave the country one way or another. The interesting part, during my first week of university at VIU I stared at the Education Abroad posters plastered across the lounge of 250 and I said out loud to myself 


‘That will be me. I am going to study abroad in South Korea at Chung-Ang University soon.’ 


As I am recollecting my memory, I am still in disbelief that my greatest manifestation became a reality exactly 5 years after that fateful event… keep in mind, I genuinely forgot I had mentioned that out loud back in January of 2018. 


I feel a sense of catharsis that I wake up everyday in the country I had longed to live for. I healed my inner child’s desires of living abroad. 


The start of it had been when I watched my second-ever favourite Korean pop idol perform live before my eyes. Not first, as my first-ever favourite sadly passed away due to a successful suicide attempt. Both individuals hailing from the same boy group. It felt like everything before in my life led up to the moment as to why I decided to move to South Korea. It was because of Jonghyun and Taemin. I owe my reason for my interest in Korean culture and entertainment to them. 


Now I met so many people who feel a greater sense of catharsis having healed their inner child as well. So many exchange students finally feel a sense of direction of what they wish to do with their academic and professional careers post exchange semester. 


I don’t know who may read this, but nothing is impossible. Life can be hard but also fun. If there’s one thing, I could give away to you the reader, if an exchange program provides you an opportunity to help heal your inner child, please pursue the opportunity. With all the good and bad experiences, you’ll endure, you will never be given another chance to experience a once in a lifetime event. Life's too short to say no to yourself. Life will ultimately go on, make sure to show up for yourself and your desires. I hope you fall in love with yourself in the process like I have ♡

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