My Time in Korea

Meet Nick, who discusses a career change, a cross-continental move, and his falling in love with a new language!

In 2008, I graduated from Brown University without the slightest clue of what I wanted to do with my life. If I’m being totally honest, I think I may have loved my undergraduate experience a little bit too much, and tried to delay the inevitable for as long as I possibly could. Out of fear of moving back in with my parents, I eventually began the job search and accepted the first job offered in the field of Private Equity and Venture Capital.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be a horrible fit and things only got worse in the fall when the economy took a nosedive. Hours and hours of mind-numbing monotony had me reevaluating my options, looking for an escape. That is when I decided to make the move to South Korea to take a position as an ESL instructor.

At the time, I figured that this opportunity would be a nice one-year stopgap until I figured out what I really wanted to do with my life. But then, the funniest thing happened: I grew to love everything about Korea and found each day to be an exciting new learning experience. The exhilarating rush I felt being able to sound out the characters on street signs minutes after my first language exchange is something I will never forget.

Up until my big move, I had spent my entire life in New England, so I was used to a certain way of doing things. Being immersed in a culture that was completely different from my own was a life changing experience and motivated me to learn the language. After a series of language exchanges, I was hooked. To this day, I am still studying the language and plan to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.

As the great Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to a man in his language, that goes to his heart.” This certainly rang true in my personal experience and is the reason why I see my decision to learn Korean as one of the best I’ve ever made. Being able to speak the language has allowed me to build relationships that will last a lifetime. Not only that, I have grown as a person both in intellect and maturity.

Learning the Korean language and their unique culture has changed my life immeasurably and it is my hope that everyone can have an experience similar to mine. That is why I decided to join the Student Language Exchange and I hope others will take the leap just as I did. Trust me, your life will be better off for it.


Nick D’India is currently pursuing a Master’s of International Affairs degree from the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California San Diego. Selected as a 2015-2016 Dean’s Fellow, he hopes to work in the field of international education upon graduation.


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