I think life is something that has to go through a process of constant change and adaptation. These changes are important parts of our lives, including changes in emotions, human relationships and in the environment. Everyone is caught up in this wave of change at least once, and what’s important in this process is the ability to adapt to new environments. These changes and adaptations present great challenges and opportunities for our growth and learning.
Personally, I have undergone three major environmental changes, and I have experienced adaptation and growth each time. Now, I am once again riding the wave of change and trying to find a better self.
The first time I experienced a major environmental change was when I left for the United States as an exchange student in grade 10. After growing up in Seoul for 15 years, I suddenly started a homestay in a small town in the U.S. In Korea, I thought of myself as an extrovert and sociable person by staying only with people I knew at school.
The reality is that I couldn’t speak a word of English at that time, and I realized how difficult it was to be nervous and close to new people in a strange place. At that time, I think I should have understood myself better and prepared better for these changes.
But I needed time for this, and I got to understand myself more deeply, adapting to the language and the new environment for about three to four months. In addition, I was able to adapt thanks to the host family who enjoyed Korean culture at home and kindly taught me about Michigan and American culture.
After returning from Michigan, my desire to study at university in another foreign country grew during the time I finished high school. After finishing high school, I moved to Winnipeg about two months later and entered the University of Manitoba. Leaving Seoul after 18 years brought me through another major environmental change, as I was away from the convenience of a large city with high-rise buildings and convenient public transportation systems.
But at the time, I moved without any information or preparation, so everything was unfamiliar from day one. Fortunately, I arrived in May, so I was able to adapt starting with summer, a relatively warm season. However, as winter came, I had a hard time facing the tricky weather and scenery. But as time went by, I became more attuned to life in this area.
After graduating from the University of Manitoba this summer, I travelled for about three months, pursuing change once again. One of the difficulties was that communities related to my own interests were limited. At school, it was relatively easy to share and enjoy interests through club activities or classes, but it was difficult to find these activities after graduation.
I recently moved to Toronto, where I rediscovered my passion for the city’s diverse activities and cultures. Currently, I’m looking for different communities related to my interests in Toronto and trying to expand my own local network by connecting with local culture.
These experiences of change and adaptation have made my life more prosperous, and motivate me to continue to achieve self-development through change in the future. Change is frightening, but through adaptation and hard work, we can grow into stronger and more mature people. After all, these experiences allow us to reach our full potential and connect with the world in a cooler way.