Homesickness: Finding Comfort in the School Cafeteria

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Before coming to my study abroad program many people told me that while being abroad I would experience homesickness. I will be honest, I was convinced that it would never happen to me. Traveling and studying in Korea has always been one of my biggest dreams, it was just not possible.

This will be the fourth week since I arrived in Korea and I can say that they were right. I feel that I am now in the “homesickness stage.” While my time here I have missed mostly my family and food, especially homemade food. Fortunately, I am able to video call my parents and siblings. It is more convenient and makes less of the homesickness stress. However, I still miss my homemade food.

When thinking of the school cafeteria, it always comes to my mind: cold, tasteless, and expensive food. The cafeteria here at the campus was not really an option for me at first because the distance from the cafeteria to my dorm is quite far plus the hot and humid weather in Korea right now made it harder. However, the building where I take my last class is closer to the cafeteria so I decided to go last week. I can say that Korean school cafeterias a very different from others I have been to. The food tastes just like homemade, it is very cheap (most of it is less than $4) and every day there is a “special” dish. After eating in the cafeteria for three days, I discovered that the cafeteria has two more floors. In those floors, they offer different types of foods: Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Western.

Some Korean dishes seem similar to the homemade Mexican food I eat back home, which made me really happy and surprised. Not only does the school cafeteria offers quality food at a low price but it makes you enjoy your food in a homelike environment. I can say that eating in the school cafeteria has help me to cope with homesickness yet I get to learn more about Korean cuisine.

Here are some examples of the meals Yonsei’s cafeteria offers:

Spicy Beef and Bean Sprout Soup (my favorite).
Bean Sprout Soup.
Dumpling Soup.

More examples from the menu