By Christine “ECKO” Ho, Contributing Writer

Photo credit: Christine “ECKO” Ho

Delta Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. is a sorority that is about sisterhood and bringing young women of different backgrounds and nationalities together. I recently went on a vacation (and am still on it at the time of writing) to both South Korea and Thailand. I have not been to South Korea since I was about five years old, so it was a bit of a culture shock when I arrived.

I am Korean, and yet I felt as if I could not function nor survive without Stella “Naru” Kim there. A fellow chapter sister, she hosted Manida “Sobe” Chinratana, Julia “AiKo” Hong and me at her apartment. Every day, we did something new in the city – shopping, karaoke, eating at different restaurants, eating street food, meeting new people, etc. In some ways, Korea is very similar to America. The part of Korea where we stayed was connected by the subway system that ran across the entire city, connecting different districts. The subway system is something I still do not understand. If you are thinking of traveling there, do your research first! But it does get easier with experience.

We saw the Korean nightlife, the shopping districts, the fish market, an old palace and many other things in Korea. I found out so much more about my own culture by being there, rather than by reading about it in books. It was fast-paced and we never ran out of things to do during my entire stay in Korea.

Thailand travels. Photo credit: Christine “ECKO” Ho

However, I think the main component to my realizations about Korea was my trip to Thailand. It is not as if I went backpacking, and I stayed at very nice resorts, but the differences between the cultures in Thailand and Korea were highlighted during my stay. Even just driving around, I have seen many different kinds of people. I have used restrooms with no toilet paper (but we carried some around, thank goodness), and drank the natural water with dire consequences (to which I am still feeling the effects). Things are less readily available in Thailand, and travel is done by cars and scooters. 7-Elevens are abundant, as is the street food.

I love where I come from and what I am. I am Korean-American, and I have experienced parts of the world that other people are not so fortunate to have experienced. Although far from the worn-traveler, I keep my experiences close to me, and hope that sharing them might make other people want to find out about other cultures, as well as embracing their own. I am lucky with my life, and wish for sisters to expand their horizons. By learning about other cultures, you will come to love your own, no matter what you are.