Story by LEAH WANKUM, for The Muleskinner—
I’m currently studying abroad through UCM as an international student at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea.
I’ve been here since Aug. 8, and have already made a lifetime of memories.
While I am in Korea, I plan to stay involved at UCM by writing about my experiences and offering my advice to other students interested in studying abroad.
Reading about my good experiences will hopefully encourage others to study abroad someday.
Studying abroad has always been something to consider for an undergraduate education, but I never took it further until the fall 2011 semester, when I had the opportunity to get to know my suitemate, an international student from South Korea.
After two weeks as suitemates, Hyunjung and I decided to become roommates in Nickerson Hall.
She introduced me to other Korean students on campus, and the new friendships led me to the entire international student body at UCM, where I made friends with students from several countries, including South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Nepal, China, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Togo, Nigeria, France and Latvia.
It is to these students that I owe my gratitude; they showed me their cultures, music, food, mannerisms and languages.
I’ve made lifelong friends and, hopefully, I have made a good impression as an American on my international friends. In my own small way, I hope that I helped improve relationships between our countries.
My only regret was in having to say goodbye to them at the end of each semester. My perspective of the world changed, however, and I didn’t even have to leave campus for it.
But I wanted to take it a step further. I wanted more, so I looked at my options at a study abroad fair on campus.
Through an information packet, I discovered GlobaLinks Learning Abroad, a program provider that gives opportunities to American and Canadian students to study abroad through its three programs: EuroLearn, AustraLearn and AsiaLearn.
Because Hyunjung showed me so much of her world, I chose AsiaLearn and, more specifically, Korea University.
Considered to be the “Harvard of Korea,” Korea University is one of the three best universities in South Korea; Seoul National University, Korea University and Yonsei University make up the anagram “SKY”.
I am one of around 4,000 international students on campus. I’ve already met hundreds of them at orientation.
It’s so easy to make friends. The students I’ve met and befriended are from South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Kuwait, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Morocco and from all over the United States.
In the next article, I will explain in more detail about my program provider, GlobaLinks Learning Abroad – AsiaLearn.