"By six or eight months my Korean had progressed to where I could pretty much get along without sticking out as a foreign learner of Korean.”
Biochemistry junior Daniel M. spent an academic year studying at Yonsei University in South Korea where he was able to immerse himself in Korean culture and language.
“The first reason that I chose to go to Korea was I’m Korean in descent; I was adopted from Korea when I was eleven-months old. So I really wanted to go back and college was the best choice time-wise for me to go. And I learned Korean during high school so I wanted to continue my language skills. So, those are the two big reasons for why I chose to go”
The university campus situated in the urban and international city of Seoul, provided Daniel with a unique learning and living environment.
“At Yonsei University all the students live in an international dormitory, so I lived with about 300 international students in the building. It was really fun because they came from many different places they weren’t all from America. They were from Europe, also from other parts of Asia. So it was really interesting to see the mix of students that came to Korea to study. We also lived in a very exciting part of the city. We lived right outside of the district that has a lot of nightlife stuff and a lot of movie theaters. And you got to see a lot of Korean people when you went out.”
Each semester Daniel took four university courses, three taught in English and one intense Korean language course. While the language sometimes presented itself as a challenge, studying in Korea was the perfect opportunity for him to practice and strengthen his speaking skills outside of the classroom.
“By six or eight months my Korean had progressed to where I could pretty much get along without sticking out as a foreign learner of Korean. It was interesting to see how as time went on I could just fit in better and then how I started to feel on the inside. After living there for so long it started to feel more like home.”
Daniel also took classes such as East Asian Cinema Art and traditional Korean Literature where did 1,000 years of literature sampling. His university professors provided a uniquely Korean perspective on the various topics.
Daniel also participated in the mentors club, which allowed him to meet international and local students.
“It was interesting to have those interactions with the Korean students and really become friends with them because I still talk to them a lot. I talk to my friends quite often through email and by phone.”
Daniel says that the benefits of studying abroad outweigh the costs.
"…Everyone has those uncertain moments but the gains that you make, personally and language ability wise and just in general that you gain from studying abroad are much greater than the risk that you are taking. And when you get back you feel completely different, but a better person, because you’ve learned so much more and you’ve been able to live in another society and adapt very well and you know you can get along wherever you are."
Check out the Learning Abroad Center's University Study in South Korea.