Studying Abroad In Seoul Changed My Life
Photo by Ming Han Low on Unsplash
I studied abroad in Seoul, South Korea, at Korea University during the fall 2021 semester, and I can genuinely say that it was one of the best decisions I’ve made. But as an independent student who had to navigate the costs, cultural differences, and coursework - it wasn’t easy. Despite the challenge, I knew it would be a valuable experience and a fantastic opportunity to immerse myself in a different culture.
I’m grateful that I had the support of programs like the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad and participate in an experience that changed the trajectory of my life. Below I detail how studying abroad has impacted my educational and career goals.
I Created a Nonprofit Organization
My confidence in my abilities has grown since going abroad. While at Korea University, I met many motivational people who invested much time outside of class into different entrepreneurial activities. I’ve always known that I wanted to start a business and that I wanted to help others in whatever I did, which is why I studied entrepreneurship in school. But being surrounded by a group of individuals who were working hard to build their own organizations pushed me to start thinking of what I wanted to create.
That is why I’m currently working on building a nonprofit called BalangNyal Foundation. My goal is to create an organization that provides women and girls in need with personal care products and provides resources that could empower them to grow as individuals and recognize the opportunities available to them. I’m thankful for my study abroad experience for giving me the confidence to take those first steps to start building.
Increased Job Opportunities
Careers in international education were never something I considered before studying abroad in Seoul, primarily because I didn’t know of the opportunities that existed beyond teaching and government positions. This all changed after I took on the role of a study abroad ambassador to promote study abroad programs on my campus and help students find a program that best suits them. As an ambassador, I learned more about the variety of career possibilities through our different trainings. I found it interesting and wanted to kn
ow more, so I accepted a position at an educational travel company to further understand the field of international education.
Learning the Language
Learning the language was one of my favorite things about studying in Korea. I enjoyed being able to apply what I’ve learned in class right away while traveling, eating, or shopping in Korea. While it’s challenging to stay on a consistent schedule, I still have been practicing since I’ve come back from Korea and am working to become a fluent speaker of the language.
Graduate school is a topic I’ve debated for a few years, but studying abroad at Korea University helped me solidify that I want to pursue it. In several of my courses, we’ve had professors from other universities talk about their research and the exciting work they’ve done. Seeing the impact they’ve made through their work, and the value that graduate school has provided them pushed me to seriously consider graduate school about it and think of what I would like to pursue.
If you made it to the end, I appreciate you. If there’s anything else you want to know about how I afforded my study abroad program or have any study abroad-related questions in general, please leave a comment below.