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Ler Hser

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Health Policy and Management, German (minor)
Program: Yonsei International Summer School
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Term: Summer 2022


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I was a global studies major leading up to summer 2022. Global health was my topic concentration and Asia was my geographical focus, the major requires that we take at least 4 levels of a language in our geographical focus so I studied Korean for 2 semesters prior to the summer. I thought I would make use of my Korean language skills by studying abroad in South Korea.


What did you learn about yourself?
I love history and culture, and getting to be exposed to it through locals and other individuals who are just as fascinated by the development of a country like South Korea was something I really enjoyed. Learning about a people's history and culture through the lens of locals and long-term expats is something that I now try to implement in all my travels.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
I befriended 2 international students in my program and we spent one Saturday afternoon eating at a traditional Korean school lunch restaurant and about 3 hours at Seoul Museum of History.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
It is okay to ask for help, people are genuinely nice and want to help - compassion is something you can expect to encounter across all cultures.


How do you identify?
Student of color, First Generation College Student, Covenant Scholars, Scholarship Recipient


Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
I think being Asian American it was easy for me to blend into the Korean soceity; however, being of Southeast Asian origin as well as my American wardrobe, there were obvious differences. I had assumed that I would fit in more at least looking Asian, but this came with challenges as restaurant and shop owners upon first glance would speak to me in Korean and then quickly realize that I was not Korean.


Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
Being Asian and Asian American are two very different things, it feels great to be a part of the majority in an Asian country; however, at the end of the day, you are still a foreigner, but don't let this deter you from exploring the culture, the language, and the cuisine of the people in whatever country you end up in.


If you faced any challenges abroad, where could you turn to get the support you needed?
I'd turn to family and friends at home as well as the support system I had built in an international church I had gotten involved with during my time in Seoul.