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Yeelim Lee

About My Study Abroad Program

Major/Minor: Political Science/Creative Writing
Program: Seoul National University
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Term: Academic Year (2022-2023)


Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I chose to study abroad because I believed it would help me with what I wanted to do in the future. I have a specific goal in mind, becoming a diplomat preferably stationed in South Korea. Going to Korea and experiencing their politics and culture, was the best way to prepare myself for the goal I desire. I selected my program because it was the major/top university in Korea and there were diplomats, presidents, and political leaders who came from Seoul National University. Additionally, I have family in Korea that I haven't seen in many years. By studying abroad, I would be able to see and meet them again. I even got to be there for one of my cousin's pregnancies!


What did you learn about yourself?
I learned I'm not so good with budgeting and that I have a larger sweet tooth than I originally thought I did. Jokes aside, I learned that I'm more steadfast than my peers. It could be simple stubbornness but I knew what I wanted and I was decisive when no one else was. I did a lot of planning and translating within the friend group building up my leadership as well as (for some reason) my ability to compliment someone. For an odd reason, I became a more genuine person to the people I surrounded myself and in turn, they would be open to me as well.


What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
Other than the friends I have made along the way and the travels I had with them. My favorite memory most likely has to be in class. At the time, I thought it wouldn't be a favorite memory, but retrospectively, it's a fond memory. I worked on a project with a partner who knew little English. We worked through a project for a presentation and managed to combine our efforts together. It also helped me learn more about the university through the eyes of an actual student rather than an exchange student. The differences between the amount of work, the effort, and overall teamwork were completely different. It wasn't as if I wasn't doing my best, but the large difference present inspired me to work harder. We never took a photo together, but I cherish the memories we share.


What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
My advice for future students is to not be scared of making friends. Whether they are Korean or exchange students, it's best to reach out and grab a hand. There's no shame in asking for help, making multiple friends, or even talking to a professor. There will be times when you feel yourself falter but there will always be someone supporting you. Another piece of advice that I say in a joking manner is that you might want to find a friend who can translate for you. There are apps and it might not be necessary; however, there's a startling difference between a translator and an app. Additionally, do not be afraid to leave your comfort zone, but take your time. You're in a new country, take a deep breath, and take your time. It's okay to create a comfort zone before you try to venture out more. It's already courageous to try living in a new area, simply studying abroad is something you should be proud of!


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