About My Study Abroad Program
Major/Minor: Global Studies major chemistry minor and asian studies minor
Program: Seoul Nation University and Yonsei International Summer School
Location: Seoul, South Korea
Term: Spring 2021, Summer 2021, Fall 2021
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I chose to go to South Korea because I wanted to better myself in the language. I never truly struggled to learn a language as I grew up speaking both Spanish and English that I wanted to try to challenge myself. I also wanted to see whether I could live abroad to broaden my job opportunities.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that although living abroad is challenging, I come to appreciate being alone/independent. At UNC I am surrounded everything I know and comfortable around. But through this experience, I was forced to take a step out of my comfort zone. Everything is also a new challenge it is trying to navigate a conversation or traveling around. But it through those challenges where you really come to appreciate every step in your journey. Most of the time I was alone because of covid. Even though it was a bit scary in the beginning to be completely alone and far from home, it was needed for me to figure what I want to do as an independent person and what I want to achieve academic, career, and student wise.
What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
Traveling to Geojedo which is an island in South Korea. It isn't a popular island. I went with my roommate and it was such a wonderful experience. I was able to explore something more "local." My favorite park was walking into a forest that lead to a beautiful field of flowers right off the coastline. It was a peaceful moment and you really get to appreciate everything around you.
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
I would tell them that it is okay to be unsure a lot of things while studying. There is so much getting thrown at you at one time such living home, new languages, culture, place of living, etc. Not every part of the journey is going to be all sunshine and roses and if you need to lean back on something you are comfortable with (like eating western food or even scheduling calls home) take your time to accustomed. Everyone has a different speed and methods to adapt to a new place. So don't be afraid to reach out to your resources at home and abroad as well.
How do you identify?
Student of color
Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
I was able to share a bit about my culture to my buddy group when we played games or cooked together.
Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
Don't be too nervous if you can't find other people with the same experience. It gives more of opportunity to share your own.
If you faced any challenges abroad, where could you turn to get the support you needed?