Unexpectedly in Korea

Guest Post By: Kristina Te, a Senior studying Finance and Entrepreneurship. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through Foster Exchange at Yonsei University’s International Summer School in Seoul, South Korea, during Summer Quarter 2022.

After studying abroad in China during summer of 2018 and again in 2019, I discovered my enthusiasm for studying abroad as a mechanism to learn and grow in ways I could not back at home. Those study abroad experiences coupled with my love for learning the Chinese language, I was in search of another opportunity in a Mandarin-speaking country via Foster exchange. However, the pandemic put a halt on my plans, and so I planned to graduate without another study abroad opportunity. With a sliver of hope that maybe I could find a study abroad opportunity within the timeframe before I start my full-time job this upcoming fall, I found the Yonsei International Summer School (YISS) in Korea and was admitted into the program.

During my four weeks at Yonsei, I studied the Korean language. Originally I was enrolled in the ‘Social Entrepreneurship’ course, but after a few days in Korea, I quickly discovered the language barrier between Korean natives and I. Even the simplest tasks such as ordering food would become a burden and experiencing this first-hand made me keen to learn a new language. Despite the course being relatively short, learning Korean in an immersive environment encouraged me to apply language skills and helped me better retain course content—which made the holistic experience worthwhile. If I could give other students advice while studying abroad, I highly recommend also taking a course outside of your main studies because it broadens your perspective of the world and equips you with new knowledge that might serve to be useful.

Beyond the academic experience, YISS enabled me an opportunity to meet so many compassionate and friendly students from other countries and they became my default international travel buddies… or should I say ‘Seoul-mates’? Together, we also explored cities outside of Seoul such as Busan, Jeju, and Gangneum and went on wild adventures such as parasailing and kayaked in a transparent boat. Without a doubt, these core memories will last a lifetime and not only am I stuffed with all the food I’ve been eating here, but filled with so much joy knowing that I could experience all that I did in Korea!