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Monday, June 27, 2011

South Korea here I Come!

For those of you who don't know, I am planning on studying abroad one semester this fall in Seoul, South Korea. Among the wonderful sights and sounds that Seoul has to offer is Chung-Ang University, a private University of about 30,000 students. To answer some of the questions I have been asked about my study abroad decision, here are a few notes:
  • I like to think that I didn't exactly choose to go to Chung-ang University, or even South Korea for that matter.... it chose me! I always knew that I wanted to study abroad, but I didn't really have a definitive choice of where. Instead, I looked at a lot of different programs, and looked for one that catered to my academic needs over my personal preference. Because of my interest in the TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Chung-Ang University offered itself as a perfect choice because they offer the TESOL program. Because the TESOL program is so specific to native English speakers, it is rare to find the program taught in universities outside the United States, so you can imagine my delight when I found Chung-Ang! I also see South Korea as a possible location to pursue my future career in Teaching English as a Second Language, so it presents itself as a perfect location for my study abroad adventure, and perhaps beyond! 
Here is a picture of the university...it looks sooo big!

  • I would like to thank the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for awarding me a generous scholarship of $3,500 towards my trip to South Korea. The Gilman scholarship is designed to further international education, which is part of the reason I am starting this blog. As part of my follow-on project in order to receive the scholarship, I am required to design a project that serves both my community and my own personal academic goals. Therefore, my project is two-fold: to experience and to share. Currently, I am volunteering with the International Services Center in Cleveland, which offers a myriad of services as well as career and education opportunities for refugees and immigrants to the United States. While volunteering at the ISC, I have gotten the opportunity to work one-on-one with ESL students, from beginner levels to advanced. All of the students are beyond eager to learn, and love coming to class! I also plan to volunteer during my time abroad. Thanks to Chung-Ang University, I have been granted the Global Leadership Scholarship. This scholarship also offers me the opportunity to work with ESL students in South Korea for 15 hours a week, in exchange for free room & board. Therefore, my project will focus on these two volunteer experiences- how the students here in the United States may differ from those in South Korea, or perhaps not at all....that is what I am eager to find out! My blog will document my experiences with the students I am working with, as well as showing some attention to the cultural differences abroad ( I am prepared for a shock! ) 
A picture of a typical Korean meal...would now be a good time to confess I don't like kimchi?? *flinches* (guess I'll have to work on that!)

For anyone looking into study abroad, I must warn you: be prepared for lots and lots of writing! And I don't mean essay writing....dull, tedious, annoyingly persistent forms!!!!! The forms never end, from the time I looked into study abroad over a year ago to now, and probably until I return I have been filling out application after application, form after form. There are applications up the wazoo, and believe you me, if they kind find a way to make you fill out another one, they will! Not only are there applications, there are applications to fill out applications

But enough about that, I would really like this blog to be as interactive as possible, while it is designed to be a project to further international education, this also entails education of my immediate community, so if anyone reading my blog has any questions be it on my study abroad experience, tutoring, or just something you've wondered about Korean culture, feel free to ask! I'll have no shortage of material to blog about, but ideas are certainly more than welcome, enjoy! :)