Seven students from South Korea are attending Wilson College this year, six of them as part of an exchange program with Seoul Women’s University. The students — Soyoung An, Seung Hee Baek, Suji Han, Hye Jin Kim, Shin Young Lee and Ji Yoon Shin —will return to their home university after the 2011-12 academic year.
A seventh student, Seungyeon Hyeon, arrived last January from Ewha Women’s University and will return to Korea at the end of the semester.
Study-abroad programs offer students an opportunity to leave their home and experience the culture of a different society while they work toward their degree. The Korean students have a variety of reasons for wanting to student in the United States.
“I wanted to experience a different culture and this will help me toward my major in English language and literature,” Ji Yoon Shin said. “I have lived in Korea my entire life and study-abroad will help me widen my thinking and improve my English speaking skills,” said Suji Han.
Even before arriving at Wilson, the students had already met some of the Wilson family. Last summer, Wilson Chaplain Rosie Magee and student Iris McLane ’12 spent one month in Korea through Seoul Women’s University’s Bahrom International Program, through which they met the Korean students. The Bahrom International Program — which is open to Wilson students, faculty and staff — provides lectures and classes on Korean history, religion, philosophy, art, language, politics, and economics, which are all communicated in English, along with field trips to the relative historical sites. The program offers a unique opportunity to learn about Korean culture while also getting to know the future international students of Wilson College.
Although they are far away from home and some admit to feeling homesick, the Korean students are enjoying their stay here at Wilson. Some of the things they like about Wilson are the small class sizes, the writing lab in the academic support center, club activities, and how kind and accommodating everyone has been through their transition. Although they all admit it’s been difficult adjusting to American food, they all agree on one thing they like — ice cream!