Study Abroad

Before applying to OU, I didn’t know much about the different study abroad programs that the university offers; however, I did know about the summer study abroad program in South Korea thanks to my older sister. My sister and I started watching Korean dramas about seven or eight years ago. I am not exactly sure what made us become fond of Korean dramas. Maybe it was the similarity between the Persian culture and the Korean culture or perhaps the Korean language. Whatever the reason, I have grown to enjoy the Korean culture and language so much that I have decided to study abroad in South Korea as well. The KNU Global Summer School is a four-week long program that offers students several different cultural activities throughout the week, such as Korean Traditional Music, Pottery, and K-pop Dance. I really look forward to attend these cultural activities while taking classes at KNU; they seem very entertaining and will allow me to experience a part of the Korean culture during my stay. I also plan to either arrive to South Korea prior to the beginning of the program or stay longer after the program is over in order to travel to a few different places like Seoul and Jeju Island. I have also heard my sister brag so much about Korean food even after two years from her study abroad in Korea, so the thought of eating Korean food is definitely a plus in addition to becoming immersed in the Korean culture through the offered cultural activities.

Reflection #2

What international group(s) are you most interested in becoming involved with? Why?

What are you most looking for in an international group – language practice? Cultural exposure? Foreign friends? American friends who share your interests? Career preparation? Networking opportunities? Service opportunities? Something else?

There are a few international organizations at OU that I am most interested in:  CESL, Korean Student Association, and Latin Dance Club. After the guest student, Delaney, informed the class of her experience with CESL and how the organization works, I immediately wanted to learn more about the organization and become a part of CESL.  As you probably know, English is not my first language to learn. Although when I immigrated to the United States, I was much younger than any of the non-English speaking students at OU, I was also unable to communicate well with any English speaking individual. Throughout the program, I hope to help my CESL partner learn English and create a fun and enjoyable learning experience for him. It is very important for anyone who is learning another language to have someone to talk to in that specific language and learn how to communicate well. My CESL partner is from South Korea, which is also a great opportunity for me to practice my Korean language skills while helping him better his English. The main reason why I am interested in becoming involved with the Korean Student Association is that I plan to study abroad in South Korea in the upcoming summer. For the past three or four years, I have become very interested in watching Korean Dramas. This has expanded my interest in the Korean culture–which is very similar to the Persian culture–and the Korean language. The Korean Student Association is a great organization that will help me become more familiarized with the Korean language and culture, and hopefully prepare me for my study abroad journey in South Korea. Since I am a very cultured individual, I also have interests in other cultures as well as my own. Participation in the Latin Dance Club’s events and dances can bring the entertainment that I need from the Latin culture. It is also a great way to spend some fun time off of school work and meet people who are also interested in the Latin Dance. What I’m most looking for in an international group is exposure to different cultures and languages, befriending foreign students, and becoming more involved with people from all around the world. The University of Oklahoma offers many student associations, which includes several international organizations that can help students like me grow as an individual. My goal is to find a few organizations that I really am interested in by the end of freshman year, and hopefully become a student leader in one or two of the organizations by the end of my college career.

Here is La La La by Shakira. Enjoy!

My OU Cousin

OU Cousins is an organization at the University of Oklahoma that connects interested American students to international students currently studying at the university. It is a great way for American students to become involved in the lives of these international students and to help them fully experience the American culture.

In the beginning of this Fall semester of 2014, Sara Fisher and I became OU Cousins with Sumin Kim. Sumin is from Daegu, South Korea and she is such a sweet girl. Unfortunately, we were not able to spend as much time together as we had hoped for due to our schedules; however, the three of us celebrated Sumin’s birthday with her which was quite an enjoyable night–we went to a Mexican restaurant on campus corner and Sumin had quesadilla for the first time. Sumin turned twenty-one, but in Korea she is now twenty-two! It’s really interesting that when a child is born in Korea,  he/she is already a year old. Throughout the semester, I have learned about the Korean culture thanks to Sumin. I hope that we can keep in touch even when she goes back, and maybe we can even see each other when I study abroad in South Korea!

Reflection #8

Have you gone on an international volunteer trip before?

If so, how did it compare with the criticisms you encountered this week? What is your reaction to that?

If not, are you interested in doing international service in the future? Why or why not? If so, how will you approach it? What will you look for? Did this class’s articles, videos, and discussions influence your thinking?

I have not yet had the opportunity of being involved with an international volunteer trip. I started volunteer work in the beginning of my high school career. Although I spent many hours volunteering at a couple of hospitals in Oklahoma, I also spent several hours volunteering for food drives and other events throughout the past few years. Volunteering has definitely helped me become more giving and empathetic towards others; thus, doing international service in the future does grabs my interest. It is a bit more difficult to find international volunteer opportunities during my study abroad journeys since I am not familiar with the countries and their people. I have to admit that I am more drawn to volunteer programs rather than charities, because I can be sure that my time spent volunteering will have a positive impact on someone’s life. I have been looking online for some volunteer programs in South Korea; however, I have yet to find a program that grabs my attention. Most of such organizations do not have much description about the program goals, thus leading me to think that these organizations may not be reliable—I may be wrong, but it is much easier to decide on the program quality once I get to South Korea. If I cannot find a reliable program by next summer, I will ask my CESL partner, who is from South Korea, to help me find some volunteer opportunities during my stay. Hopefully he will be able to introduce me to some reliable organizations.

Reflection #5

After spending some time looking closely at different study abroad possibilities, what do you want to do and why? Has your mind changed since you applied for this program? How and why (or why not)?

Before the study abroad adviser’s visit to our class, I did not know about all of the opportunities that are available to me. Although I had explored different programs on the study abroad website prior to her visit, I was still quite confused about how each of the five program types differed from one another. I learned more about the Journey Programs through the Study Abroad 101 session, which made me extremely excited about taking advantage of one of these programs. The Journey to Italy and Brazil programs seem very interesting; however, I am not sure if the classes offered during these programs will help me fulfill much of my major requirements. Another program that I am interested in is the summer program in Daegu, South Korea. My older sister studied in South Korea two summers ago with this program and she absolutely loved her experience; I became very interested in the program after her return. I hope to study abroad in Daegu because I want to get an immerse experience and a stronger sense of the Korean culture. Although I have a pretty good idea of where I would like to study for my summer study abroad, I am lost in a pool of so many different programs offered during the semester. Middlesex University in London offers classes that would help me keep up with my major requirements in order to graduate in four years, but as I was looking through the program description, I realized that single semester study abroad programs are no longer allowed as part of the Middlesex exchange. In all honesty, I am most worried about not finding a program that will help me succeed. Hopefully after my appointment with the study abroad adviser, I will have a better idea of what programs best fit my needs. I hope that everything works out for me and that I can find a program that will not hurt me in an academic sense.

Here is a song by one of my all time favorite singers. I look forward to a day when I can go to his concert and meet him. Enjoy!