Good things happen When You Go for It
Good things happen When You Go for It
  • Choi Dongmin
  • 승인 2012.06.09 13:30
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Decision to Become an Exchange Student
What do you think of when you try to picture being an exchange student in your mind?  When I determined to be an exchange student, my purpose was only to improve a language as I would be surrounded by the language on a daily basis and see and hear it all the time. In October 2010, when I was a junior, I participated in an international conference related to my major, Library and Information Science, and I had only 50% comprehension of the lectures in English.  I got shocked as my English skill was worse than I expected, and I realized that I need to study English hard to survive in Korea, which needs to be able to communicate in English.  Therefore, I decided to study abroad and I studied TOEFL which was required to be an exchange student, even though I had to go abroad during my last semester.  The reason I chose to be an exchange student are saving time, and finding an effective environment to learn English.  I did not want to postpone graduation because of only learning English, and an exchange semester is recognized and transferred to my school.  I was studying in Northern Kentucky University, U.S.A.  since it is the only school providing my major classes.  In addition, I thought taking class with native students would be better for my English skill than an ESL language program. I took only four classes.  Even though I received massive reading and assignments, and most final exams were comprehensive, there were many people giving me help, and the classes related to my major were not too difficult because I had already taken 60 credit hours at Sookmyung.  Luckily, the people around me were very inviting and warm, so I always felt comfortable and got through any difficulties.  Thus, I had more spare time than in Korea.  I spent time hanging out with friends and enjoying sports activities, including volley ball, dodge ball, tennis, and squash.


Embracing New Friends
First of all, what I am most thankful for as an exchange student is meeting the best people I would not meet easily.  I luckily met many good friends who gave me help to stay in America and  vercome many difficulties and happiness to have a wonderful time.  The most difficult lecture in that semester was American history class but I met Toria, one of my best friends, who was so very helpful from when I first attended history class. Except for middle school education curriculum, I had never studied world history, so it was very demanding for me to attend the class, but she was willing to be my history teacher by giving me summary and explaining what I could not understand.  Without her help, I would have given up the class.  Moreover, her family was also kind to me so I felt as if I belonged in the family in America, not just an outsider.

Experiencing Foreign Culture
I could make friends around the world and get to know another culture.  I wanted to experience something new and check out the differences between Korea and other countries.  Especially, the Middle East consists of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria, which have Islamic cultures that are unfamiliar to me, so I tried to learn about their lifestyle.  One of my best friends in America is Saudi Arabian and I let him feel free to talk about his country and religion so he showed me almost  verything related to it.  One day, I prayed to Allah next to him and listened to the Quran, the central religious text of Islam.  Also, I have seen stuff before on the television, but I realized that I  isunderstood many things like women’s rights in Islamic culture, the maximum number of wives of man, and so on.

Expansion of World Vision
Consequently, making foreign friends expanded my world view.  I have started to be much more  pen minded than before.  I gained real world experience that I couldn't know from reading books  and watching through studying in America.  If I didn’t go abroad for a semester, I would probably think about the world involved in major countries of Europe, Asia, and America.  The world is much broader than I thought, and consists of many different types of people and cultures. Once again, I would like to tell everyone that it’s the most amazing and life changing experience I have ever had.  Although I prepared an exchange student later than the other students, I could be given a chance to be one, and I received a scholarship from Mirae Asset Financial Group supporting exchange students as well.  As I have done for the past several years, I didn’t hesitate and be afraid.  I  trongly recommend becoming an exchange student before graduation.

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