1. Why did you decide to apply for the Boren Scholarship?
The Boren Scholarship allows students to study languages and cultures in countries of critical interest to the United States. I studied abroad in South Korea last spring, but I still have much to learn with regards to Korean language, politics and society. The Boren Scholarship gives me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to further my academic and career goals.
When I returned to campus to begin my senior year, I spoke with my advisor for national scholarships about how I could return to South Korea. I really enjoyed my experience there last time, and a couple of friends had told me that the Fulbright Scholarship allowed people to teach English abroad. My advisor recommended that I apply for the Boren Scholarship since it more closely fit my interests and background. Up to that point, I had never heard of the Boren Scholarship.
2. How did you feel after you were notified about receiving the scholarship?
I didn’t think it was real. I was expecting to know of the results the following week, so the notification came as a surprise. Two years ago, when I first added Korean 101 to my schedule, I never would have dreamt that I would have the opportunity to spend a year in South Korea.
3. Why did you choose to go to Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea?
I studied abroad at Yonsei University last spring. While I considered applying to other schools for the sake of a different experience, Yonsei University has one of the best Korean language programs in the country. Furthermore, Yonsei University offers plenty of electives in a variety of subjects, many of which are related to Korean culture and society.
4. What do you hope to learn and experience during your time in Korea?
My primary objective is to improve my Korean language. Prior to beginning classes at Yonsei, I will enroll in an intensive Korean language program with the Critical Language Scholarship. By the end of the 2014-2015 academic year, I hope to move up to the advanced level of speaking and listening comprehension. I would also like to learn more about Korean culture. As a Korean adoptee, it’s important to me that I learn about my heritage. To that end, I would like to enroll in electives related to Korean music, philosophy, politics and history. I traveled quite a bit the last time I was there, but I still have not been to many places in South Korea. One place I would really like to go is Jeju Island. It’s a popular attraction off the southern tip of the peninsula and it is supposed to be very beautiful.
5. Do you have a career plan to join the federal service?
Of course! One of the Boren Scholarship’s stipulations is that recipients of the award devote at least one year to federal service after completing their Boren Scholarship study abroad program. As a student of international relations, my goal is to eventually join the United States Foreign Service.
Do you have a story to tell about your time abroad? Reach out to us in the comments below!