Dongguk University in South Korea

Students Reflect on Their Semester Studying Abroad

March 19, 2012
By: Worcester State University News

The study abroad program at Worcester State gives students many opportunities to travel, learn about different cultures, experience a new way of life, and be involved with academic classes while in a new country. WSU students interested in extended visits can study abroad for a semester, an academic year, or summer at almost any university or college in the world. There are many programs to choose from in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Pacific, the Middle East, and across Europe. Once students get approval, they can go almost anywhere and earn credit in their major, minor, and for general education.

Lorelei Quinones ’12 and Diana Ngo ’15 are two WSU students who are currently studying abroad. Both Lorelei and Diana report having wonderful semesters so far at their host universities.

Lorelei, a double major in English and Psychology, is in England at the University of Worcester this semester. “I’ve always wanted to travel, and studying abroad is something I had always planned to do upon starting college,” she says. “I felt it was important for me to take advantage of being able to travel while working towards my degrees because I might not have the same opportunities available to me after I graduate.”

Three out of the four classes Lorelei is taking directly relate to her majors. Lorelei’s fourth class is a third-year film class. “The higher education system in England is set up differently than in the U.S.,” she says. “It’s more structured around a student’s major; however, this doesn’t affect exchange students. I was a bit intimidated at first to show up in a third-year film class made up of students who have been studying this area intensively for the past few years, and never having taken a film class before, but now it’s probably my favorite class this semester.”

Diana, a biotechnology major and chemistry minor, is studying at the Dongguk University in Seoul, South Korea. Diana says she wanted to study abroad “to better my understanding of food science and the biomedical field. I also wanted the experience of dorming, having a roommate, being away from home, and still have the chance to travel outside the U.S.” She is involved in Dongguk University’s host program, which includes 130 exchange students from around the world.

Diana says she has really enjoyed her time as an exchange student, “especially since this is my very first time ever traveling overseas.” She now understands “what the international students back at home would encounter,” she adds. “It could be really challenging, registering for classes in a completely different language.” She has had to adjust to “hearing a predominant language that is not English.”

Diana is experiencing the differences between the United States and South Korean cultures. Though it is challenging at times, she recalls a memorable event that has changed her perspective of cultures overseas. “I was on the busy subway with one of my exchange friends (also from the U.S.),” she explains, “and one elderly Korean gentleman stood up and gave his seat to me and my friend so that we could sit. I’ve never seen that kind of act of kindness before, and it’s probably something I will never forget.”

Lorelei and Diana are two of 15 WSU students studying abroad this semester. WSU also has a presence at the following universities: two more students at University of Worcester, one student at University of Kent in England, one student at Regents College in London, two students at MacGuarie University in Australia, two students at University of Granada in Spain, one student at University of Sevilla in Spain, one student at University of Wellington in New Zealand, one student at University of Belgrano in Argentina, and one student at University of Autonoma in Spain. Other students are on faculty-led trips this week in Nicaragua, Belize, and Costa Rica during spring break.

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Written by Chelsea Tougas ’12, a communication major, president of WSU’s Omega Psi chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, student worker in the Student Affairs Office, and intern with the WSU Public Relations and Marketing Office.

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