Before I start writing about my journey, I want to formally introduce myself to you -the reader- who will be following me along in my experiences. My name in Ennis (pronounced Eh-niece) and I am currently a senior majoring in English Education with a minor Linguistics. I was born in Puerto Rico, but I have been living in Florida for about 12 years. The places I have traveled to outside of the United States include the Bahamas and Costa Rica –so you can tell that I’m not that well-traveled. Even though I have not gone too far from home, I always knew that I was born to see the world at one point in my life. While most of my friends were buying Lisa Frank in Elementary, I was buying world maps.
But that’s a story for another day. Right now, I want to explain why I’m studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea during this Fall 2017 at Korea University as part of a transfer program. I chose South Korea because I plan on teaching in the country after I graduate. Originally, I applied to Yonsei University through USF, but I quickly noticed that the school did not offer enough courses for my major/minor. Since I am a Senior, I knew I wouldn’t have another chance to study abroad if I passed up the opportunity this semester. That’s when I turned to a transfer program called International Studies Abroad. I first received a catalog from them when I attended a USF study abroad fair during my freshman year and I somehow kept it over the years because of the beautiful travel pictures it had –perhaps it was just meant to be.
My biggest worry at first was that a transfer program would be too expensive or unreliable, but if you do some (extensive) research, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that the difference is either equal to or not significantly larger than the school’s options. For me, going through with this transfer program gave me the opportunity to study abroad while continuing to be a USF student — which was important so that I could also continue receiving financial aid to fund my studies.
The program I chose includes housing, insurance, and excursions/activities. One of the biggest benefits of the program is that they also have an office in Seoul, 30 minutes away from where I live; this way, I have constant access to help in the country if needed. Since this was the first time I would be abroad for such a long time, this extra in-country help made all the difference for me when it came to deciding which program was the perfect fit for me. In addition to this, they offer weekly language tutoring and an orientation in the first week that helps you transition into the country easily.
But besides having found a great program, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that you should not give up. If you are not accepted into your program, or if you have your heart set on a specific place and school, you don’t have to stop there. A transfer program might just be what you need. Studying abroad is a possibility for anyone and everyone; you just have to be willing to work hard for it. It’s an unforgettable experience that truly shapes your perspective of the world and teaches you to understand more about how the world around you works. For me, this program is not only giving me the opportunity to study at one of Korea’s most prestigious schools, but it is also giving me the chance to get to know the country I am looking to work in after graduation.
So, if you want to follow me along on this trip, I am going to be writing these articles weekly. I hope these articles help serve as a journal for myself to look back on, and a source for you -the reader- to prepare for your future trip to South Korea. If you have any questions, or if you want to know more about anything, feel free to comment down below so that I can help you make the most out of your search for the perfect study abroad opportunity. I can’t wait for the school year to begin so I can share all of my experiences with you.