UMD: A Globally Connected University

Ji Ho Park

Ji Ho Park

Program: UMD Exchange: Korea University
Term: Full Year 2017 - 2018
Major: Information Science 

I learned more about myself and the world. In the beginning I got a bit homesick as I missed my friends, the food, and everyone, but one learns more about herself when alone. I had the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and it was amazing. My people skills have definitely expanded. After my study abroad, I have places to stay all over the world because of the diverse people I have met. 

Advice for future #TerpsAbroad: If you want to find out more about your identity, it's the best decision I've made honestly. I had the opportunity to attend one of the most prestigious universities in Korea and the experiences were amazing. As a person of color, it's nice not to be stared at or discriminated against. 

My most memorable experience is Ipselenti. Korea has a period where every university has a week where celebrities come and perform and then on the day of Ipselenti, which is the yearly main event, the most famous singers and groups come to the university and perform and show the passion for their university. Students will be trained on cheering and the different variety of songs. I was very surprised by how catchy and skilled the cheering songs were made.

The hardest part was becoming close friends with the actual university students. I am Korean myself, but they saw me as an American. I thought it was very ironic. In America, I am considered Korean and nothing else, but in Korea, I am considered American. I truly didn't anticipate this as I can speak Korean fluently. In the fall, I joined many clubs in hopes to make friends at this university, but it didn't work. So in the spring, I decided not to care as much and I just attended the club for foreigners/study abroad students, and ended up making just as many foreign friends as well as Korean friends. 


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