Senior ADPR and broadcasting major studies abroad in South Korea

Senior ADPR and broadcasting major studies abroad in South Korea

Monday, November 19, 2018 - 10:45am
Young with other South Korean students
Young (center) poses with South Korean students. Young studied in South Korea last summer after receiving a U.S. State Department Critical Language Scholarship.

by Molly Chapple Roe

Jordan Young, a senior ADPR and broadcasting major, recently received a scholarship to study abroad in South Korea.

The U.S. State Department  Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program provided Young with an all-expenses paid scholarship to study abroad in a country considered to be critical or important to U.S. foreign relations and learn the native language. The two-month programs can take place in China, Japan, India and many others.

Young chose to study in South Korea because she is interested in K-pop, which is popular Korean pop music. She also had a mentor who had visited Korea and suggested she learn more about the country. Because Nebraska doesn’t offer courses in Korean, Young saw the CLS scholarship as an opportunity to learn more about the South Korean culture and language.

The process to apply for a CLS scholarship is intense, Young said. Her application required recommendations and considered grades. The main part of the application, Young said, is an essay in which students explain why they are interested in studying their desired region and why they are right for the program.

“It’s intense,” Young said. “So they want to know if you are up to the challenge.”

Young was in Busan, South Korea, for two months last summer. Each day began with four hours of beginning Korean lessons. Twice a week she attended a Korean culture class, where students could choose an aspect of Korean culture to study. Naturally, Young chose K-pop. Young was also able to go on a few excursions to places such as Haeundae Beach, the U.N. Cemetery, and several temples and mountains.

Young said she was most surprised by how friendly and welcoming the local people were to her and her cohort. Most of the people she met became close friends and she even considers them family now.

“I met my roommate’s family and her friends as well as my language tutor’s friends,” she said. “They all treated me like their own.”

The two biggest things Young learned during her trip were how similar we all are, despite our cultural differences, and how difficult it is to live in a place where the first language isn’t your own.

“It was difficult and felt isolating at times, but it was a learning process,” she said. “I had empathy before for people who don’t speak English well, but I never knew the actual feeling of not being able to express myself and communicate with others at times.”

For students interested in studying abroad, Young said they should go for it. Students should also apply for scholarships to help with expenses and look into every possibility, she said.

“It’s one of the best experiences you can ever get in college,” she said. “You will learn so much about the world and about yourself. Do something that will make you grow, but don’t over-exert yourself.”