- Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.
My step project was a study abroad in Seoul, South Korea. I spent 6 weeks in Seoul, taking 2 classes for 6 credit hours. There were also weekly excursions included through Korea University and ISA.
- What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the
world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?
One of the major things I understood about myself is that I have a great ability to adapt. I also realized how scary it can be to be in a new country when you don’t understand the language. I also gained a greater appreciation for knowing English. Even though the primary language spoken in Seoul is Korean there was still English around. From signs on the subways and coffee shop menus. Also, that South Koreans aren’t that worried about North Korea. Compared to the United States who like to talk about their nuclear weapons or their dictator.
- What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature
Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those
One of the reasons, I realized that I have a great ability to adapt is that my first day in Seoul, I took the subway by myself. I used my google maps and that helped a lot. But I had to find this store and I got a little lost. I stayed calm and looked around and I eventually found the store. When I found the item I was looking for, I had problems at the self-checkout. But the cashier was able to help me despite the language barrier.
I went to a Korean BBQ restaurant with friends. The waitress insisted on helping us with everything. She helped us cook the food. She even scolded me for slightly burning the meat. She was very nice and welcoming. In a lot of restaurants and stores, I visited the workers were all very helpful. Despite there being a language barrier between us.
My experience with this language barrier made me think of my university and my country. I know that at OSU we get a lot of international students. I feel that I can understand them a little better. The confusion about where to go and how to get around. The fear of being made fun of for not pronouncing words right.
- Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or
two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your
academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.
This experience helped me to understand others a little. Which is important in the international field. We only think about our experiences and we often think it’s the best and the right way. My study abroad showed me that there is a whole new culture and views that are very different from the American viewpoint . For example, they place an emphasis on caring for the elderly, pregnant or young. If the subway is packed, then a younger person would give up their seat for an elderly person. They even have designated seating for pregnant women, elderly and injured people on the subway.
I would say that this trip has motivated me to travel more and see more of the world. I was only in Seoul for 6 weeks and I don’t think that was enough time to truly understand the culture. You can read about other countries all you want but you don’t learn anything until you go there for yourself.