Hello. I am Wonyoung Park, majoring in Industrial Management Engineering at Gachon University.
I participated in the exchange student program in the second semester of 2022. The reason why I applied as an exchange student was for my dream. I want to work in the IT industry and obtain a global mind to open up various career possibilities. Therefore, I participated in this program.
The school that I visited as an exchange student was Northwest University in Seattle, U.S.A. Northwest University is located in Kirkland. There is a large lake only 15 minutes away from the school, and it is a very safe area with a wealthy neighborhood.
I was able to have various experiences there. The school provided a freshmen welcoming party for a week when I arrived there. Even though the tight schedule was a burden, it became a memorable experience. At first, I was afraid of racism, but despite my worries, but everyone was kind for me, so I could make a various foreign friends at that party.
One of my bucket lists was to study my major in a foreign country. Luckily, I was able to take minor classes at Northwest University. In the United States, the students actively participated in class. There were a lot of discussions between the professor and the students, so it was interesting how they share casual conversations and jokes without formality.
I have no religion, but Northwest University was a Christian school. Then, I took a chapel class and Pursuit for the first time, it was much more interesting than I thought. Especially the praise event called ‘Pursuit’ was impressive to me. With this experience, I visited the Korean church in Seattle with my friends. I made a lot of unforgettable memories.
There were many events such as dormitory competitions, basketball and volleyball games at school. In particular, the dormitory competition made me feel like I was in a high teen film. After school, I went diving in the lake, watched baseball for the first time, and went to a concert with my international friends. Also, I went to lots of museums as well. I think I experienced more culture in that semester than in the rest of my life.
I lived in a dormitory with an American roommate. I was surprised that I felt more cultural differences than I thought. Because of that, it was a great experience to learn about each other's cultures. Moreover, my fear of English disappeared as I stayed with the Americans. Of course, at first, I only understood about half of my roommate's words, but by the end of the semester, I felt that small talk was nothing for me.
While living in a dormitory, I made not only American friends, but also Chinese, Japanese, and Italian friends. I could learn how to understand various cultures while staying with them. The sunset at the school was beautiful. Every evening was a gift to me.
I think the exchange student program is a great privilege for college students.
We can experience other cultures through traveling, but we can properly learn about a different culture only by living there. If you are considering becoming an exchange student, stop thinking and apply unconditionally. It is not a case to hesitate about.
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▲ Dept of. Industrial Management Engineering