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Study in Seoul

Summer classes were anything but usual for the eight ONU students who were part of the Hanyang Fellowship Program. The program includes five weeks of study, four at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea, and one in China.

Academic courses range from business and international relations to engineering, science and the humanities and students receive course credit. But the students learned far more than the topics covered in their classes.

“I learned what it was like to be a foreigner in a country where English isn't the primary language,” says Stephen Hoffacker, a fourth-year pharmacy student from Mentor, Ohio. “I really feel for anyone in the United States who doesn't speak English and not having that ability to communicate with others for something as simple as road directions or ordering food at a restaurant.”

Matt Zehner, a a senior in mechanical engineering from Shelby, Ohio, added “I learned that people in Asia love American things like movies, music and just about everything else. I also learned that people in South Korea are much harder workers than most Americans. They study more often, work harder and longer than most Americans.” 

Still, says Nicole Amadon, a fourth-year pharmacy student from Wadsworth, Ohio,  “I have many things in common with other students from around the world.”

Samantha Zalesak, a junior in pharmaceutical business from Rossford, Ohio, says,

“I can't begin to describe everything that I learned in Seoul. I learned that stepping outside of my comfort zone can lead to great things. It's okay to try new food, explore unknown cities and cultures, and develop friendships with complete strangers!”

Their out-of-classroom experiences ranged from baseball to mountaintops.

Hoffacker says his most vivid memory will be “going to a Korean baseball game. It was so incredible to experience the atmosphere of a Major League Korean baseball game compared to American Major League Baseball. It was surprising how personal and interactive Korean baseball games could be.”

Amadon loved “hanging out with all of the students in the program during the weekend of the Boryeong Mud Festival!”

And for Zalesalk, “One day, a couple of international students and I decided to climb a mountain.  When we got to the top, it was the most incredible view! I think we could see the entire city from up there! Although it was one of the hottest days in Seoul, I think it was a great way to spend the day with my new friends.”

Climbing the mountain, Achasan, was also at the top of Zehner’s list. “The people of Korea believe that mountains have a spiritual power to them,” he says. “I had to agree that there was something about sitting on top of a mountain in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world.”

They were joined in their adventures by Victoria Sheppard, a junior in international studies, from Columbus, Ohio, Jacob Smithers, a sophomore in biology from Toledo, Ohio, Casey Conley, a senior in management from Lima, Ohio, and Brad Jakab, a senior in computer engineering from Allison Park, Pa.