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Smaller World, Bigger View

ImageAlthough the weather may not agree, the calendar says that spring has arrived, and that means many ONU students are gathering their passports and preparing for a summer study-abroad experience. The single largest study-abroad program at ONU is the Hanyang International Summer School in Seoul, South Korea. With this program, more than a dozen ONU students, along with 800 other students from around the world, will travel to Hanyang University to study for four weeks at a truly “international” school. Six of those 800 will be Korean students who will enroll at ONU this coming fall semester.

What makes this program so unique is the beginning of friendships that will last a lifetime. When our students arrive in Seoul, they have six instant friends ready and waiting to help them adjust to and understand a culture very different from the one they left in Ada, Ohio, or the United States, in general. If you speak with our students, they will tell you that those four weeks were an amazing adventure full of sights, sounds and tastes they had never experienced before. The Korean students, in return, begin to learn about the life of an American student. They build friendships that will be rekindled in just a few months when the six students from Korea arrive in Ada in late August. For them, Ada is nothing like the modern city of Seoul and its 10 million residents. Fortunately, they will find a dozen ONU students eagerly awaiting their friends and ready to show them the thriving village of Ada and a residential college experience. Just as our students are amazed by the bright lights of Seoul, our guests are amazed by the small-town openness of Ada and the ONU community.

Another unique feature of the Hanyang study abroad is that virtually every ONU student traveling to Seoul has never imagined they would ever find themselves in Korea. It represents a very unexpected and unplanned experience that opens a whole new way of looking at the world. Helping our students to see that the world is full of opportunity is a critically important life lesson learned from studying abroad. At first, the unknown world of opportunity can be a little scary, but, after arriving in a scary land and finding new friends and incredible experiences waiting for them, they become a little braver. If this seems similar to the life-changing experience of leaving home and family for the first time to come to ONU, it is. The only difference is that these students now have at their disposal not only a University of ideas, but also the entire world – and they will not be afraid to embrace it!

In addition to the Hanyang International Summer School in Korea, ONU partners with a number of schools and organizations that provide both summer and school-year study-abroad opportunities in more than 30 countries. More information about the world of opportunity available for ONU students can be found on the ONU Study Abroad Office website at onu.abroadoffice.net