As a part of International Week, the study abroad office at the University of Memphis Center for International Education Services is hosting information sessions all week on opportunities to earn school credit while traveling internationally.
Tuesday at the international center adjacent to the FedEx institute, the study abroad office hosted an information session on opportunities to study in Korea.
Kelly Lloyd, a junior majoring in Chinese and political science, attended the Korea meeting Tuesday. Lloyd has already been to China and Canada.
“I loved China,” Lloyd said. “It was an amazing experience, and it was the complete opposite of what I experienced in America.”
Lloyd said the people were amazing and extremely interested in where she came from, even though she had to adjust to a few cultural barriers, like not making eye contact out of respect.
“At first, people didn’t like it, but then people were extremely nice and wanted to speak with me,” Lloyd said.
To Lloyd, Korea is a thriving society, both culturally and professionally. Lloyd said the opportunity to study abroad there is both exciting and appealing.
“I’d love to know more about Korean culture, especially the language,” Lloyd said.
Study abroad adviser Elizabeth Langston led the information session on semester exchange programs offering courses for a variety of majors at Korea University: Sejong Campus.
Students paying UofM tuition have the option to study abroad. Some students even save money attending a program less expensive than the UofM, once housing and meal costs are estimated.
Langston said Korea University’s location makes it easy for study abroad students to experience Korea in an enjoyable way, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
“Universities in Seoul might be above ground and underground,” Langston said. “The school we have access to is a nice, beautiful, spread out campus.”
Langston said the Korean government created the new city as a result of overcrowding in Seoul.
Two of the current students from Sejong studying at Memphis are studying sports. Langston said, mixing in some electives in a diverse curriculum is encouraged to keep work-loads manageable.
During the holidays, students are taught cultural norms at holiday parties. There is also an “international day” where students promote their hometowns.
International Week is a federal government initiative from the state department and department of education intended to promote globalization.
Dionne Ballinger, an adviser in the UofM study abroad office, said most of the opportunities from her office are in Europe and Asia.
Ballinger said the info sessions available during International Week are great opportunities for students interested in a foreign exchange program, but who are still looking for more information
“If you don’t get personally close to your Korean roommates, you wouldn’t be able to read the sign that says the elevator’s broken,” Langston said.
Ballinger said one of the unique aspects of the study abroad program is the opportunity to integrate personally with other internationals.
Silvia Escobedo, a Mexican American woman who lives on campus, said the international center does great work that makes members of the international community feel welcomed.
“The University of Memphis does an incredible job for its international students,” Escobedo said.
Ballinger said students could hear information on the institutions abroad, but also meet with students from those schools in person.
“Our office facilitates exchanges with students from foreign universities,” Ballinger said. “Students interested in traveling abroad have the chance to ask questions to native students about their native school.”
International week will continue with international food tasting from noon to 3 p.m. Friday in UC fountain room 360. There is also a photography contest throughout the week, with photos displayed in the library rotunda. The themes of the photographs this year are tiger pride, cultural immersion and natural beauty.
“Students are free to come look at the art. It’s all really beautiful,” Ballinger said.