Extended Education and International Programs

Education Abroad

Leslie's Whirlwind Adventure in South Korea

Leslie Gonzalez, Collaborative Health and Human Services Major

AY 2016-2017, Spain, CSU IP | Summer 2018, South Korea - Kangwon National University

Leslie in South Korea

Excerpts from Leslie's blog

The beginning of the Summer program! We all got to meet each other and try new snacks! Two weeks was not enough time to learn how to speak Korean, but I did learn how to spell my name and some basic phrases. Before class, our professor would bring us Ice Cream and we would have to try to read it before eating it. We also practiced basic phrases by playing games.

Every morning, we had the opportunity to learn something new about Korean culture. We got to try playing traditional instruments, ceramics, TaeKwondo, etc. We all got to wear traditional Han Bok! It was fun to wear it and drink tea. Of course, like any good traveller, I tried all of the food!

While we were at the Buddhist temple, we wore traditional clothes, decorated a mandala with sand, practiced 108 prostrations (bows), ringing a bell and more. We had to wake up at 4 am to go to the temple and pray with the monks. The entire time we were there it was raining cats and dogs! We had to be silent most of the time but it was a beautiful experience to see what Buddhist monks live like.
Leslie sitting with her Korean host family
A circle of students visiting a Buddhist Temple in Korea

We had one day to spend with a Korean family. Mine took me to a market, to eat Korean BBQ and to a festival where we saw a magician and some K-Pop groups. My Korean "father" is actually a pretty famous M.C. in Korea and was one of the announcers at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics!

Our school days would not be complete without our name tags, shots (because of the heat and humidity), umbrellas (it's rain season) and walking up and down the hills and stairs of the KNU campus. After class, we would all get together and explore more parts of the city. Thankfully, we made a lot of Korean friends who showed us around and helped translate for us. We cooked, ate and took what felt like thousands of photos together!

Nathalie Solorzano (also from CSUMB) and I explored many cities after the program ended: Incheon, Busan, Chuncheon, and Seoul. We took many pictures, ate lots of food, and of course, listened to a lot of K-Pop!