Juhee Kim from South Korea: Studying English Education at the University of Texas at Austin

Juhee Kim from South Korea: Studying English Education at the University of Texas at Austin

Interview:

Why did you decide to study in the USA?

As a student majoring in English education, I felt the necessity of learning English more deeply, so I decided to study abroad. The USA was more familiar to me than other countries since we can learn about America by watching American movies or dramas, eat American food, and buy their products in Korea. Whenever I thought about studying abroad for learning English, the U.S. first came to my mind.

Why did you choose University of Texas at Austin?

I heard a lot about this university from my friends who studied here. I was very attracted to the weather and courses. It is really nice to do lots of outdoor activities.

The courses are very specific. They divide students into different levels and classes depending on their abilities and their purpose for learning English.

What do you like best?

I think the best part of my program is that students are able to choose most of their projects in class. Teachers always try to reflect students’ opinion when they start a new project. Therefore, the class is very student-centered, which makes students very motivated and active.

What do you miss most?

The only thing I missed about home was my family.

What was your biggest surprise?

What I was surprised about U.S. education was students’ participation. In most of the classes it was very important for students to be a part of the class. They suggested ideas, asked questions, and discussed what they wanted to know about.

When it comes to U.S. life, it was more peaceful and active than my life in Korea. It surprised me that many people often spend time doing sports or social activities because people in Korea usually spend their time at work or school.

... your biggest disappointment?

My disappointment was the transportation. Since everyone uses a car, the transportation is not as convenient as Korea.

How have you handled:

... language differences?

As a student learning English, I had some troubles while staying in the U.S. But, people always understand, help me and are very friendly, so I was able to handle language differences.

... finances?

I got a scholarship from my university in Korea, so the scholarship covered my tuition fee. However, I had to deal with my living expenses on my own. 

... adjusting to a different educational system?

It was quite different from the educational system in Korea, but teachers always helped me get used to a new system. So, it was not very hard for me to deal with the differences.

What are your activities?

I usually traveled to other cities in the U.S. with my friends. And, there were many trips sponsored by my program like outlet tours, game tours and city tours.

How easy or difficult was making friends?

It was not too difficult for me to make friends since I like doing many activities, learning about new cultures, and meeting new people. So, whenever I participated in many different activities, I was able to make friends and had a really good time with them.

How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country? 

My career goal is to get into a graduate school in the U.S. and the education that I had here will be very helpful for me to be prepared for it. For example, I was able to find some courses for students who want to go to graduate school. The education was designed for what I really need, so it helped me a lot to achieve my goal.

What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?

I would recommend studying in the U.S. for a few reasons. First, your English will definitely improve because you use and hear it everyday. So, try to get along with people from other countries in order to practice English. Second, you will have a broad view by meeting and talking with many different people. You will learn not only American cultures but also other cultures because there are lots of international students. If you have a chance to meet people, you should go and enjoy every chance. In short, try to do everything you can do your best on that!

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