Michelle Law

Michelle Law

Michelle LawMichelle Law
 South Korea
Program: ISEP/Ewha Womans University
Term: Fall 2021-Spring 2022 Academic Year
Major: International Business with a concentration in marketing.
Year:  2nd year

Why did you want to study abroad? 
I wanted to study abroad because I’ve always wanted to see the world outside my home. When I was young, I traveled to many other destinations with my parents, but I never got to see much. I’ve always wanted the chance to explore a foreign country on my own pace.

What has been your most surprising, positive, or challenging experience abroad?
I think getting accustomed to my new surroundings was definitely the first challenge. When I first arrived in South Korea, I felt out of place. Even as an Asian person myself, I wasn’t used to seeing so many other Asians all in one place. Sometimes, I faced some discriminatory comments and was judged by how I look Asian, but cannot speak Korean. Even so, I gained many precious memories during my time abroad. I met many international friends, from places like South America to Europe. I got to witness many different cultures, opinions, and habits all in one setting. I also got to immerse myself in a foreign society, learning and imitating daily routines from the majority. I think the most interesting thing that happened to me was being able to experience “day trips”. By train, I traveled to different cities located across South Korea and experienced the best of both worlds, countrysides and cities, all in one day.

Any advice to potential study abroad students? 
To future study abroad students, I have a few tips. First, try to learn a bit of the language before going abroad. Whether it’s conversing with the taxi driver or asking for basic directions, learning a few Korean phrases certainly helped me get around. Second, search and download commonly used applications before you go. It will help relieve some stress in finding information abroad. Lastly, do not be afraid to ask for help. I know the fear of being judged, but that’s all part of the challenge. There are many people who are glad to help and who knows, you might make a new friend along the way.

How are you managing your academic success abroad during the pandemic? 
I try to take 5 classes maximum because I know I want to balance the time spent between academics and traveling. Before traveling, I make sure to finish assignments and stay caught up with lectures and announcements. Before midterms, I start a study week with friends and we usually meet up at cafes. Not only is it great for having that social time, but also for having accessibility to a source that can help with studying.

What are some ways that you are interacting with the local community?
Meeting new people was one of the major goals I had, so I applied to a few mentoring programs and clubs. There, I met many locals who were enthusiastic about meeting foreigners, so we often set up lunch and dinner appointments to talk about our culture, opinions, and differences. I also met many locals through classes. Groups would often meet over dinner to talk and discuss about class projects and that led up to friendships.

What are some tips for managing your health and safety while traveling during the pandemic? 
Staying safe is very important and the most important thing is following guidelines. That means wearing a mask at all times, try avoiding crowded areas, and getting vaccines. While studying abroad, people were required to have vaccine passes to eat at restaurants and use local facilities.