Korean Exchange Students Share About Their Experience in the U.S.

By Bekah Zvers

Ye Eun Lee

Q: What has been your favorite part of being in the United States?
A: I got to learn about another culture. There is a little bit of difference between Korean culture
and American culture.
Q: What has been the hardest part of your transition from South Korea to the United States?
A: The most difficult part is language.
Q: Would you say you’ve been able to understand more English since you’ve been here?
A: I don’t know how much I grew in my speaking skills, but I am better at listening and
understanding what is being said by English speakers than I was in Korea.
Q: Do you have any suggestions for how Grace College can improve the transition for
international students?
A: I loved my tutor, so tutoring is one of the best ways the school can help international students
adapt to their new environment.

Haejin Lee

Q: What have been your favorite experiences while you’ve been in the United States?
A: I had the chance to participate in MLK50 conference with ten other girls, including the
resident director of Indy Hall, Rachel McGregor. It was my best experience in America because
South Korea consists of almost only one ethnic group. I used to only have Korean friends, so I
never really experienced diversity. When I went to MLK50, we were talking about race issues
and civil rights for African Americans. I feel like a lot of people here are interested in and
concerned about other cultures, and other people.
Korea is also a really competitive society. We’re pushed to always be really busy, and we’re
often stressed out about our work. Even though my school has a lot of grassy areas on campus,
I’ve never really laid on the grass. We don’t really know how to be relaxed, or how to take a
break. Here at Grace, I was really impressed with how many people laid on the grass and
enjoyed their free time. I even tried once to lay on the grass, and I read a book that I really liked.
Q: What has been the hardest part of your transition?
A: We’ve been studying English for years, but we still have difficulty speaking out about what we
want to say. We also only learned a really formal version of English, which isn’t very practical.
When I first came to America, a lot of people couldn’t understand my words. It frustrated me a

Q: Do you have any suggestions for how Grace College can improve the transition for
international students?
A: Grace and this area is so white-dominated. Even this environment can intimidate some
people who came from other countries and other cultures. I hope that students and faculty at
Grace know that international students sometimes feel isolated. When it comes to their
attitudes, I hope they approach students from other countries with love. People from Asian
countries often have a hard time being outgoing, and are usually more hesitant to be apart of
the community. I hope that Grace students and faculty will be more willing to take care of them,
and be more actively welcome.