Katie Kiesel strengthens her language skills and journeys through South Korea as she participates on her global education program in Seoul this summer.
Kiesel, a third-year majoring in Korean and security and intelligence, is taking part in a six-week language program with Korea University.
“I decided to study abroad because I knew that at some point during my time at Ohio State I wanted to study abroad in South Korea because it would improve my language skills by giving me in-person interactions with native speakers,” Kiesel said. “I only have just over a week left and I feel like I’ve already improved so much.”
Kiesel was able to adjust to Korea’s 13-hour time difference, connect with her classmates and begin coursework while completing a mandatory two-week quarantine upon her arrival to South Korea.
"It actually went by a lot faster than I thought it would,” Kiesel said of the two-week quarantine. “A lot of other people on my program made group chats, and my class had already started so I didn’t end up getting too bored.”
Since moving into her dorm, Kiesel also has become close with her roommate, a student from Utah, and learns about life in another part of the United States.
One of Kiesel’s most rewarding aspects of the program is being able to use her Korean outside of the classroom, which she hopes continues to improve throughout her time with the program.
“Everyone is very excited to see us trying to speak Korean,” Kiesel said. “Several times I’ve been told by native speakers that I speak very well, and it makes me more confident to speak more.”
After quarantining, Kiesel and her roommate travel around Seoul when not taking their Korean language course on Zoom Monday through Friday, which is made easy by Korea’s convenient rail and bus system. Kiesel is also able to travel and take part in activities with her program during weekends, for no extra cost.
“Seoul is a huge city, and there is still a lot that I can see and do while I’m here, so I’m excited to discover new things,” Kiesel said. “This weekend I signed up for Lotte World, the amusement park in Seoul, and Lotte Tower, the fifth tallest building in the world.