Studying abroad — in Portland

“Where are you from?”
It is a question that can start conversations easily. I am from South Korea and have studied science courses at PSU for about three years. I have heard this question a lot as well. When I answer, I recognize again myself that I am a foreigner in America.
International students must learn to speak English effectively because they face environments that force them to use English. It is more natural than learning language in a classroom. You confront a cultural shock and do not have friends or family who you can rely on. Sometimes, you would like to hang out with a person from your country because you feel more comfortable and homey. That tempts me to socialize with Koreans.
On the other hand, the point of studying in this country is to speak English and experience American culture. I would not learn much about America if I did not socialize and learn from Americans. I know many Korean students who did not experience enough of America and its people when they studied here.

Have you ever had this kind of experience? Do you make an effort to meet international students at PSU?

4 thoughts on “Studying abroad — in Portland

  1. Tori Ramsdell says:

    Your absolutely right Bora-ssi,
    One of the amazing things about studying abroad is the chance to meet and be apart of a culture that is not your own. In those experiences you get learn valuable skills and even valuable things about yourself you might have never learned. I know from meeting my international student friend Park Soo-jin that Korea was an amazing place, I got to learn many things about her culture and because of our friendship her english got better.

    Bora lets meet up and talk about our cultures sometime and oh beautiful picture of my wall hanging! ❤

  2. Sunook Shin says:

    When I read this nice article, I felt guilty. I’m not good at talking to other people in English, well not just English but also my own language, because of my character. I’m very quiet, according to people who know me, especially girls who are in my age. So I never talk to people at first time. I’m not sure those people who were in same table in the international orientation see this article and my reply, but anyway I want to say sorry about my attitude at that time. I kept talking to Bora and trying to avoid conversation with other people from other country. I’m really sorry. I’ve been trying to fix this for my whole life, well it doesn’t work at all.
    I always think that I can overcome this problem one day, but I guess it would never happen…..

  3. Shimpei TSURUMAKI says:

    Bora, I’m proud of your higher motivation, being an “American” student here PSU. I strongly felt that you love your root and culture, Korean, which is really nice thing especially for the multi-national background person living in this global world. I’m from Japan and studying Intl Relations and Affairs field as my second bachelor. Fortunately, American academia has a lot of chance to meet and share the time with not only American but also multi-national student through in-class group activity such as group research and presentation. I also have spent the time with them both on campus and privately while I merely met and do something with Japanese student. (I have never joined Japanese society) But I could mostly share the feelings and thoughts with non-Japanese people.
    Simply, let’s take a chance to talk with somebody in English language even if s/he comes from your original place (as PSU faculty staff only use English even if s/he knew our original language and can speak or s/he is from same place.)

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