Student shares stories from Seoul

Nicholas Klein, Staff writer

Mercyhurst offers students a variety of exciting options when it comes to studying abroad. Students are granted opportunities to make memories that will last them a lifetime. Allison Pfeiffer, Junior Psychology major, completed a trip abroad to South Korea last semester, where she learned many valuable things and gained various new experiences.

“I highly recommend that any-body who wants to study abroad takes the opportunity,” said Pfeiffer. She went to Korean University in Seoul, which is regarded as Korea’s Harvard, where she took abnormal psychology classes and other psychology electives. She wanted to study abroad in South Korea over other options, because she wanted to get familiar with a culture and language that is drastically different than our own. Pfeiffer added that her trip abroad gave her the chance to get a much-needed change of scenery and a break from her regular routine. Although she wanted to take a Korean language course, the class(es) were filled. “Regardless of the fact that I could not get into classes to learn the language, people were very friendly and welcoming towards me nonetheless,” said Pfeiffer. “Even people who could not speak English at all were very patient and kind to me.”

Pfeiffer chose to eat off-campus in restaurants more often than eating on campus, which gave her the option to try many different foods exclusive to Korean culture. “The campus did have many dining halls and options to eat on-campus,” Pfeiffer said. “I just preferred to eat in the restaurants, because I liked the food so much.” In comparison with classes back in America, she found classes in South Korea to be more challenging. Professors there are more strict and if a student misses three classes, he or she automatically fails the course. There is also no homework of any kind, and the only assignment a student could do is reading. The only thing that is worth a grade is the exam at the end of the semester, which is basically the entire grade for a course in South Korea. She adds that although it was challenging and rigorous, she values the courses she was able to take.

For excursions, she visited ancient palaces, which was sponsored by the International Studies Abroad Program at the university. “I also got to visit the mountains, which I found to be beautiful,” said Pfeiffer. “I also got to go to Busan for a weekend, as well as visiting the DMZ that divides the North and South.” Pfeiffer says that, overall, she encourages students to take ad-vantage of opportunities offered to them to study abroad. “I would love to travel abroad again and recommend it to any-one who wants to travel and study,” said Pfeiffer. “However, I would encourage Mercyhurst students who plan to study abroad to save enough REACH credits before going international, since it is hard to find specific credits abroad.”

Mercyhurst offers a variety of opportunities for students to study abroad, including semester-long, summer-long, Faculty Student Academic Travel (FSAT) programs, and even year-long opportunities, to a variety of interesting locations. In March, students and faculty will depart for an eight-week long study experience in Dungarven, Ireland. Also be sure to be on the look out for additional opportunities over the coming months and next semester. Students interested in studying abroad can stop into the Study Abroad office, located in Preston 101 and 105, or can e-mail the of office at