At this time next week, sophomore Mackenzie Kurtz and first-year Kyle Bohrer will be headed to South Korea.
“This will be the first time I’ve ever been overseas,” says Kurtz, of Austin, Texas. “To actually go to a foreign country will be exciting—even the international flight.”
The two Beloiters will be part of a group of 75 students as part of the Council on International Educational Exchange’s second annual South Korea Scholarship Program.
CIEE is offering the program in partnership with the Korea Foundation, a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting awareness and understanding of Korea throughout the international community. Kurtz, Bohrer, and their fellow travelers will be hosted by Yonsei University, located in Seoul. They’ll attend academic lectures, tours, and cultural excursions throughout the program, with the intention of fostering understanding and diplomacy between the U.S. and South Korea.
“I’ve always really liked Korea,” says Kurtz. “I was interested in the culture and learning the language.” As an international relations and Japanese double major, she’s curious to see how her experience in the Korean peninsula will stack up with a study-abroad stint in Japan next year.
Similarly, Bohrer wants to compare Korean culture with the time he spent in China over the summer – he spent two months Peking University in Beijing, working in an internship on rice genetics.
“I have a fascination with Asian culture in general, and being able to visit South Korea for 10 days will be an amazing experience!” he says. A freshman from Medford, Minn., Bohrer feels there’s no better way to experience a country than visiting it first hand and literally sinking your teeth into it.
“I’m excited for the food—I’ve never had it before. I’ve heard Korean food is really spicy,” he says. “You can read all about [a place] in textbooks, but I think it’s different when you’re interacting with locals and people.”