By CRISTINA DE LA TORRE
Roseann Orthober, a fourth-year interior design student at Mount Mary College, was one of the few students who spent the fall 2012 semester abroad.
Orthober studied at Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. Although Orthober was in a predominantly Korean-speaking country, her classes were taught in English and consisted of Elementary Korean, Planning for Performing Arts, Typography 2 and Modern Korean History.
“The greatest shock I received was through my Modern Korean History class,” Orthober said. “We were exposed to information we do not get in American schools at all. It was very eye-opening to learn of the Japanese occupation of Korea during both world wars, and how that’s affected the climate in Asia.”
Seoul is a fast-paced city known for its fashion and music. It has also served as a performance platform for famous celebrities such as PSY who wrote “Gangnum Style.”
“When I first arrived in South Korea, I was overwhelmed with how many people were walking in the streets,” Orthober said. “I was also surprised at how close in proximity everything was. Convenience stores everywhere. There was one even at the bottom floor of our dormitories. Everything was high-tech and had ‘cuteness’ to it, and lots of pink.”
Nan Metzger, director of international studies at Mount Mary, helped Orthober with course paperwork and academic requirements as well as information about financial aid.
“Financial aid can be used for semester-long study abroad,” Metzger said. “Furthermore, there are a variety of scholarships [for which] students may be eligible … For the Mount Mary short-term programs, Mount Mary students who have already earned at least two semesters of credit here would be eligible to apply for the Mount Mary Study Abroad scholarship. Additionally, world language majors who are members of Alpha Mu Gamma are also eligible to apply for an Alpha Mu Gamma scholarship.”
Orthober’s study abroad program, including tuition, cost about $10,000, but with the help of financial aid, she had to pay only an estimate of $3,100, which included airfare and living expenses.
“Roseann came to me with an interest in studying abroad in South Korea, and I helped her to find a program through International Studies Abroad that I knew would provide support services for her while abroad, such as orientation on-site, insurance, staffing, excursions, tutoring available,” Metzger said. “In addition, I help to make sure that their course selection is approved by Mount Mary professors for transfer credit and aid in the administration of certain elements of invoicing and bill-paying.”
ISA is a study abroad program that provides American and Canadian students with the opportunity for education abroad. With a full-time American and Korean adviser, Orthober received support both locally and abroad.
“They took care of a lot of paperwork and were there to provide support if any problem should arise,” Orthober said. “It was really good to have them as support. Otherwise, I would have felt very lost.”
Through forging new affiliation agreements, Metzger has created new ways for more Mount Mary students to study abroad.
“This fall Mount Mary established a new affiliation with Study Abroad Italy, which offers great programs in fashion and food science in a variety of Italian cities, including Rome, Florence and Sorrento,” Metzger said. “Many of these options include internship or service options.”