How Did We Get Here?
Shai Turner: Korean Studies and Culture in Daegu, South Korea
My name is Shai Turner and I studied abroad in Daegu, South Korea at Keimyung University in July 2019. I can safely say, it was the best decision I have made in my adult life. I had never been out of the state, let alone, out of the country. I was terrified. As a first-generation student, I didn’t have any guidance on what to do, where to go, or generally how to make any decisions at all about college. Academically, this changed the way I looked at my studies and taught me valuable skills that translated to my studies in the states. Personally, it changed the way I looked at myself, what I could do, and decisions I could make.
Getting started had to be the most frustrating, terrifying, yet exciting part of my academic journey. Luckily, I stumbled across Auburn Abroad. They helped me apply for scholarships, start the application, give me insider tips on how to decide on a program, almost everything, but there was one big thing they couldn’t do for me: tell my family.
My parents never went to college. My grandparents never went to college. No one had even attempted the college experience except me. I had this big speech planned out and a whole presentation…that they did not care about at all. They thought it was a great opportunity for me and were so happy when I told them the news. Well, most of them were. My grandmother wasn’t so happy. So, outcome the statistics. Auburn Abroad gives you a lot of resources to make sure that you know where you’re going, and your program is safe for you. Using those resources, I was able to convince her. Step one was complete. Now for the hard part, figuring out how I’m going to pay for my study abroad program.
Now, studying abroad can get expensive when you’re putting yourself through college. Luckily, there are numerous scholarships across the board for students studying abroad. Some scholarships I received, some I didn’t, but with the help of the Gilman Scholarship Program I was able to pay for my whole trip. Step two complete. Now, we wait. While waiting, Auburn Abroad gives you everything you need to be successful abroad. We had pre-departure meetings, I met with Auburn Abroad staff, made sure my courses could transfer back to Auburn, etc. After all that, I couldn’t wait to be on that plane. I couldn’t wait to participate in my life changing study abroad program. Then, I was on a 14-hour flight to South Korea. The first flight of my life. The time leaving the country. The first moment of many that I knew I had made the right choice.