Jiyoung ‘Jacey’ Chun from South Korea: Studying Biology at Mississippi College
Why did you decide to study in the USA?
I believed that studying in the USA would allow me to experience a bigger world. USA is special because it is a country of people from all over the world. I am from an area where only the same ethnic group live. I wanted to challenge myself by getting out of my comfort zone when I am young and energetic.
Why did you choose Mississippi College?
Mississippi College (MC) has an excellent curriculum in the biological sciences program, which is my major. MC biology offers courses in gross anatomy, histology to research courses in cancer, virology, ecology, and others to undergraduate students who are qualified. Those courses are generally offered in medical schools. So, my program prepares students to be ready when they get in the medical schools. Mississippi College is located in a quiet rural area which is the best environment for students to focus on their academics.
What do you like best?
The friendly and Christian environment.
What do you miss most?
My family and the Korean food.
What was your biggest surprise?
In the U.S. educational system, students can easily change their majors. It may take an extra year to graduate but professors/family encourage students to choose what they want to do, following their hearts, rather than staying in an unhappy direction.
... your biggest disappointment?
The slow process. When you need something from the U.S. government organization, it takes forever. I had frustrating experiences communicating with people who work at CBP (Customs and Border Protection) and DMV (department of Motor Vehicles).
How have you handled:
... language differences?
I try to use as many resources as I can. I often used Youtube and UrbanDictionary for the purpose of learning English. I go out with friends who know the area well, so I can experience the real culture.
My parents have been supporting me from overseas. However, I still wanted to get rid of their financial burdens. Luckily, I was given a scholarship and financial aid which help me take care of most of my school tuition now.
... adjusting to a different educational system?
I studied in a U.S. high school. It took me roughly a couple of years to get adjusted because the classroom environment is very different from the schools in my country. It was foreign to me at that time and no one really taught me how to study. So, I had to figure it out by myself. However, I found out that Mississippi College is more supportive and helpful to the students, so they are able to adjust in the new system faster.
What are your activities?
I tried to get involved in activities in the community and the Office of Global of Education. Meeting domestic and international students is always fun. I met some students who are interested in my culture, which I think is super awesome. I regularly teach my language to an American who plans to travel to Korea. For the summer, I’m looking forward to traveling to Florida to participate in a conference that is sponsored by the school’s Christian ministry.
How easy or difficult was making friends?
If you are open and brave enough to talk to people you just met, it is not hard to make friends. It depends on your personality. I think for a person who has a lot of friends back in one’s home country, they will most likely make a lot of friends in the USA. People are people. They are similar everywhere.
How relevant is your U.S. education to your personal goals and to the needs of your country?
My career goal is to become a dentist who serves/helps people. Ultimately, I want to travel and serve people who are in need regardless of their nationality. I believe that the U.S. education will help me reach my goal to be a dentist who can communicate professionally in the international working language, namely English.
What is your advice to other students who are considering a U.S. education?
As long as you are an individual who has solid goals with passion, you are likely to be successful and survive in the U.S. education system. However, it is not always going to be easy getting used to a different culture. It takes time but be patient and be courageous.
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