Fall 2012 Highlights by Sanga Yoon

Sanga Yoon is a visiting student for the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013. Upon finishing her first semester, she reflected her memories. Don’t you think Arkansas has beautiful nature to offer? We also hope our visiting students will utilize some of programs by ISS to maximize their experiences like Sanga does!

Enjoy her story:

During my two semesters in the U.S. as a visiting student, I have been trying to have diverse experiences as much as possible. Since I arrived, I have attended a wedding, joined a musical program with the Visiting Student Program to enjoy Shrek, taught Korean culture to children in the community and so on.

Sanga on the horse!

One of highlights of the Fall semester was the day we did horse riding with Mr. and Mrs. Grove.

My friends and I visited their house early this semester. Their place is one and half hours driving from Fayetteville. As we were getting closer to their house, we saw a lot of different animals and I was excited and felt like I was experiencing “real countryside” in Arkansas.

It was my first time to learn how to take care of a horse, how to ride a horse and control it while riding it! At first, I felt frightened by horses, but Mrs. Grove told me that I simply needed to be kind and sensitive to the horse and treat him like my friend. I learned how to pull the rope gently and tap his body with my feet to let the horse walk straight. She taught me how to make turns to right and left by pulling the rope softly to the direction I’d like to go to. After learning the basics to control the horse, we left the barn. It was a great experience for me and the wind from the mountains made me feel like I was becoming one with nature. Being outside with the horse – not a horse in a cage at a zoo, but a real horse I could feel against my skin – was such an exciting and memorable experience for me.

Sanga & the horse she rode

Another thing I enjoyed with Mr. and Mrs. Gove was watching a numerous number of starts in the dark sky at night while enjoying S’more around the bonfire. The city where I am from is Daegu, which is the third biggest city in Korea. Daegu is not as busy or crowded as Seoul, but it is still surrounded by the cluster of tall buildings. So, it is somewhat difficult for us to enjoy starts in the sky because the air is not clear, skyscrapers are covering the sky and the lights in town during the night time are too bright. Enjoying starts with good company was a wonderful experience and a great way of finishing my horse riding day.

Another highlight of my Fall semester is definitely Thanksgiving.

FF kids!

My Friendship Family, the Bingamans, invited me to their family gathering in Eureka Springs. There were almost twenty family members getting together and they welcomed me as if I were a real family member. We played games, sang songs along with guitar and watched videos from their past memories. Everything was a new experience for me to spend Thanksgiving with an American family and I felt the real love of the family during the holidays.

In return, I prepared a traditional Korean food, Bul-Go-Gi for the family. They all liked my dish. Of course, I enjoyed the traditional Thanksgiving food as well. I had never tried turkey before but all the dishes they prepared were delicious.

Cold but warm night with the family

Despite the cold weather we had, I felt very warm after spending the traditional holiday with my Friendship Family.

I think Korean culture and the culture in the U.S. are significantly different. When I arrived in the U.S. for the first time, I was not familiar with almost every situation. However, I am confident that I have learned and adapted many different things since the beginning of the semester.

Before I came here, I thought improving my English was the priority task to do as a visiting student, however, after spending three months at the University of Arkansas, my way of thinking about the study abroad has been changed a little bit: The more experiences I have, the more chances I will speak English and also learn the culture while sharing my culture. I will try to find more fun and educational events and activities throughout my stay.

World Trade Center Visit with Int’l Business Club by Isis Comerio

Isis is a visiting student from Brazil on the Brazil Scientific Mobility Program. She said “I’d like to share my experience with the International Business Club and the field trip to the Arkansas World Trade Center with other students regarding how much we can learn through new experiences and make friends when you get involved with the campus community.” Here’s her story:

Isis getting ready for job fairs!

I arrived at the University of Arkansas in August 2012 and since then I have discovered many opportunities to get involved with the things I like. Being part of the International Business Club (IBC) is one of them.

Towards the end of September I received an email with an invitation to the Mr. Eduardo Vinagre’s lecture that was promoted by the IBC. Mr. Eduardo Vinagre has over 35 years of experience in global supply chain management, logistics systems, sales development, and marketing. A leader in all things related to international business, he shared his experiences with the students of all majors in that lecture. Since the lecture was advertised by the IBC, I was interested in knowing more about the student organization itself. Helmsley Manchamee, the Vice-President of IBC, gave me more information about it and how to join the club. In his words, “the goal [of the International Business Club] is to make International Business more accessible to all students”. He explained that the club aims to showcase business professionals who are successful in International Business and also promote Study Abroad programs to enhance students’ learning. IBC has monthly meetings to discuss the upcoming events and ways how people can get involved. For example, in our last meeting one of the topics was the Study Abroad Fair and we discussed who could volunteer to help in the fair.

Presentation at WTC

As a visiting international student from Brazil who is studying International Business, I decided to be part of the club because I wanted to get involved with International Business, not just with my classes, but also through experiences that I could learn from and network with people from different nationalities. The experience so far has been much more than what I expected.

One example of why being part of IBC has been such an amazing experience was the field trip to the Arkansas World Trade Center (WTC) on October 26, 2012. I wanted to visit the organization because it was the place where everything that I learned in my classes could apply to the “real world”. The President and CEO of the Arkansas WTC, Mr. Dan Hendrix, is the professor who teaches the International Management course, that I am taking here at the university. Therefore, I was interested in knowing more from the people who work at the organization.

IBC members at WTC

The Arkansas WTC is located in Rogers and provides services such as specialized global business analysis and guidance, expert trade development, customized international research, business to business match-making, and trade mission support to businesses that want to do business internationally. Twelve students participated in this field trip. We were welcomed by Mr. Herbert Morales, Director of Latin America Trade Development and Ms. Denise Thomas, Director of External Relations. Together with two interns of Arkansas WTC, they presented the mission of the organization, what they do and information about their internship program. It was an amazing presentation that answered all the questions that I had about the Arkansas WTC. I believe that going to the organization headquarter gave me a clear idea about their work and the people who work there. They are truly passionate about what they do, which inspires me as a student of International Business.

I believe that all that I have experienced so far studying at the University of Arkansas and being part of this community has already made me see the world in a different light. This is just the beginning!

Bentonville Field Trip by Morad Al Zaghal

Morad Al Zaghal from Jordan, an architecture visiting student, joined our field trip to Bentonville. He shared his unique perspective to visit the Crystal Bridges Museum. Compare his story to Sun Li from China from the Spring 2012: very different and both are great stories!


Visiting Student Program Bentonvill Trip

In October, the Visiting Student Program in the International Students (ISS) Office organized a trip to Bentonville to visit the Walmart Visitor Center, and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The trip was possible because of the amazing volunteers who drove us there.

Visiting Bentonville had been a recommendation I received from many friends since I arrived to Fayetteville and I was so excited to know the ISS office was going to organize this trip for visiting students. Although the timing of the trip actually had a schedule conflict with my design studio class, my professor thought it would be beneficial for me to visit the Crystal Bridges, and he allowed me to go on the trip and make up for the work at the next studio.

Morad viewing displays at the Visitor Center

First, we visited the Walmart Visitor Center where we could learn about the history of the company; from its start as a small store at the corner of the Bentonville square to its rapid progression to the massive global company as it is right now. It was pretty inspiring to be able to see the success story of a working man into a famous businessman.

After having early dinner at an American restaurant at the Bentonville square, we headed to the museum. I was extremely excited for this part of the trip! Being an architecture student, I already knew the building complex of the museum was designed by the renowned architect Moshe Safdie who’s mostly known for his project Habitat 67.


Upon arrival to the main entrance you’ll notice the 47’ tall stainless steel tree sculpture named “Yield”, designed by artist Roxy Paine. The art stands in front of the museum and welcomes visitors. It marks the fact that the museum is already known as one of the premier art museums and cultural attractions in the states, a world-class cultural attraction that was made possible by Alice Walton: Her vision and donation of her personal art collections enrich people’s lives in the Northwest Arkansas where she lived and has her childhood memories.

After walking to the entrance of the museum and taking the stairs down to the gift shop and the restaurant, you’ll be guided through the galleries; the museum displays the work of American masters from the Colonial era to twentieth-century abstract expressionism and pop art, ending back at the museum’s restaurant where we began.

Crystal Bridges

During the time given for us to enjoy the galleries, I was mostly looking at the building, the interior, the exterior, and their relationship to the beautiful lake that in some points continued underneath the galleries. The interior of the building was indeed contemporary, but warm unlike many other contemporary interiors: perhaps because of the use of wood with glass and concrete, in addition to the organic form of the ceilings.

I chose to go through the whole museum first, and leave the best for last; the modern and contemporary art exhibition! I was so happy to be able to finally see paintings that I became familiar with because I studied about them either in “History of Modern Architecture” or “American Landscape” course that I am currently taking during the Fall 2012 semester. It was an opportunity that wouldn’t have been possible for me to link what I study with what I experience right away if I was not studying at the U of A.

Crystal Bridges

Being an architecture student studying abroad is indeed very beneficial for my experience. For my appreciation of good spaces and good art of the era, chances like these are what accumulate in the memory to allow better perception of the art and architecture that I am exposed to, here or at home. The Crystal Bridges experience itself was special uniqueness to me because of the beautiful architecture and landscape architecture of the museum, and the magnificent exhibited works of art.

Presenting about Pakistan for 450 students! by Mehvish Hashmi

Aamir, Mehvish and Maha

In September, three students from Pakistan, Aamir, Maha and I visited Hellstern Middle School to present about our country. At first, when I learned about the opportunity to visit the middle school and we would be speaking in front of 450 students, I couldn’t believe it! I had never done a presentation for 450 people and I was not sure how we would prepare the presentation, let alone be able to speak in front of this massive audience.

During our presentation, we showed many pictures of our country to introduce different landscapes and attracting places which would be interesting to American middle school students. We presented various aspects of our culture, such as; sports, dances, music, clothing and things that would be fun for young students to learn. The audience was so attentive that I gained confidence second by second while presenting. The most challenging part was to think how we should present materials to make it more interesting while considering what 6th grade students would know.

Great Q & A session

In fact, those sixth graders had been reading a book, “Iqbal” by Franceso D Adam, which was a part of the reasons why we were invited. In this book, the main character, Iqbal, was described as someone who was working to abolish child laboring in Pakistan. We also included the information from this book while keeping the end of the story hidden from the children so they themselves would find out that Iqbal died because of his mission as they read the book.

It was my first time to visit a local school and it turned out to be a great experience. Schools here in the U.S. are entirely different from Pakistan. This middle school had a big hall to have lunch all together, whereas in Pakistan, we normally have lunch in small cafeteria, corridors or play grounds- depending on the school. Besides that, the building was very nice and neat whereas most of the school buildings in Pakistan would be houses which had been turned into schools. I found teachers here to be really interesting, caring and friendly. The relationship between teachers and students was very interactive. The students at the school we visited were really respectful, listened to our presentation attentively and asked a lot of questions which were relevant and sensible.

After the presentation, students gathered to ask more questions.

I learned different things from this experience. It was a little tough to work as a group to coordinate our differing schedules, but we managed to take out some time and communicate through emails to develop a good presentation. It made us learn how to manage time with our full schedules.

For me, presenting about my own country in Fayetteville through this ICT activity focused to reduce stereotypes people might have about Pakistan. This was a great opportunity to show that what media portrays about Pakistan may not be 100% truth. We desired to show the beautiful and fun cultures we have in our daily lives. It was a great experience to talk in front of those 450 students and to share Pakistani culture with them.

ICT & Fest of All by Young Hye Kwon

Young Hye on the right at Fest of All

One of the unique programs offered by the International Students & Scholars at the University of Arkansas is the International Culture Team (ICT). ICT is a group of leader students who “bring the world to the community”! Let’s take a look at Young Hye’s story about ICT and Fest of All!


It was the sixth of September when I participated in the Fest of All at the Fayetteville square. For me, it was a very good experience and I can not forget this forever!

One very normal day, when I checked my emails as usual, I found an invitation message to the “ICT Training I” to be an official member of International Culture Team (ICT). I signed up for the training immediately and went to the training. The training was really impressive with full of information and ideas about how to present my culture to different audiences. I thought it would be really helpful for me to be part of ICT and make my study abroad experience more interesting. Then, during the training, I learned about the international cultural festival in the community, called: Fest of All.

Fest of All

The instructor told me that there would be many students from different cultures and they could share their own cultures at the festival. It sounded really exciting, but I did not bring any traditional or cultural items from Korea, so I was worried about how I could represent my culture. The great thing, however, was that ICT had lots of items from various countries around the world already, including stuff from Korea, and I could borrow traditional Korean attire, shoes, accessories, flag and so on for my presentation.

At the event, I shared those items with other people and explained to them what they were and its cultural significance. Everybody was really excited and I was really proud of what I could contribute to the community on that day.

Young Hye and a girl wearing Hanbuk

Everything about Fest of All was great and very memorable. The most memorable thing was there were so many little children who were interested in learning about Korean culture. I thought I would be talking to mostly adults at the event, so it was a pleasant experience to interact with the children. Many girls were interested in the Korean traditional cultural attire, Hanbok. When I helped them to try on the dress, they had big smiles on their faces, which made me really happy.

Another great experience for me was learning about other cultures. There are a lot of ICT students from different countries, and it was exciting to learn more about their traditions and cultural items. I did not know much about their cultures, so it was a great time for me to learn more about where other ICT members were from and what their cultures would be like as well.

During this festival, I also thought about what volunteer work means in the U.S. There are probably not many differences between volunteer work here and in my home country, but one difference is people in my home country generally tend to think that only working on something big or donating money is helping community. Here, participating in events and sharing cultures at the events, like the Fest of All, could be considered as contributing to the community. I was so happy, then, to realize that I could help the Fayetteville community with my my knowledge about my country, Korea!

Cultural items from ICT

I believe that there will be a lot of chances where I can help the community if I eagerly participate in the International Culture Team programs while studying at the U of A as a visiting student. I want to show my culture more through ICT activities. There are many Korean students at the U of A, but it is rare to find people who are really knowledgeable about Korea. I really want to teach people about Korean culture and traditions through as many opportunities as possible while I am still in Fayetteville!

Recycling and Football by Jorge Zou

Jorge Zou from Guatemala

Jorge from Guatemala is a visiting student for the 2012-2013 academic year. He has been participating in different community service projects since he came to the UofA. Today, we’d like to share his story about recycling and football experience:


I received an email from International Student Organization (ISO) and International Students & Scholars office (ISS) of the University of Arkansas that invited students to participate in a volunteer opportunity in which I could help promote awareness about recycling within the community and get a football ticket in the VIP section by doing it. I decided to sign up for this opportunity since I had the chance to get an excellent seat for the first football game by collecting recyclable materials such as cans, bottles, and cardboard during the day of the game.

Getting ready for recycling

For preparation, I was given a t-shirt that had the recycling logo, two plastic bags and a pair of gloves. On game day, along with my friends, I went to the areas where tailgate parties were happening near the stadium. My friends and I approached people by asking for any recyclable materials and shared our bags with those who had their bags full already. After filling all our bags full, my friends and I were very tired but very happy and satisfied because we were able to collect a big amount of recyclable materials. I realized that a lot of recyclable materials would go into trash cans during a football game and a lot of trash is generated because of this. I felt happy while helping the recycling activity because a lot of people from the community appreciated my work. I also thought our activity showed the community that recycling is very important and we need to take care of the environment.

Full of recycling items

After we finished collecting the recyclable materials, I enjoyed watching the game in a great spot along with other members who joined the activity. I was able to closelywatch the very first game of the season for the University of Arkansas and had a great experience in my first football game. At the beginning of the game, we watched the UofA marching band play the National Anthem and the Arkansas Anthem. Later, the players started to enter the field and a lot of cheers started to happen and everyone was calling the Hogs. Being in a football stadium surrounded with 70,000 people was simply incredible. The cheers were going from one side to the other and the stadium was so alive. This was an incredible experience of my lifetime since watching a live football game was so exciting.

Time to call Hogs!

After this experience, I would like to continue to explore the community by learning from others and, at the same time, be a good example for the community. I recommendthat my friends participate in this recycling project for future games. Indeed, I participated in this for the second game and had a great time again!

Go Hogs!


To check Razorbacks’ games schedules, go visit the Arkansas Athletics page.

To participate in the recycling activity, check the ISS Weekly Announcement.  The UofA will have 3 more games in Fayetteville:

* Saturday, October 13: UofA vs. Kentucky
* Saturday, November 3: UofA vs. Tulsa
* Friday, November 23: UofA vs. LSU

Cultural Exchange by Rahma Diab

Rahma from Egypt is a new visiting student for the Fall 2012 at the University of Arkansas. She reflected upon her first a few weeks for our blog. Enjoy her story:

Flying overseas for more than 15 hours, passing through one check point after another, 3 stops at 3 different cities… Yet, for me, all of this didn’t matter… What was always in my mind while I was traveling was the final destination: Fayetteville, Arkansas. As the plane approached the airport, Northwest Arkansas didn’t seem like a big city from the air. In fact, it was totally the opposite – there were sheep, barns, horse stables and green fields all around the place. Coming from Cairo, Egypt, I had never lived in the countryside or a city with a lot of green before, so I immediately thought it was going to be interesting to live here, but I also thought it would be a fun chapter of my life. My arrival was very smooth. I felt the hospitable atmosphere right away, which I’d always heard about as Southern Hospitality since I learned that I was going to a southern state.


When I first arrived in Fayetteville, I knew nothing about the town or the University culture. I didn’t know anyone except a couple of students who came to the UofA on the same scholarship program. However, after the orientation week, I was confident that I got ‘well oriented’ with the place, students and the University – the home of the Razorbacks! That week was definitely the best start for my academic year and my stay in Fayetteville as it brought this new environment into my comfort zone. I met people literally from all over the world: Asia, Africa, North America, Central & South America and Europe. We had fun through orientation activities and sessions and we visited several places around Fayetteville. I became friends with most of them while exploring new places. It was indeed an international week and I got to learn a bit of every culture of every country that was presented at the UofA.

Rahma and her American friends

I spent 10 days of Ramadan here in Fayetteville. Ramadan back home is such a spiritual month where we have many family gatherings and share the food with friends and relatives but I thought there was not going to be any of this here in Fayetteville. Luckily, I ran into a couple of Pakistani students who introduced me to the Islamic Center in the community and I went there with them several times to pray and break fast with other Muslims. It was really nice and brought some of Ramadan spirits to me in Fayetteville. At the end of Ramadan, the Islamic Center held a small celebration on the occasion of the Feast. I went there on that day and the great part was that a couple of my American friends joined me! We shared food and cultures and it was truly a wonderful time at the mosque.

at Farmers' Market in Fayetteville

As time goes by, I’ve learned that studying at the UofA is definitely different from my university back home. From the class environment, how professors teach here, to relationships with classmates, everything is very new to me. It is sometimes challenging to face such a lot of new situations and events in a totally new environment but actually, so far, I’ve been enjoying my time here and day by day I learn more about the culture and the people. Since I arrived in Fayetteville, I’ve tried to embrace all the differences, which I believe is not an impossible thing to do especially when we are surrounded by an open-minded, culturally diverse, supportive environment such as the one here at the UofA.

Looking back a few weeks since I arrived in Fayetteville, I’ve realized and confirmed my mission of my study abroad experience: cultural exchange! I’m here to discover and learn about the American culture and people and to have a glimpse on the academic life in an American educational institution. I’m also here to teach people about my country, language and background which I come from. I am willing to take in every opportunity to adjust myself into the society and also to be a responsible member of the community through volunteer activities and so on. In addition to those, I am planning to travel as much as possible to other states and major cities. I want to take pictures with the statue of liberty in New York City and try out Texas’s well-famous house steak! And the list goes on and on…!

Rahma representing Egypt at Fest of All

Sometimes I already feel homesick and miss my family and friends and everything about home, too. Yet, I keep reminding myself of all the things that I could do here as a visiting student, goals to achieve and experiences to gain in my stay in the U.S. I’m here today writing this article in my dorm room in the U.S. and I am positive it will be an amazing experience that will teach me a lot and it will be a year full of accomplishments.


Thank you, Rahma, for sharing your thoughts about your first a few weeks in Fayetteville! Also, thank you for bringing the world to the community!

Korean Night -Leadership Experience- by Minjun Park


“How awesome it would be to be an ambassador of the culture while studying at the UofA!”

This is what I was thinking before coming to the United States. So, when the coordinator of Holcombe International Living Learning Community approached me and asked me if I’d want to be a leader of the program, Korean Night, I thought “this is it.”  I was happy to take the leadership opportunity to organize this event because I was thinking of sharing the culture with the community even before coming here!


Korean Night program has been one of the biggest and most popular programs in Holcombe Hall, which aims to share Korean culture with the community by offering different activities. I thought it was perfect because I felt that Korean culture was still not “popular” among people around the world although there are many global companies from Korea: Many people haven’t tasted Korean food or simply didn’t know much about the country. Korean Night was a great chance for us to let people know about Korea on campus.

As we proceeded with preparations, I began to feel a huge responsibility on my shoulders as a cultural ambassador and a director of the program.

Preparation was absolutely challenging. Yet, I enjoyed the whole process. I really liked the flyer I made and various components of the program we came up with. Samulnori (Korean instrumental show), Taekwondo (Korean martial arts), K-pop performance and 4 tables with different themes (Kimbap making, clothing/photo booth, craft making, and coloring). I enjoyed working with those leaders of each activity and sharing ideas with them. They were so passionate about this project.

Full of people!

Every single person I met before the event day encouraged me saying “I am looking forward to Korean Night!” Many people responded to the facebook invitation. Residents’ Interhall Congress decided to sponsor our program by providing funding. My home university, Sogang University, also sent me a package of brochures and souvenirs! These facts just made me so motivated.

However, every step to make the program successful was demanding. It is true that I faced many difficulties and concerns about the program during the preparation. I didn’t know that organizing an event required a lot of time and efforts! Supporting all team members, preparing all stuff needed for the event and organizing different components of the program in details were not easy at all. The closer the event day was, the more I felt pressure.

First impression of Korea

Finally the event night came and the program was a great success.

I was very surprised and overwhelmingly happy to hear that we had more than 270 guests at Korean Night.  I was simply excited to see many people around the world were really interested in learning the Korean culture. After the event, I read all comments that people wrote about their first impression of Korea, and it was really interesting. Many of my friends told me that they enjoyed the event. And what made me very proud of ourselves was this comment I happened to overhear from somebody during the event — “This is the best cultural event that I have ever been to on campus.”

Minjun with his Friendship Family

It was a wonderful night I will never forget.

This event taught me many things. It allowed me to learn how to become a better leader and I truly believe that this experience will help my future leadership.  As a Korean, I saw the potential of Korean culture and it has made me believe that our culture can reach out to many more people in many more countries in this globalized world.

Now, even after a month, I still feel proud of myself, the team and the event itself.

Let me take this opportunity to say Thank You to all of those who worked so hard for the event and those who came to the event!




You can enjoy the program on YouTube:

* Country Presentation: http://goo.gl/C8RtY
* Samulnori (Traditional Drums): http://goo.gl/mWFhc
* Taekwondo: http://goo.gl/Ilfg7
* K-Pop Dancing: http://goo.gl/HNQb2

Musical, In The Heights by Sangeun Cho

The Visiting Student Program has been organizing programs to Walton Arts Center (WAC) once a semester for the past few semesters. We had 10 students who decided to join us and enjoyed the great musical, In The Heights. International Students & Scholars would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to two WAC staff: Ms. Lauren Mahony, Group Sales Concierge, and Ms. Emily Ironside, Annual Giving Manager, for arranging tickets and the special occasion for our students (You’ll know why at the end of this story!)!

Here’s a reflection by Sangeun Cho about her WAC experience!


In The Heights

I joined a program to enjoy In The Heights a few weeks ago. It was my first time to visit Walton Arts Center and also my first time to watch a Broadway musical. I can honestly say that it was absolutely wonderful!

Since Walton Arts Center provides various kinds of art performances, I always wanted to visit there. However, it was hard for me to get a chance to enjoy popular programs and shows because many of ticket prices were not affordable for me as a student. Fortunately, thanks to the program that was arranged by the International Students & Scholars office, this amazing show became available to me! I was able to enjoy watching the Tony Award-winning musical, In The Heights, at Walton Arts Center with other nine visiting students who signed up for the program.

In The Heights is a musical that is about people, family and their friends in this Dominican-American community in Washington Heights, New York City. In The Heights has been played successfully since 2008.

Sangeun in NY!

I thought the show had very unique characteristics comparing to other musicals.

First of all, the unique, Latin cultural influenced atmosphere throughout the show was interesting! From the beginning, dynamic and rhythmical Latin dance and music caught my eyes and grabbed my heart! Especially, the main actor’s rap was very impressive. Also, English that had slight accents on the stage was very delightful to me. It was different from an American accent I got used to learning back home, but I enjoyed the new sounds of the language.

Secondly, the story was very touching. It really showed heartwarming love and care among family members and people in the community. In this musical, each character faces hardship, yet each one of them has his/her dreams in their lives. The musical tells us stories of people and how they care about each other, how hard they work to make their dreams come true, and how they overcome their challenges wisely. Through stories of all characters on the stage, I felt that I was able to have a glimpse of their daily life and cultural richness in the Dominican-American community in New York. This show gave me an opportunity to think of diversity in the U.S.

After the show, I was very satisfied with this musical.

With some of cast members!

However, my story doesn’t end here! To my surprise, there was a special arrangement by staff at Walton Arts Center for a few student groups, including visiting students, to meet some of the main actors and actresses after the show!! Wow!! At this Meet and Greet, we could hear the behind-the-scene stories of In The Heights. On top of this surprise, I was very lucky on this day: We did drawing and I won a special gift, soundtrack CDs of In The Heights!

It was a wonderful evening that I will not forget. I hope other international students will be able to have wonderful experience as I did at this program while studying at the University of Arkansas!

Korean Night -Samulnori Performance- by BoRyung Geum

Holcombe International Living Learning Community had their annual event, Korean Night on Friday, March 2, 2012. Our visiting students contributed so much to make this program happen; from cooking to making origami crafts, from decorating the room to the playing music. BoRyung Geum participated in the traditional musical instrument permanence. This is her story of the program and the study abroad journey itself. Enjoy.


Korean Night 2012

When I heard about the Korean Night Program in Holcombe International Living Learning Community for the first time, I was thinking of helping the program as a volunteer for the cooking team. I thought cooking Korean food was the only way I could contribute to this cultural program. However, as the preparation process went on, I learned that there was going to be a Samulnori performance as one of components for Korean Night and the team was supposed to have five people who could play Korean traditional instruments. The Program Assistant in the International Students & Scholars office, who worked with our leader, Minjun Park (a visiting student from South Korea), asked me if I would be interested in participating in Samulnori as a performer. After a moment of hesitation, I said yes.

Samulnori is a distinctive Korean traditional music. There are four different percussion instruments in Samulnori ;  Kkwaenggwari, Janggu, Buk and Ching. My instrument turned to be Kkwaenggwari which is a small brass gong. I was concerned about the instrument because Kkwaenggwari player is considered as a leader of the quartet to keep the rhythm and lead the music. Nevertheless, many friends of mine encouraged and inspired me to try the instrument and further my efforts and I gained confidence about playing Samulnori along with other members.

I believed in myself. I knew I could challenge this new thing because I had already done a dance performance at the Friday Night Live (FNL). This FNL experience made me prepared in a way and I started to think that I could do anything if I practice a lot. This is the reason why I decided to participate in Samulnori to make the Korean Night program more fun, entertaining and educational even though I had not had any experience with the instrument.

BoRyung and her friend, Ratiba

BoRyung and her friend, Ratiba

To tell you the truth, we had some difficulties in practicing. First of all, there was no appropriate place where we could practice. As you can imagine, those Korean traditional instruments that we played are all kinds of percussion instruments so that they made a lot of noises. When we practiced in Holcombe Hall, we always felt sorry for other students who lived in Holcombe but we had no choice to practice for our program. Let me take this opportunity to say sorry to students in Holcombe!! Secondly, we had no idea how to play Korean traditional instruments. Three members out of five, including myself, had had no experience with Samulnori while only two girls learned some when they were middle school students. We needed a simple score since we had little time till the program day. Therefore, two of our members composed a score by themselves. If they had not been studying at the University of Arkansas this semester, I am pretty sure the Samulnori performance at Korean Night 2012 would have not been the same!

Smulnori Performance

After our performance, the audience gave us a big, big, big round of applause. I felt really great about having accomplished this component of the program successfully! Also, I was happy about the fact that a lot of guests (I heard it was around 270 people who came to Holcombe that night!) could know more about Korea through our performance and different cultural activities.

One thing I loved about the whole process was that my parents said “BoRyung, we are so proud of you and so happy that you are our daughter. We believe you have been a great ambassador for Korea at the UofA” after they watched the video of Korean Night on Facebook.


Even though I had never performed anything like this when I was in Korea, I have done some performances since I came to the University of Arkansas as a Visiting Student. I really appreciate friends and staff around me who gave me these opportunities and encouraged me to do many things like Samulnori at Korean Night and the dance performance at FNL. I want to participate in many events as much as I can until I go home. Lastly, here’s the message to current and new visiting students: I would like say “Enjoy your life in Arkansas!”

To enjoy the Smulnori part of the program, here’s link to the Samulnori Performance.

To enjoy the whole program on the video, here’s the link to the Korean Night 2012.