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.
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.
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.
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.
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.