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My Study Abroad at Yonsei: Exploring My Cultural Heritage

Exchange student Jamie Waltzer from Cornell University (U.S.)


Name: Jamie Waltzer

Home University: Cornell University (U.S.)

Major: Economics


“After moving to the United States at the age of 13 from my birthplace, Kyrgyzstan, I have been identifying myself with Western culture. However, entering my senior year at Cornell University, I realized that this year might be my last opportunity to take an exchange program abroad. I not only wanted to explore other cultures, but I also wanted to immerse myself in an environment similar to that of my birthplace. 


Last winter, I first visited Korea with my friends from Cornell. Since a lot of my university peers are from Korea, I was convinced by them to visit the country. During my stay here, I was reminded of and became curious about the childhood environment that I had long forgotten. Thus, I decided to come to Korea again to fully experience Asian culture that I cannot fully grasp through a short vacation. I specifically chose Yonsei University among other Korean universities because it is known for its diversity and provision of an easily accessible exchange program for Cornell students. Many alumni have also encouraged me to participate in this exchange program due to the variety of courses offered and intimate discussion-based lectures that are not common at Cornell.


Instead of the typical Economics related courses I would usually take back home, here at Yonsei, I am currently taking Korean Language Institute courses, Art History, and International Politics of the Korean Peninsula. I am especially enjoying the International Politics of the Korean Peninsula course because, despite being an Economics major, I have always been interested in courses related to government and politics. During this course, I have been learning about the history and development of North and South Korean relations; it is especially meaningful because I am learning from the perspectives of Asian professors that offer distinctively different views from Western outlooks. 


The experiences here at Yonsei University have encouraged me to probe areas of interest and explore an environment similar to that of my cultural heritage.”



*Interview by The Yonsei Annals reporter Nam Hyun-jin



For more information on how to study in Korea at Yonsei University as an exchange/visiting student, click here.



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