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How I Embraced Korean Culture During My Study Abroad at Yonsei June 19, 2019

Exchange student Max from Washington University in St. Louis (U.S.)


Yonsei exchange student and 2019 AKARAKA student dance performer Max Abrams talks about his love for K-pop and dance as well as the Korean culture and language and shares his memorable experiences during his semester abroad at Yonsei University. 


Name: Max Abrams 

Home University: Washington University in St. Louis 

Major: International Affairs / Korean Language and Culture


“For years, I worked at sleepaway camps where I taught dance to 7-year-olds through 15-year-olds, and to do that I had to create new choreography and classes for them constantly. One thing led to another, and I was looking on YouTube, and I found the whole world of K-pop because dance is so integral to K-pop. 


Once I started attending university and picked my International Affairs major, I chose Korea as my area of focus because I already had this deeply embedded interest in Korean dance culture and K-pop. I combined both the timely and significant relationship of America with Korea to my fundamental interest in Korean dance, and it all just combined and led me here. I thought if I could be an American citizen who can speak Korean, who understood the Korean culture and then sought to work for the Korean people back in the American government, that it would be beneficial for both parties involved. So, with that in mind, I came to Yonsei University to study.


One of my most positive experiences at Yonsei was when I was able to join the Harie street dance dongari (student club) and meet a ton of native Korean students who also have a passion for dance. There I met a special group of three Japanese friends; speaking only in Korean, we spent about two months practicing for AKARAKA performance in the middle of May, which turned out to be one of the most memorable experiences in my life. 


My advice to future study abroad students: If you’ve never studied Korean before, or if you've studied just a little bit, try your best to pick up as many colloquial ways of using Korean as you can. The more and more you can learn about this language and the culture, the more, wide breadth of experiences you can have here. Just the ability to put yourself out there, and make conversation with people who you otherwise wouldn't, I think those types of skills are really important for exchange students to have, and if you can try your best at them, you’ll have a whole different world of experiences here.”


Watch Max's interview video and dance moves.


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



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