- What I Love about Yonsei Is the Variety of Backgrounds and Experiences Merging October 17, 2022
UD Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) Student Maya from United Kingdom
Name: Maya Lycett
College: Underwood International College (UIC)
Major: Underwood Division - Political Science and International Relations (entering class of '20.5)
"Hi, I'm Maya. I am a sophomore studying Political Science and International Relations at Underwood International College (UIC). Though I am from England, I was raised in Latvia, where I lived for eight years. Then moved to South Korea in 2009, where I attended international school until year 12, and now I am studying at Yonsei University.
When I first came to Korea, I was very young, and it was my first time in such a homogenous society. So I struggled to get used to sticking out in a crowd, not looking like everyone else, and not understanding what people were saying. It took me a long time to understand that being different from those around me was not a bad thing and that I could learn from these experiences. Of course, there are smaller things I had to learn surrounding the culture of societies, like the fast pace of trends going in and out of style as well as the fast-paced lifestyle, but there are always different aspects of a culture that you have to adapt to in any country and how you adapt to them really shapes your experience in the country.
Being an English who has never lived in England, but lived in Latvia for eight years and Korea for ten years, I wasn't sure where I belonged. This was an issue that I was grappling with during my gap year, trying to decide where to go to university based on where I would be more comfortable. But by spending my gap year in Korea alone, I could learn the language, interact with Korean people and experience new sides of the culture I never had despite having lived here for so long. I think it really made me feel comfortable here because I had an understanding of how society works, and I now see Korea as my home.
I attended Seoul Foreign School (SFS), an international school located right behind Yonsei's Sinchon Campus. For that ten years, I would walk through the beautiful Yonsei campus daily, go to Severance Hospital for doctors' appointments, and be tutored by a Yonsei student. I grew up surrounded by Yonsei, so it always felt like the next step for me. Especially with the two schools both being founded by the Underwood family, I felt that there was a connection in values and that I could continue to experience many of the happy memories I had when I attended SFS.
Upon entering Yonsei, I was concerned about whether I could actually meet new people and have fun, mainly because of all the restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic that prevented us from having in-person classes, but I think that because we were all in the same boat we made more of an effort to meet up outside of class. When I was at the International Campus in Songdo, I enjoyed going to the benches or Triple Street to meet up with my friends. Now that I have one in-person class this spring semester, I have been really enjoying going to campus to experience the atmosphere and meet up with my friends. Hopefully, if Yonsei goes fully offline next fall semester, I hope to join many more clubs, make more friends, and experience UIC events.
What I love about Yonsei, in particular, UIC, is the variety of backgrounds and experiences merging together. As a politics major, it has been so interesting hearing personal recounts of global events and different viewpoints and learning about new cultures. Attending Yonsei can broaden your experiences in a way you wouldn't experience at many other universities, as you get to know about Korean culture and the language through lectures conducted in English while being surrounded by international students sharing their cultures. It is the perfect way to meet new people and learn about new cultures!"
Interview by student reporter Jo Beomsu
* Yonsei University's Underwood International College (UIC) is a highly selective, English-language, four-year liberal arts institution, which combines the intimate, elite learning environment of an American-style liberal arts college with the faculty and resources of Korea’s top private research university. UIC students choose from an extensive list of classes conducted entirely in English and taught by a distinguished group of international and Korean scholars. With a student body drawn from around the world, UIC focuses on ensuring that its outstanding students have the intellectual foundation to become exceptional leaders capable of changing the world for the better.