Where in the World is Miami Wednesday: Korea


By Nicole Richards

In this week's, Where in the World is Miami Wednesday, we meet Sarah, a 2019 Miami Graduate who currently works as an English Teaching Assistant as part of Fulbright's Korea program.  During her time at Miami, Sarah studied English Literature with minors in Asian/Asian-American Studies, Art and Architecture History, and Creative Writing.  She studied abroad in Korea through the Yonsei International Summer School Program in 2017 and participated in Literary London during her 2018 summer.

wwmw-korea-2Why did you choose your study abroad programs?

In 2017, I was fostering an interest in Korean language and literature that would influence a lot of my academic work throughout the rest of my undergraduate experience.  Attending Yonsei was a great opportunity to further explore that.  Literary London appealed to me because I was able to gain work experience through an internship, as well as take an exciting publishing course.

What is your current role and what does it entail on a daily and weekly basis?

As an English Teaching Assistant (ETA), I have been assigned to an elementary school in Yeosu, where I teach 22 classes a week to third, fourth, and fifth grade students.  I am present at school 40 hours a week, and use the time that I a not teaching to plan lessons and work on Infusion, Fulbright Korea's literary magazine.  Work situations differ for ETAs- for example, I don't teach with another teacher present.  Whether ETAs have one school or two, live in an apartment or homestay, have full control over our lessons or have to follow a standardized curriculum, our primary role of teaching students is the same.


What steps did you take during your time at Miami to obtain this opportunity?

I contacted Karla Guinigundo ( late in the summer of 2018 and expressed interest in the Fulbright Program.  Karla made sure I had all the information I needed, and I began to complete the application, which included gathering recommendations, undergoing a Korean Language evaluation, and writing two statements, which I was able to workshop in events that allowed Fulbright applicants to peer-review each other's writing.  In the fall, I completed an on-campus interview, after which I was able to review my application one final time before submitting it.  I heard about my semi-finalist status in January, 2019, was made an alternate for the grant in March, and was promoted to grant recipient in April.

wwmw-korea-4What advice do you have for Miami Students considering Fulbright?

I would advise potential applicants to convince yourself of your qualifications first.  Then, come up with a solid thesis answering the question, "Why did you choose the country you have chosen?"  That question can act as a backbone to your application, written statements, and interview.  Feeling confident about the case you've made for yourself will carry you through the long waiting periods.

How did your time at Miami prepare you to live and work abroad post graduation?

My internship experience through Literary London gave me a taste of what it is like to work in an unfamiliar job in a new place, and my time at Yonsei allwed me to start building bonds with my family members in Seoul, who have been an invaluable resource and comfort to me in my time in South Korea.

Catch us next week as we continue to travel around the world to feature the amazing opportunities that Miami students are taking and the experiences our alumni have had since graduating!

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