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UAlbany Junior Prepares for Year in South Korea

Looks toward a career promoting international understanding among nations

Standing with the South Korean Flag, Andrew Chang, is joined by, left to right, and Joseph Micancin, Danielle Leonard, and James Pasquill of the International Education Office, which he credits with helping him obtain international awards to study in both Russia and Korea.

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 30, 2012) — In preparation for a year abroad, UAlbany junior Andrew Chang is disengaging.

“The most important lesson I’ve learned about studying abroad is to get out of your comfort zone,” said Chang, who leaves August 17 for South Korea as one of only 161 undergraduate students nationwide to participate in the prestigious Boren Scholarship for international study. During his year abroad, he will take intensive language, culture and economics courses at Korea University.

He is currently minimizing his English writing and speech. In addition, once in South Korea, he won’t seek fellow-American camaraderie. “I will be hanging out with Koreans and attempting to blend in with the crowd. I'll most likely be residing in a dorm with two other students. Hopefully, they do not speak English well.”

Chang speaks from experience. He is a past recipient of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which allowed him to study in Russia in the summer of 2011. While there, he met students from both North and South Korea and became intrigued by both countries’ cultures and politics. With the aid of UAlbany’s Office of International Education, he discovered the Boren Scholarship, a foreign-study grant for undergraduate students with limited financial means.

The $20,000 Boren awards are designed to build a broader and more qualified pool of U.S citizens with foreign language and international skills, particularly in those regions critical to U.S. interests, but often underrepresented in study abroad.

The Staten Island, N.Y., native said he is motivated to pursue studies that promote international understanding among America and foreign nations. At UAlbany, he has taken courses in both Korean language and culture for two years under the guidance of associate professor Andrew Sangpil Byon and instructor Jinyoung Kang Mason. He has also studied Russian and Mandarin Chinese.

“I want to learn more about the economics and politics of North and South Korea, and someday help to rebuild relations on the Korean peninsula,” said Chang, who is studying globalization. “China, Japan, and Russia are all important players, and I want to ensure I master their languages.”

Chang is also focusing on reading and watching the news. “Real, dense news,” he said, “not pop culture.”

Chang is carefully considering how much to bring to abroad. “I know that winters in Korea can be especially brutal. During the U.S. counteroffensive in the Korean War, U.S. soldiers did not bring adequate warm clothing. I'll try not to make that mistake.”

Explore study abroad opportunities at UAlbany for a full list of countries available through UAlbany and SUNY programs. In addition, ideas and information about studying abroad through UAlbany or another SUNY program will be available at the Fall 2012 UAlbany Study Abroad Fair, Thursday, Sept. 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Lecture Center Hallways.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 17,500 students. An internationally recognized research university with 50 undergraduate majors and 125 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit http://www.albany.edu/. For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit www.albany.edu/news/experts.shtml.