Suh, Joon Seok



Name: Joon Seok Suh
Location of Study: Seoul, South Korea
Program of Study: Yonsei International Summer School
Sponsors: Liu Family



A brief personal bio:

I am a junior majoring in Physics in Medicine and minoring in Korean. My family immigrated to the United States of America when I was 5 years old. I spend most of my childhood in Los Angeles, so Latin and Asian cultural influences have had a strong impact in my life.

Why this summer language abroad opportunity is important to me:

Although my family and I emigrated from Korea to the United States, I never had the opportunity to embrace my Korean heritage. The Yonsei International Summer School program would provide such an opportunity and much more. Without the financial support of the SLA grant and the program at Yonsei University, I would never be able to experience the culture and language of Korea in their native environment. Following the YISS program, I plan to complete my minor in Korean, in addition to my major of Physics in Medicine. With these educational qualifications, I plan to attend medical school and pursue a career in the field of onco-plastic surgery. With the skills of an oncology surgeon, I will be able to fulfill my desire of saving lives, and the expertise in the field of plastic surgery would be beneficial given the recent trends towards cosmetic surgeries, especially in Asia and the West.

What I hope to achieve as a result of this summer study abroad experience:

Through this summer study abroad experience, I want to take every opportunity to experience the culture firsthand. From my readings, I have learned that in addition to the highly modernized areas of Korea, like Seoul, there are also many historic sites. I hope to visit all of these sites during my stay in Korea. With the priceless experience that the SLA Program has granted to me, I hope to give back to my community in the near future.

I grew up in an area of western Los Angeles where the average socioeconomic status is significantly lower than the rest of the country. Subsequently, there are a disproportionate amount of minorities living in L.A, mainly those of Hispanic and Asian origin. In the future, I want to work in and give back to the community. Therefore, a greater knowledge of the Korean language, in addition to my fluency of Spanish and English, will strengthen my ability to not only communicate with my patients but also to serve as a role model to the children growing up in poverty.

My specific learning goals for language and intercultural learning this summer:

1. At the end of the summer, I will be able to fluently converse in Korean with native speakers.
2. At the end of the summer, I will be able to read Korean newspapers without difficulty so that I can always be knowledgeable with regards to current events in Korea and in Korean communities in the United States.
3. At the end of the summer, I will be able to sympathize with the East Asian mentality of rigidly sticking to tradition and discouraging progress, which I strongly disagree with.
4. At the end of the summer, I will be able to understand the different Korean dialects and recognize their origins.
5. At the end of the summer, I will be able to speak, read, write and listen at a level of proficiency equal to two semesters beyond my current Korean coursework placement at Notre Dame.

My plan for maximizing my international language learning experience:

While at Yonsei University, I will be enrolled in 3 classes, Korean Language, Korean History, and Korean Culture. Yonsei University sponsors many diverse events for cultural immersion, such as the Seoul City Tour, BIBAP Performance, Mud Festival, and DMZ Tour. All of these programs are hosted by the university to specifically promote interaction between the students and the community. The students are forced to minimally use English, although the language is well understood by most Koreans, so that they can maximize their opportunity to learn and develop their Korean language skills in a native environment.These activities will not only help to build relationships with other students in the Yonsei International Summer School (YISS) program but also provide an environment to practice the language firsthand. Additionally, there are several clubs to facilitate language practice; of these clubs, I plan to join K-Pop Dancing/Singing, Korean Cooking, and TaeKwonDo.


Reflective Journal Entry 1:

Reflective Journal Entry 2:

Reflective Journal Entry 3:

Reflective Journal Entry 4:

Reflective Journal Entry 5:

Reflective Journal Entry 6:


Reflection on my language learning and intercultural gains:

Reflection on my summer language abroad experience overall:

How I plan to use my language and intercultural competences in the future: