The U has multiple campuses, most gathered near the main campus. One, however, is almost 6,000 miles away in Incheon, South Korea.
The U Asia Campus is part of an education effort in South Korea called the Incheon Global Campus. According to the U Asia Campus’s website, Incheon Global Campus is a collection of some of the best universities. All universities involved are ranked “among the top 100” in the world, and the U is one of them.
Undergraduate students at the U Asia Campus can graduate in Communication, Psychology and Social Work. They study for three years in South Korea and take their final year in Salt Lake. Graduate students can earn a Master’s degree in Public Health, spending one year in Incheon and one in Salt Lake City.
All courses are taught in English, and students from the U.S. can take courses there as well.
Some members of the U Asia Campus’ first class have already made it to their last year, and have started classes on the main campus in Salt Lake City.
Jihye Park was born in South Korea. She earned a Bachelor’s in Nursing from Ewha Women’s University in Seoul and later worked as a nurse and clinical research coordinator in Seoul National University Hospital.
After working in clinical research for a bio-pharmaceutical company, she decided to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health. Park felt she couldn’t further her career “without obtaining global perspective” and said that gaining “proficient English” skills was impossible without studying abroad.
For her, the greatest strength of the U Asia Campus is “providing an international education opportunity to Korean students with [an] affordable cost, and helping students not only develop their career but also improve their country’s quality of education and contribute to national growth in the long term”.
Park hopes to become a college professor and epidemiological researcher.
Rupert Lee is studying Communications with an emphasis in journalism. He attended Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia for a year and then joined the Korean Army; two years of service is compulsory for all male Korean citizens. After his discharge, he wanted to experience life in Korea. The U Asia Campus allowed him to do that and be a student at one of the “world’s top-ranked universities at the same time.”
Lee said this year is his “chance to be a global citizen in the United States, since the United States is a nation [where he] can experience various cultures and people.”
His dream is to become an advertisement designer in the U.S. at the headquarters of KIA Motors.
Park also said one of the things she likes most about Salt Lake is the people. She feels it’s “very difficult [in Korean culture] to respect diverse ways of thinking…due to a collectivist culture.” She said that “as a person who doesn’t want to fit myself to just one opinion, sometimes it was so frustrating to communicate with people and meet their expectations [and the] cultural norms,” but that she’s found that the people in Salt Lake City “respect diversity of thought, and [that] creates a really comfortable atmosphere” for her.
It can be difficult to move so far and between such different cultures. Park says the strangest thing she’s seen in Salt Lake is “outdoor activity equipment rental services from the Student Life Center.” She was “very surprised…in a good way” because she’s “crazy about enjoying outdoor activities.”
When talking about her experience here so far, “How can this state and school, which are so perfect for me, exist?” said Park.