U Asia Campus Transition Program to Salt Lake City Sees Steady Increase


(Courtesy of the Utah Asia Campus)

By Caroline Joung


The University of Utah Asia Campus has been seeing a sharp increase in students transitioning to the Salt Lake Campus as social distancing regulations begin to loosen worldwide.

UAC is a global branch of the U located in South Korea that primarily focuses on providing students with the opportunity to earn an American university degree while attending school in South Korea. To increase global communication between the two campuses, UAC requires its students to attend a minimum of two semesters at the main Salt Lake Campus.

The transition program between UAC and the Salt Lake Campus took a hard hit as the COVID-19 pandemic brought an abrupt halt to international travel for nearly two years. Only three students made the transition to the U during the Fall 2020 semester as most universities went fully online.

Over the past semester, UAC has begun to slowly revive its transition program as a record total of 82 students made the transition to the U for the Fall 2022 Semester, according to Anna Yacovone, the UAC International Programs Coordinator.

“The very first two to three semesters with COVID, it felt like a ghost town,” Yacovone said. “We definitely had students on campus, and we were still lucky that we were able to do programming in person. But it still just doesn’t meet that in-person experience, where you really take the time to physically be in the presence of others.

“Right now, my observation has been, I just see more social interactions with students. I think that there’s just more opportunities for them to bump into each other and really connect, and as you can tell by the numbers, there have just been so many more students transitioning.”

Many UAC students currently attending the U express the ups and downs of moving halfway across the world to come in contact with various new experiences as well as culture shock at the Salt Lake Campus.

“I think academically, coming here to the Salt Lake Campus is not as difficult as you’d imagine it to be,” said Rachel Yoon, a UAC junior. “There are more benefits to it rather than difficulties because the professors and lectures aren’t that different, so you can still understand everything as you did at UAC.”

Yoon said the hard part has to do with adjusting to American culture, making friends and “being a minority for the first time in your life.”

Yeseo Ahn, a UAC sophomore, said the Salt Lake Campus is different from the Asia Campus because of the larger size and increase of students.

“There are definitely a lot more opportunities as well, for example, here I can do a lot of internships with international companies and I can meet a variety of students from all over the world,” Ahn said. “I can also experience U.S. culture and that seems to be the biggest difference between UAC and here.”

As more and more students prepare for their transition to the U, UAC gears its students up for the cross-continental journey through mandatory orientation programs, Q&A sessions with UAC students currently attending the U, detailed canvas courses and even pen pal activities with students at the Salt Lake Campus.

“I think it’s very normal for students to be nervous,” Yacovone said, elaborating on the struggles and anxieties UAC students may experience in regards to the transition process.

“Especially with a lot of our students, they have high uncertainty avoidance,” she said. “So they want everything planned and mapped out, step by step, minute to minute when they go to another country.

“I would just encourage students to learn to lean into the discomfort, and just start practicing emotional agility. Culture shock is so normal, it’s so part of the process and it’s also proof that you’re stretching and growing. Lean into the discomfort, learn to explore yourself emotionally, and use your fear as a gas pedal, not a brake.”


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