With State Dept. Scholarship, Alyssa Young ’14 studies Korean from the ground up
June 25, 2013
Alyssa Young '14, now in South Korea for the summer, with her host family.
Each year, the U.S. State Department grants Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) awards, which allow graduate and undergraduate students studying around the country to become students studying around the world. There are 13 "critical languages" on the State Department's list, and this year East Asian studies major Alyssa Young '14 was awarded a scholarship to study Korean.
"I taught myself the Korean alphabet in high school with the intention of learning how to speak it," Young says, "but instead I just used the alphabet to write secret notes to my Korean friends in phonetically spelled-out English."
CLS participants spend the better part of the summer in intensive language institutes in one of 13 countries. Young, who would like to pursue a career in the East Asian business world upon graduation ("Preferably for a company that allows me to utilize my skills in Korean and Japanese," she says), is already in Korea, and she's hitting the ground running.
"I've always been interested in taking Korean language classes, and the beginner classes are moving quite quickly," she says. "I think knowing Japanese has made the process much easier. There are a lot of similarities with grammar and vocabulary."
Young may be almost 7,000 miles from Dickinson, but she's finding a feeling much like home.
"My homestay parents call me their daughter, and they treat me like one too," she says. "They even gave me a Korean name: Yang, Seong Yeon. I couldn't be more grateful."