Aloha! As a student at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (UHM), I received a Boren Scholarship to spend the 2010-2011 academic year studying in South Korea. As an undergraduate student, I pursued a concurrent degree in accounting, international business, and Korean language and had a strong desire to study abroad because it would allow me to fulfill a requirement for the Korean Language Flagship program at UHM. The Korean Language Flagship program consists of a select few who are trained to use superior-level Korean language as professionals in their chosen occupational fields. As part of the program’s coursework, I was required to take intensive Korean language and business courses as well as complete an internship at an organization in Korea.
During the Fall 2010 semester at Korea University, I enrolled in five courses that were taught in Korean. I also interned at a non-profit organization that helps young women to develop leadership skills allowing them to contribute globally. In addition, I took some time to explore other parts of South Korea. Being able to travel and live in South Korea gave me a deeper insight into the culture, language, and way of life of South Koreans that I could not have experienced elsewhere. I feel that studying abroad in a foreign country is a great way to improve one’s language proficiency. From this study abroad experience, I was able to improve my speaking proficiency by two levels on the ACTFL scale.
I feel very fortunate to have been awarded the Boren Scholarship, and I am forever grateful to have the experience of studying abroad and improving my language proficiency. Without the Boren Scholarship, it would not have been financially possible for me to study abroad. I am currently continuing my education in the Master’s of Accounting program at the Shidler College of Business and, ultimately, I hope to use my skills to be of great value to the federal government. I would like to complete my service requirement using my background in business and Korean in the Department of Defense or the security community.
One final word of advice that I would like to give to students interested in applying for the Boren Awards is not to wait until the last minute to start the application. It will take time to gather all the required supplementary materials, and starting early will give you time to proofread your essays and allow you to be creative in your writings.
Written: March 2012