Nebraska’s Jennifer Au is one of the first Husker students to study abroad after a year-plus of pandemic-related travel restrictions and cancellations.
On July 1, the secondary math education major packed her bags and headed to Seoul, South Korea, to complete a beginner-level Korean language course while also exploring the historic city. Once a required two-week quarantine is complete, Au is most excited to purposefully push past her comfort zone by immersing herself in a new culture and its language. The opportunity to be immersed in Korean language and culture will allow Au to “utilize the skills and language I will learn by applying it to everyday life in South Korea.”
She’s also looking forward to exploring some of her personal interests, including tennis, traveling, astrology, Kpop, Kdramas, and electronic dance music, many of which have deep roots in Korean culture. Being physically in Korea, Au predicts, will provide her with a new understanding and appreciation of these aspects of Korean culture, removed from the American cultural lens.
At Nebraska, Au has gotten involved in several organizations that cultivate diversity within the Lincoln community.
“Culture plays a big part in my undergrad years and has influenced me to become involved with cultural organizations such as Vietnamese Student Association, Asian Student Union, Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, and Multicultural Greek Council,” Au said.
Au will be documenting her travels on the College of Education and Human Sciences Office of Global Experiences social media accounts, @cehs_global on Twitter and Instagram. She plans to post about the application process, traveling, quarantining and several cultural experiences, including food, entertainment and public transportation. Anyone with questions about what it’s like to be in the first wave of students to study abroad again can ask during Q&A sessions that Au will be hosting on the @cehs_global Instagram.
Au hopes that sharing her experience will encourage others to pursue study abroad programs, many of which are returning starting this fall.
“I am honored to be invited to share my experiences abroad and hope that my story will influence others to also take the step out of their comfort zone to travel abroad and learn about other cultures,” she said.