Student Scholars Participate in Virtual Korean Immersion Program

LMU Center for Asian Business awarded J.P. Daly Summer Scholarships to four students to attend a virtual cultural immersion program offered by our sister Jesuit university, Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea. Angelina Arroyo ‘24, Jose Miguel Lopez Arroyo ‘22, Itzel Chavez ‘22 and Sammi Su ’22 learned conversational Korean and gained an understanding of Korean culture in this four-week program held June 27 to July 23.

The scholarships are named in honor of the late John P. Daly, S.J., former director of the Center for Asian Business at LMU. He worked in Korea as a young Jesuit from 1961-1981 to help develop Sogang University, where he served as president for 12 years. Daly’s lifelong goal was to promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of culture and history between Asia, Korea in particular, and America. Sogang faculty and alumni have contributed to an endowment to make the scholarships possible.

With majors ranging from marketing to psychology and Asian and Pacific Studies, each student brought a unique experience and perspective to the program. All have in common an affinity for languages and the desire to learn more about Korean culture.

Angelina is a marketing major with a minor in Asian and Pacific Studies and psychology. Angelina has a passion for learning languages. She has studied Spanish and Tagalog, is studying Japanese at LMU, and taught herself Korean, including some basic vocabulary and the writing system. Angelina is also a fan of South Korean entertainment and media which she says has helped her to learn more about the culture and language. “I had so much fun meeting other students from around the world, as well as learning from great teachers. I learned so much about the country and it was super interesting to take classes in Korean!”

Jose Miguel is a psychology major with a minor in Spanish. He is dedicated to learning from others, challenging his perspectives, and becoming a better ally to the Asian community. “I believe having an understanding of Asian relations and culture is fundamental in any field. Issues such as climate change, poverty and the current pandemic require countries to collaborate like never before.”

Jose Miguel described receiving this scholarship as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “As a DACA recipient, I cannot travel outside the United States, which has severely limited my ability to participate in any study abroad or other programs that offer an immersive experience,” he said. “This year’s virtual format gave me an opportunity to engage with a completely different culture.”

Similarly, for Itzel, this virtual program allowed her to participate in a cultural immersion program after the COVID-19 pandemic brought her study abroad plans to an abrupt halt. “The [scholarship] gave me the chance to recover these lost opportunities, especially since I was actually planning to study abroad in South Korea.”

Itzel recently transferred to LMU from El Camino Community College through the LMU Pathways program. As a marketing major with a minor in international relations, she participates in the First to Go program, and is a member of the International Business Society and the National Honor Society. “Participating in foreign language classes with zero previous knowledge proved to be challenging,” she said. “However, with the guidance and support of Sogang’s teachers and new friends, it was much easier to adapt! Despite being online, the program fulfilled its promise in providing us a Korean immersion experience by also making it fun and memorable.”

A rising senior, Sammi is a double major in marketing and Asian and Pacific Studies. Sammi comes from a multilingual family where she was exposed to three different Chinese dialects – Mandarin, Cantonese and Shanghainese. “At home, I fostered a love and appreciation for Asian culture and languages,” she said. “I’m interested in learning the fundamentals of the Korean language as well as how Korea has developed as a nation culturally, politically and economically.”

Sammi had also hoped to participate in a study abroad trip to Asia. “Although it’s unfortunate that we had to take the course remotely, I enjoyed learning a new language at Sogang. My hope is that in a post-COVID world, I’ll be able to visit Korea and put the Korean I learned in this class to practice.“

For more information about the J.P. Daly Summer Scholarships, click here.