Alumni Spotlight: Hailey Strier


Hailey is a junior in high school with a passion for travel and learning languages.

Why did you choose this program?

I choose this program because I wanted to do something fun and different while still in high school. I also love South Korea and have wanted to experience the culture for a long time.

I wanted to see what life was like in the stunning city of Seoul from a native's perspective.

I wanted to find out what they do on a day-to-day basis, not just what landmarks I'd visit if I was there as a tourist.

Someday, I hope to do this sort of thing with many different countries; experience everyday life in another's shoes.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The wonderful program providers helped me a lot. They made sure I knew what to pack and they assigned someone to pick me up at the airport and a few host families for me to stay with on the weekends.

They also found me a wonderful school. Considering my age I did not have to organize many things on my own, except for passport information or talking to my home school about the trip.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

My advice would be to stay calm. Even if something doesn't go as planned it will be okay. If there was anything I wish I knew ahead of time it would be to pack light. The program directors told me to pack light, so I did, or so I thought I did.

Turns out my idea of light wasn't as light as I should have packed. If you think it's light enough-pack even lighter.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I was in a boarding school for this program so a day or week as a participant was spent mostly at school. Everyone at my school was really nice, so I didn't mind spending most of my time there.

We did a lot of fun activities too, like bike riding, soccer, and painting. We went on a lot of school trips to museums, Olympic parks, and even a bowling alley for gym class. This program was great at picking a perfect school for my time in South Korea.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was getting lost in the country and having my phone die and when I look in my wallet all my money is gone. When I got to Korea I quickly realized I was being overdramatic.

Down every street corner there is an entrance to the best subway system in the world. The subway system is super inexpensive and easy to follow, much easier than Boston's. All you need to have Seoul in the palm of your hand, is a T-money card.

What is your favorite memory from your time abroad?

I can not possibly choose one story, so I will narrow it done to a three:

  • When I met my new friend Yeji. Yeji and I became really close during my time there and spent almost everyday talking and laughing.
  • When my host brother told me I am really good at English, so I told him he is really good at Korean.
  • And finally, when I sat around a campfire with my host family while my host sister played the ukulele.