Alumni Spotlight: Brianna Siobhan Birch


Brianna is a college student studying to be an Archaeologist and apply for the Peace Corps after Graduation.

She always wanted to study abroad and experience what it was like before venturing off once she graduates from College.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because it was the closest to my major as possible. My Major for College is in Sociology and Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology. I have also really wanted to learn more about Asian countries and cultures.

It was suggested for me to study in this program and the only place that really interested me was South Korea, so I applied. I am so happy I did because it has been the greatest time of my life.

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

My home University helped with beginning the process of applying and what to expect. They gave us a seminar where we had alumni of other programs who have or were about to either study abroad or to part-time work abroad. We got to listen to their experience and what we might experience and what to look out for.

What I had to organize on my own was my air travel, getting all the information needed for the program, and making sure I was up to date with the laws of the country and culture.

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

I wish I had thought to bring two suitcases. It might not seem like it, but you will accumulate a lot of things once you get here. Be it souvenirs or clothes, it will accumulate faster than you realize.

I would also suggest budgeting your money. Only buy things that you know you can afford at the time and save up whenever you can.

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

An average Friday to Saturday consists of school and going out. Friday was when classes were still in session. I went to class, took notes and then went back to my room and then did assignments and other work on my laptop until just around 6 pm or so. Afterward, I would go out with one or two friends and we would try and get lost. We would then get dinner or just look around the main cities.

On Saturdays, we had some activity we could sign up for. One time we had a k-pop dance class, which was an awesome experience.

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

I think my biggest fear would have been being too scared to start up a conversation with others in the same program. It's a little nerve-wracking when you don't know anyone and are somewhat of an introvert and are made to interact with people. I overcame it by befriending my roommate and then meeting others during when we had overnight excursions or class or even during the activities that were put together.

What memory will you cherish the most?

I can definitely say that every memory and every friend I will cherish.

Every person, every activity and every event that happened has changed me and made me a better person. I wouldn't change anything or redo anything that has happened. Even with these memories, it doesn't compare to the real thing and that without being here, these memories wouldn't be here either.

I will miss everyone I have made friends with and will cherish the memories that I have made.