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Inside Scoop: Q&A with Michelle Mendoza

1/30/2020

Last summer, Michelle Mendoza ’21 won the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and traveled to South Korea to study abroad. Get a glimpse of her experience overseas.

When did you study abroad in South Korea? How long were you there?
I studied in South Korea this past summer for 7 weeks.

Steps in Korea

What is your major?
I am a nursing major with a minor in Health Care Management.

What were you most excited about when traveling to Korea?
I had been longing to not only be exposed to the Korean culture but also to experience the college student life there. I also finally got to eat all the legendary Korean dishes such as soondae, Korean fried chicken, and especially the live octopus.

What were the most interesting academic activities you were engaged in while studying abroad?
The school’s campus is located in Sejong which is considered to be South Korea’s Washington D.C. The school took our class on a field trip all around Sejong and visited all its wonderful landmarks like the national library. I also was invited along with other Gilman scholars to visit the American Embassy in Seoul and met Director of the American Center and several diplomats.

Chicken character in Korea.

What courses did you take in South Korea?
I took an intensive Korean language class at Korea University’s Sejong campus. Although it was an introductory course the class was entirely taught in Korean.

What did you do outside the classroom?
My program funded trips which allowed us to go anywhere in Korea all planned by ourselves. We spent weekends on the beaches in Busan, the Mud Festival in Boryeong and the Chicken and Beer festival in Daegu. However my favorite pastime to do in Korea was shop at Sejong’s Traditional Market almost everyday after class to practice my Korean with the shop vendors.

Relief map of Korea.

How has your Gilman Scholarship trip benefited you? What has it inspired you to do next?
The Gilman Scholarship not only made it possible for me to learn Korean and the culture to help me become a culturally competent nurse but also made me realize how I became more confident in myself. The experience has not only made me grow as a person but inspired me to be a better leader as well.

Wall art that says "Mud Festival"

What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation I plan to be a labor and delivery nurse but eventually go back to school to become a nurse practitioner. I hope to use that role to be an advocate for undocumented women and families. I also plan to continue learning Korean.

Korean sign reading "Academic Information Center," Human Resource Development Center," "Career Development Center for the Future," "Presidential College Center"

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational, and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for lives of professional accomplishment, service, and leadership in the 21st century.