Meet Abigail Viola

Program and Location:

Fall, University of Seoul: Seoul, South Korea

Major/Minor:

Animal Science/Zoology & International Studies

Why did you choose to study abroad and what did you learn about yourself?

I have never traveled abroad before and I thought that having my first international travel experience while still in school would be a great way to learn. This way I would still have somewhat of a safety net to fall back on and a support system to help me. I learned that I am a lot more resourceful and determined that I originally believed. I also learned that I am capable of socializing with and relating to many different demographics of people that I had not encountered before.

What was your experience with navigating COVID-19 abroad?

Covid definitely made my experience harder to plan and navigate than I imagine it would have been pre-covid, but it did not hinder the activities I did too much. I was still able to do all the things I wanted, just with some extra rules I had to follow.

How were your classes abroad different than if you would have taken them at NC State? Did you take any field trips or do anything outside of the traditional classroom?

Most of my academic experience abroad was online due to Covid, but I was lucky enough the last few weeks to have a couple in-person classes. One of my professors (that I actually had for two of my classes) took us on field trips to a palace and a museum. These were actually some of the most memorable experiences I had abroad. Another of my professors gave the class a project to cover a k-pop dance for the final. This was also very fun as it allowed to learn how to truly work together in a group of people who, not only didn’t know each other, but also spoke many different languages.

How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?

It taught me how to network with people in a global setting. Fig   uring out the nuances of other country’s or language’s interaction styles has shown me how to adapt quickly to different cultural expectations and how to go about fixing an error in communication I could have made.

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?

Do your research well during the planning and application process, as this is incredibly important to how many issues you may run into down the road, and be flexible with any problems you may run into while abroad. Also, say yes to every opportunity to go out, explore, or meet people (obviously use your judgement here to avoid bad situations), but the best friends and experiences I had were through spur-of-the-moment things I did.

Would you do it again?

Absolutely