Ewha Womans University’s International Summer Co-ed Program

[Guest blogger Kasey Buecheler was born in Sam Cheon Po, South Korea, and was adopted into an American family at 3 months old.  She is a recent graduate from the University at Buffalo with a double major in Dance and Asian Studies as well as a Korean minor.   This piece is the first in a series describing her experiences living in Korea as a college student.]

My name is Kasey Buecheler, and I am a 21-year-old Korean adoptee. I have been back to South Korea four times, and have learned a lot about the culture, lifestyle, and people from my experiences overseas. Many adoptees that I know go back to Korea the first time on some sort of homeland tour set up especially for adopted children. These kinds of trips can be great because they set destinations for the adoptees who may not know Korea that well, and are a good price. They travel all around Korea for a span of 1-2 weeks, and other expenses (such as accommodations and meals) are all covered by the initial fee. Many adoptees that I know have wonderful experiences on these kinds of trips.

However, I was less interested in the travel aspect of going to Korea. I gained a huge interest in the culture and the language sometime during high school. I attended a Korean school on the weekends with some friends and learned the basis of the language, but it wasn’t enough for us. The summer after I graduated high school, I went back to Korea for the first time with one of my best friends to attend the International Summer Co-ed Program at Ewha Womans University. For my interests, attending this program as opposed to a homeland tour was just right. I even went back to attend the same program two more summers.

So, for many adoptees making the decision about going back to Korea, there are many different ways they can go about it. For adoptees who feel a bit overwhelmed trying to plan a trip on their own, I would highly suggest something like a homeland tour. But for those who are more interested in learning more about Korea, I would recommend doing some kind of study abroad program. Not only was I taking a wide range of interesting courses, but I was completely immersed in the culture for over a month. I can say that I learned just as much outside of the classroom as I did from my courses at Ewha.

From a tower above Seoul

Kasey overlooks Seoul from N Seoul Tower in Namsan Park (for the story of the locks go to http://unearthingasia.com/uniquely-far-east/locked-in-everlasting-love/)

After graduating college now, I do not have any more plans on attending the Ewha program again. Currently, if I were to plan a perfect trip to back to Korea, I would definitely want my family with me. That is one thing that I feel like I missed out on compared to some of my other adopted friends who went on these homeland tours with their parents. However, after all of my experiences, I feel I could do a good job guiding my family around Korea. It is something that I sincerely hope can happen someday .


 What do you most want to know about Kasey’s experiences studying and living in Korea?


  1. Lisa DeNike Ercolano says:

    I really enjoyed reading about Kasey’s time spent in the land of her birth, and would love to hear more details about what she found were the main cultural differences (and similarities!) between Korea and the United States.

    • Jumping in here before Kasey as a chance to respond, but I was wondering what you would most like to hear about, Lisa. Would it be her studies, the food, the housing, the social stuff? What subjects would interest you the most, do you think?

    • Yep! I plan to go into more depth about my cultural experiences, and please let me know if there is anything in particular you are curious about!

  2. I’d like to hear about Korean food. Did you like it?

    • This is something I was already planning on dedicating a whole post to, so keep checking in for when it goes up! But to answer your question, I LOVE Korean food, I think one of my absolute favorite foods is jang uh gui, (broiled/grilled eel) and ddukbokki (spicy rice cakes)!

  3. Lisa DeNike Ercolano says:

    I am particularly interested in hearing about how Kasey, who was born in Korea but adopted into a family in the US, was viewed by same-age Korean peers during her study abroad, as well as whether Kasey felt she fit in rather seamlessly with those peers or not. Kasey, did you feel “American” when you were in Korea, or did you feel you blended in with the crowd?

  4. What a great program! There’s nothing like immersion to learn about a country and its culture and language. I hope you can make your dream of a family tour of Korea come true.

  5. Reblogged this on Don't We Look Alike?.

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