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One Large Step for One Small Town Girl: My Trip to Seoul, Korea - Ashley Tressler, Ag & Extension Education

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Posted: December 18, 2012

Never let fear or doubt stop you from grabbing such an amazing opportunity. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I will never forget the experiences, memories, and friends I made along the way.

My name is Ashley Tressler, and I am an Agricultural and Extension Education Major. In May of 2012, I traveled with my peers from Penn State and Florida State to Seoul, South Korea. I was extremely hesitant at first because I’ve never been on a plane before, and the distance seemed too far. I’m so thankful I went on that trip.
After the 13 hour plane ride, we finally landed in South Korea, and we were just ready to experience as much as we possibly could. We went on several tours to places such as Seoul National University (SNU), Suwon High School, National Agro Biodiversity Center, Buddhist Temple, Demilitarized Zone, and several other places. The Buddhist Temple was beautiful. Everyone was so welcoming and you felt a sense of peace overcome you when you walked through the doors. Words cannot describe how marvelous that experience was.

TresslerKorea2.pngThe food was absolutely amazing and it was interesting to see and learn how to eat it. I would honestly describe it as an art. You ate certain foods in certain ways and at certain times in the meal. I had a blast learning how to eat the Korean way.
We were also given the opportunity to teach at an Agriculture High School! So we met with our SNU friends and created lessons to teach to the students. We asked for different ideas and everyone in my group contributed to the lesson. At times, it was difficult to get our point across, however making references and asking questions definitely helped us. That was an amazing experience in itself.

The different ways of teaching compared to the United States is remarkable. Even though the educational systems are different, the students were still like any other high school student. Trying to bridge that language gap between the instructors (us) and the students was difficult at first, however; we found ways to make sure they were able to understand such as writing words on the board and using mannerisms to describe a main idea. We worked together with the SNU students and the lesson turned out to be a success. Anytime we had a difficult time trying to explain, our friends translated for us. The lesson flowed very nicely and we all had a great time. My teamwork skills definitely improved after working with these students.

TresslerKorea3.pngWhen I would describe this experience to a potential employer, I would say full heartedly that this experience changed my life. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity and being given that opportunity was such a blessing. I’ve become more culturally aware and feel that I am able to successfully interact with a diverse group of people. Everyone has something different to bring to the table. Collaborating with those different ideas and perspectives can solve a problem in a way that one person may not have thought of alone. Traveling to South Korea has given me the confidence to travel internationally in the future and possibly work overseas as well. Looking back on being so hesitant just makes me laugh. The experience made me forget any fear, doubt or hesitation that was ever in my mind. Never let fear or doubt stop you from grabbing such an amazing opportunity. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I will never forget the experiences, memories, and friends I made along the way.