Study Abroad Experiences: China Summer of 2015 and 2016 by Jade Beadle

I found a quote the other day that I have come to love by an unknown author, “of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.” I find this quote to be 100% true. You can read all you want about different cultures and of other people’s travels, but it is not the same as going there yourself and experiencing everything that country and world has to offer. Traveling has always been a passion of mine. I have had the opportunity to travel to eight different countries and will be traveling overseas again in December. As cliché as it sounds, it is a once in a life time opportunity. There is no better opportunity to travel than right now in college, take advantage of what BenU has to offer. Grab a friend, go in a group, or go by yourself. Whether studying abroad or going abroad, it is an opportunity that everyone should do. The past two summers I have gone to China on a faculty led trip. Both times I was able to spend over a month in country while only spending around $2,000 including airfare. That is an incredible price that most people will not find after graduation.

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I loved my time in China during both visits. I was able to practice my mandarin every day, make new friends abroad and continue building the relationships I had previously formed. My second time to China, I made it my mission to do everyday things that I would in America. It was a great way to compare and contrast the two countries besides the obvious differences. My favorite memories, from my most recent trip, was actually playing ultimate Frisbee, volleyball, Ping-Pong, and attending the nightly concerts/talents shows with other students from the university, Shenyang Jianzhu University. Another fond memory I have is visiting a local elementary school. My friends and I were able to join in their calisthenics routine and even join in on their gym class. The people are so nice and will go out of their way to help you with anything you need.

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  Of course with anything there are challenges that one faces especially while abroad. A few challenges I faced was homesickness, finding my way around the cities, and a bit of language barrier. While I look Chinese and have studied mandarin for three years, there was still a lot I didn’t know. My biggest problem was locals assuming I spoke mandarin fluently. While the challenges were frustrating, I was happy to have experienced them. Without them I would not have been able to grow as a person. As mentioned before in the quote, some of these challenges and struggles make the best stories to tell.

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       I will forever remember the memories I have created while abroad. They are something that will always be with you. Just like an education, it is something that cannot be taken away from you. Take a leap of faith and have a once in a lifetime experience.

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10 Things to do in the Chicagoland Area this Summer

Go to the movies at Ogden 6 Theater, Seven Bridges Movie Theater, or Studio Movie Grill which are all close by showing the latest movies! Check the theater’s websites for show times and prices.

Play laser tag, arcade games, and bowl with a group of friends at Brunswick Zone in Naperville!

Take a walk through nature and learn about trees and flowers at Morton Arboretum in Lisle.

See animals from all over the world at Brookfield Zoo! The Brookfield Zoo has everything from pandas to giraffes to penguins and more!

Visit a museum! There are many museums in Chicago to visit including The Art Institute of Chicago, The Field Museum of Natural History, and Adler Planetarium.

Have a bite to eat at Taste of Chicago, Chicago’s biggest event, which is a celebration of the city’s eclectic food culture. This event features everything from extravagant gourmet menus to fast food takeaways. Highlight of the festivities is the program of live entertainment ranging from music to cookery demonstrations.

Shop downtown Chicago on The Magnificent Mile. The shopping strip contains a mixture of upscale department storesrestaurants, luxury retailers, residential and commercial buildings, financial services companies, and hotels, catering primarily to tourists and the affluent. The area also has a high concentration of the city’s major media firms, such as the Chicago Tribune newspaper, and advertising agencies. The Magnificent Mile includes 3,100,000 sq. ft. of retail space, 460 stores, 275 restaurants, 51 hotels, and a host of sightseeing and entertainment attractions to more than 22 million visitors annually.

Catch a baseball game at Wrigley Field or U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago to see the Cubs or the White Sox play ball! Enjoy a classic American sport while eating a Chicago style hot dog and enjoying the in-between-innings activities.

Enjoy the warm weather at Eyes to Skies Festival in Lisle! Experience musical performances, a carnival, craft fair, food, and daily launches of hot air balloons.

Celebrate America’s Independence on July 4th by attending a parade downtown Downers Grove with friends. The parade begins at Main and Grant Streets at 12:45 p.m. and will head south to Warren Avenue. There will be a firework display starting at 9:30 p.m. by 75th Street and Lemont Road presented by the Village of Downers Grove and Village of Warrenville.

Jake Kennedy’s Study Abroad Experience

Study Abroad Experiences: China Summer of 2014, China Summer of 2015, and Philippines 2015-2016.

Let me start off by saying that words cannot properly describe any study abroad experience, there is no way to encapsulate my experiences in a couple of paragraphs but to anyone that is considering studying abroad I would like to tell you this:


DO IT! Studying abroad is an incredible, life altering experience that every student should take advantage of. The fact of the matter is that later on in life it becomes increasingly difficult to find the time and money to travel, especially as we take on more and more responsibilities. Studying abroad is one of the only ways you’ll be able to experience what it’s like to really live in another country and to be able to truly understand the people and the culture of the country you’re in. I studied in China on two short-term trips and since June 2015 I have been studying in the Philippines.


There will be moments where you’ll just stop and truly take in the moment; you’ll notice that everything you see is very different from everything you’ve ever known and in that moment you’ll think to yourself, “man, am I lucky!” and hopefully you’ll think about how many people never have and never will have the opportunity to do what you are doing. Making the decision to study abroad is one of the few decisions in your life that you won’t have to worry about regretting. Even though there are many highs and lows that come with studying abroad, these have been experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, I have created memories and friendships that I will cherish till the day I die. So if you’re considering studying abroad “JUST DO IT!” Please don’t let your fears and excuses hold you back from what will be one of the best experiences of your life.


Afterthoughts: Study Abroad in Seoul By: Julianne Tieu

Faces and places of a different life recede into memory once you step back into a home you left behind. You realize that nothing has changed except you. It’s an uncomfortable yet psychedelic feeling that lingers as you attempt to regain your footing in the life you once had. Returning to the U.S. emphasized the amount of experiences I’d gained from my time in Seoul as an exchange student. I’ve built friendships with wonderful individuals around the world. I’ve encountered obstacles academically, financially, and culturally which has enriched my perspective on society. I’ve learned more about myself than I’ve ever had before. The memories I have from Seoul are irreplaceable. They’re pieces of my life that I’ll cherish.

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Never will I regret my decision to study abroad. It was a long-sought dream of mine to hop onto a plane and fly into another culture. During my high school days, I had heard stories from teachers and older students of their experiences abroad that cultivated my desire to do the same. When I was applying for university, one of the features that I factored into my choice of higher education was how accessible studying abroad would be for me. The opportunities I knew I had at my disposable at Benedictine University convinced me to apply. When I became a university freshman, I immediately visited the Office of International Programs and Services and expressed my enthusiasm to study abroad. I had a plan sketched out with suggestions such as which semester would be the best for me to go, what classes I could possibly take, and how I would prepare my finances. I was committed to travel and learn. Furthermore, the international friends that I met as an active member of Inter-Cultural Club at Benedictine University fueled my aspiration to reach my dream. The joy I saw in their eyes while they were studying abroad here in the U.S. gave me hope that I would experience a similar happiness. When I received the acceptance letter from Kyung Hee University for the exchange program, I was overjoyed. I couldn’t wait to go. Up until my departure, I prepared diligently. Filling out numerous forms, receiving necessary vaccinations, taking Korean language classes, and more were essential for me to complete before I could go. It wasn’t until I was rolling my luggage towards my departure gate that I realized that I was going to study abroad. A downpour of emotions fell upon me at once. Excitement, fear, worry, hope, and more filled my thoughts as the airplane took flight. I didn’t know what kind of adventure I would be having, but I was ready to take a chance on it.

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Comparisons cannot be helped be made when you leave your home country. The world you enter is vastly different. However, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s merely a distinctive culture for you to observe and appreciate. My first month in Seoul was exhilarating. Almost immediately, I bonded with several other exchange students and connected with Korean peers. After months apart, I caught up with friends I’d met while they studied abroad at Benedictine. I enjoyed a plethora of delicious dishes such as dak galbi (닭 갈비), kimchi jigae (김치찌개),  pajeon (파전), and bingsu (빙수). I explored the city by visiting hotspots like Myeongdong (명동), Cheonggyecheon (청계천), and Gwangjang Market (광장시장). On my calendar, I had something planned for every weekend. I had lists of places and activities I wanted to do at least once before my return to the U.S. I asked locals for sights I should see, restaurants I should try, shops I should visit, and phrases I should learn to enhance my cultural experience. Any suggestions or opportunities offered to me were considered and, more often than not, explored. Furthermore, through IFCC (International Friendship and Culture Club), I was able to participate in events coordinated by my peers at Kyung Hee University. They allowed me to try out new things such as hiking a mountain and playing paintball. Also, they provided me an opportunity to share my culture with others. For example, I partook in the Language Exchange Program where I was paired up with a Korean peer. We would meet at least once a week to teach each other our native language. Through this, my Korean language skills improved as my partner taught me slang and daily phrases. On the other hand, I was able to teach her about English grammar and slang too. I was happy to be able to share my language and culture with another person, especially someone that I can call a friend now. While I certainly enjoyed my time abroad by hanging out with friends and visiting beautiful places, I also attended classes and received first-hand experience of another country’s education system. Kyung Hee University broadened my academic prowess, as the format of lectures in South Korea was more teacher-based. However, I was expected to overview topics covered in class in preparation for exams, which is similar to U.S. education. There was more emphasis on testing for knowledge as students had to listen in lectures and study what was or wasn’t covered on their own rather than practicing application of learned concepts through homework or presentations. My study routine was adapted to read what was necessary every week, understanding the topic in which the professor would be presenting. Although slightly different from the way I’m used to being taught in the U.S., I adjusted how I learned and studied in order to succeed academically. As a result, I earned fairly good grades. While I was being educated academically abroad, I also learned how to personally finance myself. Before I arrived in Seoul, I had worked jobs and saved up money for personal expenses. As I adapted to my new environment, I had to determine where my money was going. I asked questions such as “Do I need to spend on this?” or “Have I already tried this?” It was essential to know how I was using my money. Although I had a budget, it didn’t limit my chances for discovery and fun. Experiencing academic, financial, and personal obstacles enriched my time in Seoul. By overcoming difficulties and adapting to cultural differences, I was able to strengthen my character through studying abroad.

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While studying abroad appears to be a solo effort, it certainly wasn’t. I had various individuals and groups who helped me pull through. Firstly, I had countless friends that supported and encouraged my endeavors. They kept the spark of travelling and learning in another country alive for me. In addition, my family accepted my desire to leave my comfort zone. They kept me grounded, reminding me of any dangers I may face and how I should deal with them. However, they permitted me to indulge in my wanderlust. While my family had qualms about me traveling alone to a completely different country, they did not undermine my decision. They saw my determination and dedication. They listened to my motives. They voiced their concerns yet allowed me to go. My family worried for me out of love but didn’t hinder me from studying abroad. In fact, they made me appreciate it more. Another group of individuals I am grateful to is the International Programs and Services (IPS) at Benedictine University. They embraced my ambition and guided me through the process every step of the way. By giving me advice and answering my inquiries, they eased my anxieties. Any paperwork I had to complete; they helped me scour through. Any requirements I needed to fulfill; they informed me of them. The International Programs and Services were a profoundly supportive group towards my desire to study abroad. Without them, I wouldn’t have been as informed as I was. In addition to my family and IPS, the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education greatly aided my capability to study abroad. Most significantly, they designated me as one of the recipients of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for the 2015 spring cycle. Out of 2,700 applicants, they awarded 800 individuals. I was lucky enough to be one of them. This program promotes relations between people of various nations to develop better understanding for one another. Through sponsorship of undergraduate students in the U.S., the Gilman Scholarship offers opportunities to study or intern abroad by dispelling financial difficulties. With this scholarship, I was able to cover many financial necessities such as flight tickets, tuition, and more. Moreover, the program also connected me to the U.S. embassy in Seoul and introduced me to an international insurance service. Due to this, I received regular updates from the embassy about safety measures, extracurricular activities, and more while I was in South Korea. Also, they connected me to a network of Gilman alumni who’d been abroad. The Gilman Scholarship solidified my dream of studying abroad. They gave me the tools to flight on my journey. Essentially, there were many people that made everything possible for me to go to Seoul. Without them, I don’t know if I could’ve done what I did. All these people were integral to my study abroad experience—because they helped make it happen.

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Coming home is a bittersweet feeling. I missed my family, my friends, and my regular daily life in the U.S. while I was in Seoul. However, I find myself reminiscing over memories of being abroad. It feels strange not seeing the faces of people I saw everyday in a district imprinted on the back of my hand. It feels odd not sitting down for meals in restaurants and cafes I visited weekly. It feels unusual not stepping onto a subway to explore a city unknown every weekend. I feel a little out-of-place at home. It’s still home—unchanged. Yet, I am not the same person I was when I left. I have grown as individual in many ways. Through all my experiences in Seoul, I have become a better person. My perspective on the world has broadened. By meeting a diverse group of people and adapting to a new culture, I view things more openly. I’m less inclined to judge others and I attempt to step into their shoes. Studying abroad has given me a lifetime of precious memories, a plethora of friends, and a stronger sense of who I am. It is a worthwhile journey for anyone to go on. If they can, I greatly encourage others to take a chance on stepping out of their bubble and throwing themselves into unfamiliar territory. I do not have any regrets in studying abroad. If I could go again, I would without hesitation.

Welcome Anna Moorhead to IPS: Intake Advisor and Asia Coordinator


My name is Anna Moorhead and I am excited to serve as the Intake Advisor and Asia Coordinator for International Programs and Services at BenU. In this role, I assist international students and visitors, connect students to advisors, provide immigration assistance, help with IPS events, maintain IPS social media and contribute data entry support for the Asia Institute. I enjoy working with people from all around the world and look forward to meeting you!


I have always loved to travel and learn about other cultures. During my time as an undergraduate at Augustana College, I studied abroad in Ghana and Russia, participated in an Alternative Pilgrimage to Israel and Palestine, and traveled to Norway and Sweden. Many of my favorite memories of undergrad took place overseas. By being immersed into Ghanaian culture by living with a host family, interning at a credit union, and navigating the local transportation, I was challenged, both personally and professionally, and I grew from the experiences. The memories, skills, and knowledge gained from overseas experiences are endless. Spending time overseas is truly life changing and offers a new lens on the way you see the world, which cannot be learned in a textbook. I encourage everyone to participate in a mission trip or education abroad overseas! Click here to learn about how you can have an education abroad while at BenU!


For up-to-date information on events, important visa regulation reminders, fun quizzes and videos, and more, “like” International Programs and Services at Benedictine University on  Facebook!

I look forward to being part of the BenU community and meeting you!


Experiencing Korea, By: Julianne Tieu

Hello! My name is Julianne Tieu and I’m currently a sophomore at Benedictine University. This Spring 2015 semester, I began an exciting journey. I went to study abroad at KyungHee University in Seoul, South Korea, a partnership university to ours. I’m so lucky to have this opportunity. This was a dream made achievable thanks to my supportive family and friends, motivating advisors, and gracious organizations like the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program. It’s an experience I haven’t regretted yet (and probably never will).


Studying abroad is a rollercoaster. There are ups and downs and calm in-betweens. However, there’s always the possibility of excitement around the next turn. Seoul is a mega-city with a plethora of activities and sights to take in. I’ve already visited places such as 경복궁 (Gyeongbokgung Palace), 북쵼한옥마을(Bukchon Hanok Village), 북악산(Bugaksan Mountain), etc. Moreover, I’ve tried many dishes like 비빔밥 (Bibimbap), 삼계탕(Samgyetang), 부대찌개 (Budae Jjigae), etc. Furthrmore, I attended my first concert when I went to see a popular K-pop band called BIG BANG on April 25th. While everything I’ve done may seem expensive or time-consuming, it was made possible by South Korea’s efficient, economical public transportation system, which I’ve come to rely on greatly. In addition, I’ve met a lot of wonderful people. I’ve bonded with fellow exchange students, interacted with Korean peers, and created many friendships I hope will last beyond my time in Seoul. Also, KyungHee University is breathtakingly beautiful. The campus has gorgeous architectural wonders such as the main building, library, and convention hall. I’m fortunate to have arrived in Spring as the campus was filled with lovely cherry blossom trees. Even better, various restaurants and cafes where food is easily found and enjoyed for good prices surround my campus.  Groups such as IFCC (International Friends Culture Club) and Global Zone help foreign students like myself get involved on campus, conducting activities for us to enjoy Korean culture and meet new people.


While I’ve experienced culture shock, homesickness, and personal issues, I’m happy to be here. Nothing can ever be expected to be perfect. Nor should it be. Life is full of flaws and mishaps, but that is what makes it beautiful. Despite any setbacks I’ve encountered financially or socially as a foreigner in South Korea, the moments of happiness I’ve had outshines them all. I’m thrilled to have stepped onto a 15-hour (delayed) flight, battle through airport security, and roll two huge suitcases down a steep hill to reach my second home here in Seoul. I have a few more months left and I will make the most of them by appreciating this wonderful city, its people, and its culture.


Summer in Chicago

The winter may be brutal, but Chicago redeems itself in the summer. The city’s location along the beautiful Lake Michigan provides a change of pace for the urban lifestyle during the summer months. Besides shopping on Michigan Avenue, exploring coffee shops and restaurants in the array of neighborhoods, or visiting a museum, residents and visitors can flock to the miles of sandy beach space in Chicago during the summer. The most well-known and heavily visited beach in Chicago is the North Avenue Beach, which is located south of the Lincoln Park Zoo (which is free and a great place to stroll around on a summer day). Other beaches include Montrose Beach in Uptown and Kathy Osterman Beach in Edgewater on the North side, and Northerly Island and Rainbow Beach on the South side.


After spending a day in the sun at the beach, head to Millennium Park for a variety of free entertainment in the form of movies, music, and dancing throughout the summer. You can catch a full weekend of live Blues music at Millennium Park amphitheater and Grant Park from June 12-14th at the Chicago Blues Festival. Other free events at Millennium and Grant Parks include movies, documentaries, different types of dance, yoga, and other musical acts throughout the summer evenings.


Another great aspect to Chicago in the summer is all the festivals that take place. Festivals vary from Lollapalooza in Grant Park to Midsommarfest in Andersonville, a northside neighborhood. It seems like every weekend there is a different festival in a different neighborhood in Chicago. The festivals showcase the local businesses in the area and highlight food, drinks, arts, and entertainment offered in each neighborhood. These festivals are a great way to learn about the different cultures and people who all call Chicago their home.


Written by: Marie Monter

As the semester ends…

It is getting very close to the end of the undergraduate semester and there are a couple of items that all international students should know…

If you are completing your time at Benedictine University make sure you remember the following items:
– Attend the Exit Orientation on April 23rd in SH 223
– If you are graduating click here
– Remember your grace periods; J students have 30 days after your program end date and F students have 60 days
– Come to IPS if you have any questions that are related to your specific program
– If you have family visiting you during your grace period, remember to complete the invitation letter request form. Located outside SH 119

If you are coming back after the summer, remember the following items:
– Make sure you have secured your housing for the fall semester
– Are you going back home? get your travel signature from Marie or Marc ASAP
– If you need to extend your program, you MUST complete the program extension request form. Located outside of SH 119
– If you are planning on doing CPT/OPT/Academic Training, make an appointment with your advisor ASAP

We at IPS are always available to meet with you should you have any questions or concerns.  Please contact us at!

We hope you are enjoying this lovely spring weatherspring


National Model United Nations is an experimental learning program that engages university students and faculty with global concerns through UN simulations. The simulations address current, real world issues related to regional conflicts, peacekeeping, human rights women and children,
economic and social development, and the environment.

NMUN–NY is one of a handful of United Nations simulations that takes place in several locations around the world each year.  More than 5,000
students from participate in the NMUN conference in New York each spring. Benedictine University has participated in 49 of the 50 NMUN conferences.

Benedictine University students represented Germany in NMUN- NY 2015. The Benedictine delegation of 29 students served on 15 committees that deliberated on an agenda of 45 global issues. The delegation was recognized for two Outstanding Position Paper awards and the
Distinguished Delegation Award signifying consistent excellence across all 15 committees.

Seven students from this year’s delegation will travel to Xi’an, China to participate in Northwestern Polytechnical University ‘s annual Model UN Conference as the only American participants in May.  Benedictine students will join over 600 Chinese students at the conference.