International Spotlight: Christina Parchem ('15)Published on Dec 02, 2014
By Benjamin Mohai (’15)
Cultural Studies major, Christina Parchem (’15), has applied her studies to the real world by studying abroad at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea and through a student departmental exchange with the University of East London.
For Christina, it was the little things studying abroad that have stuck with her. From taking an intensive language class in South Korea to using breaks to explore her temporary homes, a sense of adventure and an open mind to other cultures was all that she needed to enjoy her time abroad.
What inspired you to pursue study abroad in general, and why did you decide to pursue this particular program or country for your study abroad experience?
I really wanted to travel while in college and I figured studying abroad, where one is immersed in the culture for a semester, rather than just going a few days as a tourist, would be a great opportunity.
I always knew I wanted to study abroad in Asia, but International Student Affairs, especially Gigi Posejpal, helped me get the process going and figure out how to pick a program. I [eventually] chose Korea because it’s a culture I’ve been interested in for a while. I chose London because I thought it would be a good opportunity to see more of the world.
How do you think this study abroad experience will benefit you in terms of your education, future career plans, personal development, etc.
Studying abroad and experiencing how other countries regulate education helped me receive academic opportunities I never would have been able to get if I never left Columbia.
Living away from home in Chicago prepared me for living much farther away from home and studying in Korea helped solidify my plans to move there after graduation because I now have a much wider range of professional contacts all around the world
Studying abroad opened up my mind to new experiences and new ideas. After studying abroad I feel much more spontaneous and willing to do something just because I’ve never done it before.
What was the best/coolest part of studying abroad?
I made some of the closest friends I’ve ever had studying abroad. I also took my extra time to travel around the city every week and check out different restaurants and shopping areas. Also, going to the Harry Potter Studio Tour for my birthday was pretty awesome.
Learn more about Columbia’s International Programs and how you can study abroad, here.