College of DuPage Student Earns State Department Scholarship to Study in South Korea
By Jennifer Duda
College of DuPage student Rosanne Garrido knows she’s fortunate to have spent time studying in South Korea while in high school, but she never imagined she’d get a second opportunity to revisit this country thanks to a Critical Language Scholarship through the U.S. Department of State.
For the Naperville resident, the second experience was as memorable as the first and allowed her to not only return to a country she’d grown to love, but to see a different region and experience cultural variations.
“As a junior in high school I was interested in China and started taking Chinese, but I absolutely fell in love with the Korean language when I was able to study there,” she said. “There’s just something about the dialect and the flow of the language that I find so wonderful.”
The Critical Language Scholarship Program is part of a U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical foreign languages. Garrido is one of approximately 560 U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to receive the scholarship in 2016, allowing her to spend last summer in Gwangju, South Korea.
Garrido came to College of DuPage to complete her general education requirements. Always hoping to return to South Korea, she was surprised to find out about the grant application.
“This was a great opportunity that I had no idea I would have,” she said. “I want to try again while completing my bachelor’s degree. It was such an amazing experience and intensive.”
Garrido spent four hours per day in language studies classes and lived with a host family, immersing herself in South Korean culture. Students took two excursions and had cultural activities each week, ranging from Tae Kwon Do to calligraphy.
Previously, Garrido studied in Seoul and grew accustomed to the urban setting. Gwanjju, however, is a much more rural area, which provided an interesting juxtaposition, she said.
“It was very different and provided me with a better understanding of the country,” Garrido said. “I still talk with my host family from my high school trip and I was also able to see them, which was nice.”
The experience not only opened her eyes to the amazing culture lying beyond the U.S., but transformed Garrido from a shy, quiet student, to a more adventurous scholar, she said.
“I’ve matured and I’ve overcome a huge fear by going off to study by myself not once, but twice,” she said. “I just really want to inspire others at COD to apply for these types of opportunities. A community college doesn’t limit you. Success is about what you do with the experiences and opportunities you have.”
Click here for more information on Global Education opportunities at College of DuPage.
College of DuPage is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Serving approximately 27,000 students each term, College of DuPage is the largest public community college in the state of Illinois. The College grants nine associate degrees and offers more than 170 career and technical certificates in over 50 areas of study.
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