|ALL PHOTOS FROM JONES|
Are you contemplating overseas schools? Well, if you are, I highly suggest my school, Coe College. Coe College is a small, private, liberal arts college located in downtown Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Coe offers students a choice from over 40 various majors and a plethora of various activities/clubs. Since Coe is a small school, located near several big urban centers, and dons a friendly campus environment, students often consider Coe their home away from home.
Melting Pot, Coe College
Coe is a very small school, with approximately 1,400 students, which makes it easy to move around campus and meet people. It is very safe and generally quiet, so travelling from point A to point B is as easy as pie. Coe has recently undergone a $20 million renovation that saw expansion to its fitness center, academic buildings, and library, as well as various support facilities on campus to better cater to the student body. The renovations ensure the happiness and health of its students as well as access to better education. Although I love Sookmyung Women’s University’s two campuses, I’m really happy to be headed back home to Coe to see and benefit from all of the improvements to the school.
Coe offers students the perfect location for growth. Located in the middle of downtown Cedar Rapids, the school opens up opportunities for students to flourish, grow, and have fun. Cedar Rapids is the second largest city in the state of Iowa, which is nice because it wouldn’t be much of a disconnect for students coming from Seoul. Public transportation like busses and taxies are easily accessible, although students are more likely to have friends who drive, so getting about it is no problem. There are many restaurants, bars, pubs, stores, and malls in walking distance or short drive distances from campus, which opens up job/internship opportunities and access to fun on a weekday or weekend nights. Many students also go to the city of Iowa to have fun as it is only a 20-minute drive away. Iowa houses the University of Iowa, so as an exchange student you can immerse yourself in a college town even off Coe’s campus.
The atmosphere on campus is always friendly. Upon arriving at school, students are welcomed with open arms and genuine smiles. It is so easy to make friends on and off campus, so you’ll likely befriend students, people in the neighborhood, teachers, and staff members. Language is an issue no matter where you go in the world, but I can assure you that everyone at Coe College will go out of their way to help make your stay great with their extraordinary patience and understanding. Communication is a two way street so as long as you're open and willing, you’ll be fine. Generally everyone is nice and respectful, and people at Coe will invest time in you. Also, people will really want to get to know you and help you feel comfortable and accepted. At Coe you’ll never feel like an outcast nor find yourself segregated from others. The campus at Coe is very diverse which makes it more like a tiny melting pot within a much larger pot. As soon as arriving for your exchange, you will automatically become part of the Coe family. You will soon sense you are part of a big place in a small environment. Coe also gives its students a chance to experience various national cultures, so Coe College students gain better understanding and respect for the importance of diversity and inclusion.
Coe College’s Strong Point
At college I quickly befriended all of the international students, a majority of whom were from Asia. Being friends with them sparked my interest in Asian cultures, and I decided to take on a second major aside from International Business, which was Asian Studies. The international club on campus will play a huge role in your time at Coe. The club helps exchange students get settled in the United States, Iowa, and Coe College. The club will equip you with all the information and answer any questions you may have. Also, at the club you will meet a group of people all in the same predicament as you. At Coe, there are over 50 international students and more come each year from all over the world. Currently, there are students from nations like Nepal, Japan, Switzerland, Ireland, Ghana, UK, and South Africa. With so many students from so many nations, the International Club hosts an annual Cultural Show, International Food Fest, Chicago Trip, Minnesota Trip, and Canoe Trip. When at Coe, I highly suggest joining the International Club.
The benefit of an exchange program is that you gain experience learning your major’s coursework in another country and culture. I recommend participating in as many extracurricular activities and volunteer activities as you can when you study abroad so that you get to know the country’s culture, values, and norms more explicitly as well as build long-lasting relationships with people. Through extra-curricular activities, students are able to immerse themselves in another culture, make new friends, and engage in group work that develops interpersonal skills. Volunteer activities allow you to connect with locals and help others, which will have a positive impact on people's lives.
Enjoy Your Experience
Your experience abroad is what you make of it. If you go anywhere in the world with certain perceptions and expectations, you will miss out on a great deal of happiness in your journey because you were seeking something that may not even be there. I suggest you head out on your exchange program open-mindedly in order to appreciate everyone you meet and everything you do while you're abroad. You will grow and develop yourself with that type of mindset.
Studying abroad will benefit your professional, academic, and personal growth. Also, the experience will aid in achieving your career goals and widening your cultural perspectives. Later in life, all the connections you make and skills you gain will ultimately benefit you. You will become an example for your family, friends, and community. Sookmyungians, I highly recommend you to take advantage of any opportunity to study abroad and hopefully you choose to come to Coe College. Good luck on your educational endeavors!
JEANETTE JONES firstname.lastname@example.org