Written by Alehtse Hernandez
Ten months ago, Jooyeon Park, a sophomore studying computer science, was living in South Korea, her home country.
Now, in her third semester, Park lives in Rexburg and actually enjoys it, even though she misses Korean food and wishes there was an Asian market around to indulge in something closer to home.
But why Rexburg?
Park said, “I knew that it will be amazing to have an opportunity to meet people from everywhere! I was excited to live in diversity. Also, it seemed like my friends who were here were having fun.”
So far, Park has had fun and has a little notebook with a list of the plans she wishes to accomplish while here.
One of Jooyeon’s most memorable moments so far was last summer.
“During the summer session, The Church was combined as a stake, so I was able to meet a lot of amazing people that I didn’t know before. I was taking 10 credits during the summer session, so I had a bunch of homework every day, but because I wanted to play volleyball and basketball with them, I would finish my assignments earlier so I could hang out with my funny people. Everything is easier when we have a goal, ” said Park.
After graduating from BYU-Idaho, Park dreams of working in the United States as a software developer with artificial intelligence, but just like other college students, she is unsure of what will happen after graduating.
As an international student, Park is familiar with the common stereotypes that come from being from another country.
“Some people just say ‘ni hao’ to me without asking me where I’m from. Come on, that’s a big no no. Asian is not always equal to Chinese,” Park said “I mean, Koreans speak Korean, I don’t eat insects, and sushi is Japanese food.”
Even though Park still deals with the typical stereotypes, she loves the diversity at BYU-I and advises other international students to befriend other international students.
“There are so many things to learn from other cultures, and the experiences that you have are the precious and will last forever,” Park said.
Park has been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since she was born and desires to serve a mission in the future, where she said she will indulge in as much Korean food as possible.