BRISTOL-Mt. Abraham Union High School sophomore, Sara Sayles, daughter of Todd and Katie Sayles of Bristol, was one of 100 U.S. high school students to be awarded an all expense paid scholarship from the Korea Foundation to participate in a two week study abroad opportunity in South Korea. The program was coordinated by CIEE (Council on International Education Exchange), the Korea Foundation, and Yonsei University in Seoul.
While in South Korea, Sara and her peers attended high school-level Korean culture and introductory language classes taught by Yonsei University instructors in classrooms at the University in Seoul. Outside of the classroom Sara's group went on tours of the ancient Gyeongbokgung Palace, Insadong, Cheonggyecheon Stream, the National Museum of Korea , the Samsung D'light Company, and the Haja Center.
Excursions outside of Seoul included a visit to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing North and South Korea including Imjingak, Freedom Village, the Third tunnel, The Bridge of No Return, and Panmujeon. They toured a Korean traditional village and the Keumsansa Temple in Jeonu, and went to Chunhyang Theme Park in Namwon. In Asan, they visited the Hyundai Asan Factory, and then had some fun at the Everland Amusement Park!
Sara was also able to participate in a Taekwondo class at Yonsei University, and attend a non-verbal artistic performance called NanTa.
She learned how to make Kim Chi and Kimbob (Korean specialty dishes) with Korean High School students, and was graciously hosted by a South Korean family in their home for a two night stay outside of Seoul.
During her time in South Korea, Sara completely embraced the culture into which she was immersed. As a result, she has gained a deeper appreciation for Korea's history, culture, people, language and food.
She has also developed the desire to share with her youth peers the similarities and differences between U.S. and Korean cultures with hopes of promoting a stronger and more amicable relationship between the two countries.