Summer in Seoul

Kelly Pellegrino N Seoul Tower
Kelly Pellegrino

Hello! My name is Kelly Pellegrino and I am a nursing major in my junior year of school. For about a month in the summer of 2022, I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in Seoul, South Korea. With a very busy and difficult curriculum, many nursing students don’t think that it’s possible to go abroad during college, but not very many nursing students are aware of the fact that they are able to study abroad during the summer! I am hoping that, with this blog, I can share some of my experiences overseas and inspire fellow nursing students to explore opportunities to travel the world.

I participated in a summer program through the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC) and was able to study at a private school set in the outskirts of Seoul called Kookmin University. There were students who attended college all across the US who participated in the program as well, and we were able to create friendships that I know will last a lifetime.

We all lived in dorms in a building called “The Guesthouse” on campus and were able to take classes and participate in lectures during the school day. We took classes on the Korean language and sat through lectures from various amazing professors on topics surrounding Korean culture. Now many people may think that since these classes have nothing to do with nursing or healthcare in general, nursing students shouldn’t use their time and effort on them. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. One of the most vital aspects of nursing is being culturally competent and able to understand the importance of recognizing cultures and customs different from your own. Throughout a student’s nursing career, and their life in general, they are going to come across individuals from all walks of life. Understanding the importance of language and culture will allow these students to provide patient-centered care and ensure their patients have the best healthcare experience possible. I know that after studying in Seoul, I have a much better understanding of what it is like to either not be able to speak the primary language of where I am or encounter customs and traditions different from what I am used to in Maine. This whole experience will help me when I am working with patients who might be experiencing the same thing.

Kookmin University
Kookmin University

Outside of class time, my friends and I were able to explore as much of Seoul as we possibly could in a month. We went to amusement parks, cafes, malls, historical palaces, museums, and so much more! Even though we did something every single day, we barely touched the surface of what Seoul has to offer. I would say my favorite excursion was when we took a cable car to the top of Nam Mountain in central Seoul. At the top you could go inside the N Seoul Tower, eat great food at the shops and restaurants there, and marvel at the breathtaking view of all of Seoul. The coolest thing about the top of Nam Mountain is that you can purchase what is called a ‘Love Lock’ that you are able to write on and lock anywhere on top of the mountain. You can do it with a significant other, your friends, or even just yourself to symbolize eternal love and harmony. My roommate and I put a lock on together, and hopefully one day I can go back and find the lock again.

It is safe to say that although I was only away for a month, I learned so much about myself and the world outside of Maine. I gained so much confidence and courage, and I made memories that will hold a special place in my heart for the rest of my life. The skills I learned while I was gone will continue to help me throughout my nursing career and my everyday life. If you have the opportunity to go abroad, I say go right for it. You definitely won’t regret it.


Written by Kelly Pellegrino, University of Maine, Nursing Student