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[KF Mailbox] Benefits of the KF Fellowship for Korean Language Training

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Benefits of the KF Fellowship for Korean Language Training


Khande-Jae Fisher
Stanford University graduate with a BS in Materials Science and Engineering


When I was selected as a recipient of the KF Fellowship for Korean Language Training (KLT) for 2022, I felt both honored and joyful; I knew that the KF had been doing a great part in promoting Korean studies, and strengthening cultural exchange and cooperation. The fellowship was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that would enable me to focus on studying Korean language and culture. I applied for the fellowship after graduating from Stanford, where I minored in East Asian studies, having discovered it while searching for ways to gain expertise in areas related to my minor subject. I was overjoyed to earn the fellowship; despite having studied the modern history, literature, architecture, and soft power of Korea as a collegian, I had never travelled to the country. The fellowship would take me there for the first time.

For this first visit to Korea, I was both excited and worried about the new challenges I would encounter. I was concerned about whether I could effectively utilize the fellowship. Back then, I had studied Korean for only about a year, and before leaving for Korea, I threw myself further into Korean language studies to ensure that I could quickly adapt to life in the country. While preparing for my visit, the KF assissted me thoroughly. Support was provided for every step of the way from obtaining a visa to document preparation and dormitory admission.

As a native of Jamaica who attended a US university from 2018 to 2022, I was well aware of the difficulties that came with studying in a new environment. While in Korea on the fellowship, I proceeded to study with the same mindset I had had at the time of entering university. Over the course of four months, I was able to improve my command of Korean remarkably, living and studying together with fellow students of diverse nationalities, all of whom shared a keen interest in Korea. Thanks to the KF, I could also visit several cities in Korea and had a wonderful time appreciating traditional architecture, artifacts, and sceneries firsthand. As an undergrad, I learned about Korea’s modern history, and being able to study Korea’s ancient history while in the country was an extremely meaningful experience. I felt that my understanding of Korea deepened and widened by being able to travel there.

Of all the benefits received from the KF Fellowship, the most memorable are the people I’ve met through it. Being able to communicate through a common language with people from several countries, I came to realize that we could better understand each other if we opened our hearts and respected one another.

As my Korean language skills improved thanks to the fellowship program, I was able to have multiple chances at language exchange, and adapt well to life in Korea. Now, I think of Seoul as my second home, and I am eager to continue learning more about Korea each day. Looking back upon the time I have spent in Korea, I feel motivated to improve my Korean fluency in every way possible. I believe that the rich experiences gained through the KF Fellowship will greatly contribute to building my future career. I will continue to do research in the Korean studies field. Thank you.