Bliss Green-Morehead ’15 of Charlotte, North Carolina, is double-majoring in Chinese and German Language and Literature and pursuing a minor in Korean. In the summer of 2014, Green-Morehead studied in Seoul in the Republic of Korea (South Korea), as a Phillips Ambassador, a signature study abroad program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Phillips Ambassadors program was established in 2006 with a generous gift from UNC alumnus Earl N. “Phil” Phillips Jr. of Chapel Hill, a business executive and former U.S. ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean. In addition to English, Green-Morehead speaks Chinese, German and Korean.
Where did your Phillips Ambassador scholarship take you? What was your focus while there?
This past summer I went to Seoul, South Korea, to participate in Seoul National University’s Korean Language and Culture Program. This was a 10-week program that focused on Korean language learning.
What unique perspectives do you feel you have been able to bring to your classrooms in Chapel Hill as a result of your Phillips Ambassador experience?
After being a Phillips Ambassador in South Korea, I feel so much closer to South Korea than I was before. After going abroad I no longer feel that South Korea is just a place that I have taken classes or read about, and my experiences have given me a deeper connection to the country.
Tell us about a professor who has motivated or helped you.
Before I went to Korea, my Korean teacher Jackie Eunjung Relyea helped me out considerably. She connected me with a UNC student who graduated from SNU and could help me get around in the summer. Jee-hae helped me tremendously when I was in Seoul learning how to navigate the city. I am so thankful that my teacher decided to take the time to help me out and find connections in Seoul.
What memory stands out from your Phillips Ambassador experience?
One of my favorite memories of being in South Korea is eating a Turkish dinner at one of my classmate’s apartments. While I was attending the Korean language program at SNU, I had classmates from all over the world: Turkey, China, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany, India, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Toward the end of the program, my classmate Enise invited all of the women in our class over to her apartment for a Turkish dinner. I had the best time eating and playing games with my classmates. It felt like such a special experience to connect with people from all over the world, and one of the coolest parts of the experience was that we all used Korean to communicate with each other.
What challenges did you find to adjusting to life in a new country?
It was a challenge trying to find a routine for myself in South Korea. I love studying in libraries, but when I was in Seoul, I lived off campus. This meant trying to find good places to study like quiet cafes. This challenge of finding places to study turned into an adventure for me as I explored the many different coffee shops in my area. Seoul is home to some of the most creative and eclectic coffee shops.
Why should students consider becoming a Phillips Ambassador?
The Phillips Ambassadors program allows students the chance to connect with other students who are also interested in Asia. The program has allowed me to make wonderful friends who are passionate about language and culture study like I am.
What advice would you offer a student who is considering studying abroad?
One of the most rewarding things a study abroad student can do is travel around their host country. You may be studying in one city, but make sure that you explore different places in your host country. All of your host country is not like the city you are studying in, so it is important to travel so that you may broaden perceptions about the country you are visiting.
Before I went to South Korea last summer, my friend told me to visit his mom who works as a teacher in Daegu. I am so glad that I decided to go to Daegu because I not only got to see the beautiful mountains and scenery, but I also got to meet up with wonderful people like my friend’s mom and a Phillips Ambassador from a previous year who was teaching English in Daegu. Traveling while abroad is a great way to connect with people and explore.
What are you currently reading?
I am currently studying for finals, so I’m not reading anything for pleasure at the moment. However, when I do have time I like to listen to Game of Thrones on Audible. I started listening to the Game of Thrones books while I was in South Korea, so that I would have something to make time more enjoyable while traveling. I am currently on book two of the series, A Clash of Kings.
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