Journal 1


Ahn nyeong ha seh yo! That’s how to say “Hello” in Korean! My name is Ariella! I’m a fun-loving, adventurous girl from Central Illinois. I am studying at a university in Seoul, Korea for the summer. I would like share details and stories about my life while I am here with you. I’m excited to explore Korea together!

Journal 1:

Hi! My name is Ariella Cohen. I was born in Las Cruces, New Mexico on February 15. I am 23 years old. My family heritage is Jewish-Italian, and some people can recognize that from my brown eyes and hair. My father’s name is Jerry, my mother’s name is Carol and I have two younger sisters.   Something interesting  about my sisters and I is that we all have names that start with the letter “A”. My middle sister is named Arianne and she is 19 years old. My youngest sister is named Abby and she is 14 years old.  Usually, my parents mix all of our names up! I do not have any pets, but I would like to adopt a brown toy poodle after I return to America. Do you have pets? What do you think about poodles?

I grew up in New Mexico until we moved to Illinois when I was 12 years old. I remember that I loved living in New Mexico. The warm weather, the dry heat and the scenic mountains and sunsets are some of the beautiful memories that I will always carry with me. Illinois has a very different landscape than the sand and cacti that are in New Mexico. Illinois is green in the summer and spring, but has very cold winters. Does that sound like weather in New York City? Or is it more similar to Arizona?  I wouldn’t say that I have adjusted well to the cold weather, even though I have been living in Illinois for the past 11 years.

I was homeschooled until 6th grade. After that, I went to a private Christian school in my town. I attended the same school for both middle school and high school and eventually graduated! I loved to perform in musicals and plays while I was in school.

After I graduated, I attended a community college for three years where I studied theatre. I also had a passion for languages and studied Japanese, Chinese and Korean.  I transferred to the University of Illinois and decided to change my major to socio-cultural and linguistic Anthropology. Doesn’t that sound complicated? What it really means is that I study languages and cultures around the world, including the United States!  College life is really great because I love to learn and I enjoy meeting new people.  I think going to college is one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Do you think you will go to college?

I am studying most of the time, but when I have free time I love to do many different things.  Although it is no longer my major, one of my favorite hobbies is acting! One of my favorite musicals I performed in was “Beauty and the Beast”.  I also enjoy singing, reading, dancing, traveling, trying different foods, cooking, baking and learning about new cultures and languages.

The best thing I bake are chocolate chip cookies. All of my friends beg me to make them. I also love cooking soups and cream pastas.  I also have fun playing video games with my sisters in my spare time. Two of the games we like to play are Just Dance and Mario Karts.

One of the other things I do in my free time is meet with different international students and do a language exchange. This means we meet together and speak one language, like English, for one hour and then speak another language, such as Korean, for the other hour. It helps the international students learn about American culture and also helps them feel more comfortable with speaking English. [A1]

South Korea is one of my favorite countries because I love their culture and language. Three years ago, I traveled to South Korea to visit my friend who lived there. It was probably one of the greatest experiences of my life. I got the opportunity to learn the language, eat many different foods and soak in all of the great culture! Ever since I visited Korea, my dream was to go back as an exchange student so I could live there and study the language and culture.  I am happy to be able to say that one of my dreams came true!

Since studying in Korea was one of my goals, I made a plan so that I could reach this goal.  First, I applied to the University of Illinois because I knew they had a great study abroad program. I also studied very hard and kept good grades. Throughout the process, I kept a positive attitude and believed that I would be able to get into the study abroad program. This outlook helped motivate me to work very hard on my essays and studying[A2] .

I received a Gilman International Scholarship to study in Seoul, South Korea. The Gilman International Scholarship Program helps students like me to study abroad and achieve our goals of living and learning in another country. I submitted an application and received a scholarship to pay for the cost of traveling to, living in and going to school in South Korea. Also, through the Gilman Scholarship I am able to talk to you, and have you follow my journey with Reach the World!

I was so excited when the university in Korea and the Gilman Scholarship program accepted me! I am thankful every day for this experience! I believe if you have a dream and something you are passionate about, you should never give up! My experience shows that with hard work you can succeed!

 [A1]Very cool! This could be a great idea for students to try!


 [A2]Great motivational an “mentoring” commentary!


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