Hello! My name is Jaeyun Song. I am from Seoul, the capital of the Republic of Korea. I have finished my freshman year at UT and am taking a Dynamics Maymester class in Toulouse, France and Barcelona, Spain. I am in the class of 2022, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. I plan to get an undergraduate degree at UT and keep on studying in the graduate school in the field of mechanical engineering. My goal is to start up my own company regarding future technologies.
I chose to participate in the Passport to UT program to get used to the university, U.S., and especially Texan culture. As I was the first kid in my whole family to study abroad, I had no information on how the U.S. social system and culture work. Also, I didn’t want to get lost in the middle of campus surrounded by forests of buildings. I thought this program would give me a nice start as a longhorn freshman.
Attending Passport to UT gave my freshman year a great boost. I was able to make friends and depend on them whenever I was going through hard times. Everyone was so kind and friendly; they were willing to help me in various ways and took me to several places that I did not know. We are still in contact with each other and I am expecting to visit two different countries, China and New Zealand, where two friends from the program are willing to provide me a tour of their home cities.
During the program, I learned where to go for specific cases. The international office was not the only place to visit for help. I just visited the SSB (Student Services Building) for my medical test for Maymester medical clearance. The program taught me the perfect places for any situation I might meet. The staff was willing to help even after the end of the program and did not mind me asking for help. It was truly amazing support.
Finally, I was able to test my English ability. Growing up as a Seoul-born, raised, and educated student, I had very limited access to English conversation in a 100% English using environment. This program was the best fit for me as I was able to examine my English comprehension ability without any tension. There, I found out that I was doing better than I expected, and it gave a huge boost to my self-esteem.
I had a lot of concerns before coming to the U.S. and Texas, not only educational concerns, but also cultural concerns. Quite a large portion of the news related to U.S. was about the conflict between races. I was really concerned about those racist movements. However, I haven’t yet experienced any kind of racist actions in Texas. Especially at UT, every student I’ve met is totally against racial discrimination. For those who are concerned with this affecting your time at UT, you don’t need to worry. Educational concerns turned out to bigger than the racial ones. As a Korean male, I had an obligation to do 18 months of military service, so I was a freshman one and a half years later than most students. I’m trying to finish all the required courses as soon as possible. This is still an issue and I am trying to finish my studies before the year of 2022. I also had no one in my family who studied abroad, so I was not able to get much advice from them. Luckily, my new friends and acquaintances here were willing to help me get used to new culture, American food, and so on.
The most exciting thing about coming to the U.S. was studying abroad for the first time. I still can’t believe that I’m here, studying at UT Austin, majoring mechanical engineering. It came to me so fast that I still feel like I’m living in the dream.
I’ve learned a lot about Austin. Not only is it the capital of Texas, but also a rising tech city with a base of music culture. I haven’t yet been to ACL (Austin City Limits) or other festivals, but I am looking forward to participating during the next semester or so. I learned Texans have a lot of pride in their state. The Texas motto is “Everything is bigger in Texas.” But it was a new experience that Austin has its own catchphrase: “Keep Austin Weird.” I started feeling the confidence and greatness of being a longhorn student. I’ve also been enjoying the U.S. culture of no one paying attention to what I do as long as I stay within the boundaries of law. It has given me much more personal freedom than I experienced when I was back in Korea.
A few more fun facts about me to finish up: I want to start my own company which related to technologies of the future. After my Maymester program ends, I hope to travel to China and New Zealand with my mom. I am really looking forward to it. Finally, it’s my wish that the Passport to UT students of 2019 are introduced to UT so well that they get through the semester without any hardships!
Passport to UT is an optional, fun, and informative week-long orientation exclusively for international students. The deadline for applications is July 15, 2019. Find out more here.