Alessia Cerma, ACT’s first full-year exchange student in South Korea
Alessia Cerma, a Computer Science major at ACT, is the first student to study abroad for a full academic year at Chonnam National University (CNU) in South Korea since the partnership with ACT started in 2018. She chose to be an exchange student at CNU "because I was interested in the Asian culture and Korea was a great opportunity in academic and personal terms.” CNU is a research-oriented university that hosts 500 international exchange students each year and sends some 600 CNU students to various universities around the world.
Even though she believed studying at an Asian university would be challenging, on the contrary, she found it to be normal for her. She found that the international community at CNU is big, with 2,000 international students from 75 different countries out of the 35,000 students attending CNU. She remarks that “everyone helps each other out”. As she is the first ACT student studying in Korea for a full year, she feels proud and excited to share her experience with us and her friends back home.
Korea has a rich culture and she assures us that “you will never get bored of it. The architecture, the cuisine, and even the way you greet are going to be different. However, that’s what makes it exciting, and experiencing all these changes with your new friends makes it even better”.
I was interested in the Asian culture and Korea was a great opportunity in academic and personal terms.
She understands that for some people it could be hard to choose to go to a country so far away. This may even seem more difficult when you don’t speak the language and you don’t know the culture, being totally different than anything you’ve previously experienced. Alessia is sure that “if you want to open a door full of opportunities including making friends from all over the world, traveling, being part of the community, exploring new places, trying new things and different kinds of food, then I would say that Korea is the right door to knock on.”
Alessia is very happy that she had the opportunity to knock on this door and study for a whole in South Korea. “Honestly, by far it has exceeded my expectations'' she says, concluding our communication that it has been one of the greatest experiences of her life “and I will cherish the memories I made here forever.”
By Thanassis Makris