VIDEO: The Korea-U.S. college connection and VOA’s Student Union

SONGDO, South Korea — What’s it like to leave your home in South Korea and study in the U.S.?

Last May, Chadwick International School in Songdo, South Korea sent its first-ever graduating class of 68 students off to college, with 75 percent heading to schools in the U.S., including the University of California, Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, Kenyon College, Pepperdine University and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

In this video, CI News anchor Aileen Kim and reporter Jasmine Lee caught up with the new alums at a Jan. 12 reunion dinner midway through freshman year. They asked alums what it’s like to attend college, deal with homework, make friends and find your way on an American campus.

“It was more challenging than I expected it to be,” said Richard Lee, 20, who is a freshman at Johns Hopkins. “But in a way, you have more freedom — more freedom to do your stuff.”

Other students mentioned the difficulty of making friends in a new environment, more diversity in race and ethnicity, and the (seemingly global) burden of homework.

According to a May 2016 report by the Migration Policy Institute, China was the top origin country for international students in the United States during the 2014-15 school year, representing 31 percent of international students, followed by India (14 percent), South Korea (7 percent), Saudi Arabia (6 percent), and Canada (3 percent).

However, the education website Inside HigherEd reported in March that nearly four in 10 U.S. universities responding to a survey reported a decline in international student applications, primarily from the Middle East, China and India, with administrators and students citing fears over President Trump’s Jan. 27 travel ban targeting seven Muslim nations and a campaign to address potential fraud in H-1B visas.

The Daily Cal student newspaper also reported in April that the University of California, Berkeley saw applications from international students dip by 1.2 percent, the first such decline in a decade.

ED-USA-promoIf you’re an international student with questions about studying in the U.S., check out “Education Destination: USA,” a special program sponsored by Voice of America’s Student Union on Facebook this Wednesday, May 3 at 10 a.m. ET.

A panel of experts from leading U.S. colleges including the University of Michigan and Stanford University will assemble at the Jack Morton Theater at The George Washington University for a livestreamed discussion including everything from admissions and culture shock to visas and financial aid. Students from Harvard University, Northeastern University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also will share their experiences and help answer questions.

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