Before coming abroad, one must have many questions about CAU, but do you ever wonder who sits behind the screen, answering all your questions? It is the International Exchange Student Advisor Neha Soni! Let’s get to know Neha and the important role she plays at the Office of International Affairs.
Q: CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF?
My name is Neha Soni and I am a Global Management student from Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada.
Q: WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN CHOOSING TO COME TO KOREA?
I have always had an interest in traveling and living abroad. Although I’ve always really wanted to visit Europe on vacation I didn’t have the finances to actually live and study there for an extended period of time. I also really wanted to come to Asia. Since it is much more affordable, I thought it would be best to go to an Asian country. After looking at all the options for schools in Asia I felt that CAU was a perfect fit for my major as a Business student, as well as for my lifestyle. The facilities in the country are very high-tech, and it is comfortable to live here at a reasonable price. The quality and pricing of the transportation system in this country is unbeatable. There is also a lot that you can do entertainment wise. I knew I would have fun here.
Q: SINCE BEING IN KOREA, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE EXPERIENCE SO FAR?
All the times that I saw BTS were the most memorable moments for me. Their music really helped me in many ways, and I’m thankful that I got to see them perform live. I went to the final concert of the Wings Tour in Seoul. I also got to see them at the Seoul Music Awards. Recently during their ‘Love Yourself: Tear’ comeback promotion, I got to see them perform at Inkigayo. I hope I will be able to see them perform live again.
Q: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES TO VISIT IN SEOUL?
There are different places I like to go to in Seoul depending on my mood or what I am looking for. For example, if I want to relax and enjoy some quiet time I will go to Insadong for a traditional Korean meal. If I want to go shopping or hang out with friends I will usually go to Hongdae. If I’m craving international foods or missing foods from back home, I will make my way to Itaewon to indulge in a variety of dishes. I also enjoy visiting the BT21 cafe in the Line Friends store in Itaewon.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT CAU?
I love the campus a lot. I never get tired of complimenting it. The campus is huge and there are lots of quiet and green places where I can spend my time. Then, if I’m in the mood for city-life, I can take a short walk to the front or back gate. The location is great too because it’s near the center of Seoul, so it makes it easy to travel around the city.
Q: WHAT IS ONE UNFORGETTABLE MOMENT FROM CAU?
It is currently CAU’s centennial year, meaning CAU turns 100 years old this year. This year’s Spring Festival was really grand due to this. Artists like Sunmi, BlackPink, Psy, Epik High, and many others came to perform at the festival. Despite the rainy weather, it was a great experience.
Q: HOW DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE STUDENT ADVISOR POSITION?
Last semester, I worked as a Global A at the Office of International Affairs. The last advisor recommended me to the other office staff.
Q: WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WORK FOR THE OIA?
Originally when I came as an exchange student last semester, I applied for the global lounge scholarship where you talk to local students and help them improve their English skills. Working at the OIA was my second option, but in the end I was selected to work at the OIA. I am glad I ended up working at the OIA!
Q: WHAT DO YOU DO AT THE OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS?
The most obvious would be that I communicate with past, current, and incoming exchange students, as well as the partner university coordinators. I help collect and organize the information and documents for the students, as well as assist the students with inquiries they have throughout the semester. I also get to leave the office to go on campus tours with partners and students that visit CAU!
Q: WHAT IS THE BEST PART ABOUT YOUR POSITION?
I enjoy working alongside the staff at the office. Everyone is really nice and it makes working at the OIA a much more enjoyable experience. The main reason why I decided to work at the office next semester was because of the staff.
Q: ARE THERE ANY DOWNSIDES ABOUT WORKING AS THE INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE STUDENT ADVISOR?
As the advisor, I really want to help every student as best as I can, but sometimes there will be too many things going on and the quality of help I can offer is not so great.
Q: WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE WHILE WORKING AT THE OIA?
Interacting with students and staff from all over the world has been a wonderful learning opportunity. Each time I meet a partner during a campus tour or interact with an exchange student I learn new things about the countries they are from. Being in this position really adds to my knowledge, not just of Korea, but of many different countries around the world.
Q: HAS THIS POSITION IMPACTED YOU IN ANY WAY? IF SO, IN WHAT WAY, AND HOW?
Before obtaining this position I had always been very shy about taking on a leadership role. This position has really helped me to break out of my shell and helped me see all that I am capable of accomplishing. I feel that I have become much more confident, responsible, and organized.
Q: WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO TELL FUTURE INCOMING STUDENTS ABOUT CAU?
Attending CAU will definitely become one of your best memories! If you come with an open mind and you are ready to learn and explore, CAU will be a great experience. Also, get ready to work those legs. You will be climbing a lot of stairs around campus.
Q: WHAT WILL YOU MISS THE MOST ONCE THIS SEMESTER IS OVER?
I’ll miss all the friends I met this semester and last semester who will be returning back home at the end of June. They really made this semester a worthwhile experience and I made a lot of great memories with them. We come from different places around the world so it’ll be much harder to meet, but I hope to stay in contact with them. It would be cool if we were able to plan a reunion sometime in the future!