Many, if not all, of the exchange students this semester may have heard or at least met the person who helped them throughout the process of coming to Chung-Ang University. What would we do without Mark Belocura? This post can help you learn more about the person who has and will continue to assist you with your stay here at CAU!
Q: Tell us briefly about yourself.
Hi! My name is Mark Belocura and I am a Business Management student from San Francisco State University in San Francisco, California, USA.
Q: Why did you choose to come to Korea?
Many students from my home university (San Francisco State University) decided to go to Chung-Ang University or South Korea for exchange or study abroad. I have also had many layovers at Incheon International Airport whenever I fly to and from the Philippines. I wondered about why I never considered seeing and experiencing South Korea. After researching a bit, it occurred to me that the best way to do that would be through my home university’s exchange program. I think Korea’s culture, people, and scenery are all beautiful. Korea is one of the few countries where tradition and modernization meets.
Q: Care to recommend any of your favourite foods and places in Seoul, South Korea?
My favorite foods would be soondae (순대), also known as Korean blood sausage, and gopchang (곱창). If you have not heard of it or tried any of these dishes, please do try it soon! I believe it is one of the best Korean delicacies.
I have experienced many places in Korea thus far, but I would say the top 3 places I have visited would be:
- 1) Han River at night; I love walking along the Han River starting from Heukseok and all the way to Banpo.
- 2) Gangchon Rail Park (강촌 레일파크) in Chuncheon (춘천); I went there during the winter, which was really cold. But I do prefer colder weather over warmer weather. It was an interesting experience because you get to ride either a 2-seater or 4-seater bike and pedal through beautiful scenery and themed tunnels.
- 3) Oryukdo (오륙도) in Busan (부산); I went there during the last week of November with a few of my friends. I was surprised by the astonishing view. The water was so blue and the splashing of the waves was very calming to the ear. The sun set was very beautiful too! I noticed that whenever I am near water and nature, I feel calm and at peace.
I would recommend visiting all of these places when here in Korea!
Q: What is the most interesting thing you learned about the Korean culture?
One part of the Korean culture that continues to fascinate me is the people. No matter where you are, someone will always be willing to help you. Even if there is a language barrier, many Koreans will try their best to assist you with whatever you need. I think in America, individuality is more emphasized or it’s the way of life. While being on exchange, I learned about the importance of being independent. However, there are times when you need to trust the people around you to guide you. There is a saying that goes, “there’s strength in numbers”; a collective community.
Q: How did you get this job/position?
I was a Global A worker in the English lounge during the Fall 2018 semester. After our last Global A staff meeting, the advisor before me, Neha Soni, informed us that her position in the OIA as the International Exchange Student Advisor was open. After being interviewed alongside other applicants, I was hired as the new advisor for the Spring 2019 semester.
Q: How has your responsibilities and experiences changed from working in the E-Lounge/Global A vs. now in the OIA?
As a Global A worker in the E-Lounge, the job almost felt like a “hangout” with Korean students. The Global Lounge is a place where Korean CAU students could come to conversate or strengthen their English and French skills. I also spent a lot of time with other exchange students through E-Lounge, which gave me the opportunity to make another set of lifelong friends (some of which also came from my home university). On the other hand, working as a Global B in the Office of International Affairs has more responsibility, including making sure that the students interested in coming to CAU are taken care of. But it is also a great experience being able to talk to university partners, students, and different school departments, working alongside coordinators and doing administrative work.
Q: What is the best and worst part about your position?
I think every advisor has this concern or worry as well, and it is the fact that our help is limited, especially since we are mostly contacting the students through e-mail. The only time we meet them face-to-face is during the dormitory check-in, mandatory orientation, or when they have fully situated themselves here in CAU. One of the best parts about my position is that I get to be in touch with the global community of CAU.
Q: What do you think was your most memorable experience working in the OIA?
Every aspect of the job is memorable for me because of the people I meet and work with every day. I am happy to work with the International Team here in the OIA, the Global Ambassadors (also known as GLAMS), and exchange students who come here to CAU. I find it very exciting to give campus tours and meet current or new partner universities of CAU. Not only do they get to learn more about CAU but they also learn about their respective institutions and countries as well. The work I do in the OIA is something I enjoy.
Q: Is there anything you learned about yourself while being here?
One semester of exchange is too short. If possible, try to go on exchange for a whole year or two semesters. If you think about it, it’s only a once in a lifetime experience to go study abroad. Always try to make the best of everything! 🙂
Q: What will you miss the most about Korea and your experience at Chung-Ang University?
I will miss the college and dorm experience here, because at home, I lived off-campus and there wasn’t as much going on around me. As this is my last semester here at Chung-Ang University and South Korea, I will especially miss everything and everyone. See you all again soon!! 🙂