Four years have never gone by so fast. For most students, college means football games on the weekend, “all-nighters” in the library, and desperately trying to wake up on time for those dreadful 8 a.m. classes. For Chase, college was a little different. While his first two years started off much like those of his peers, a decision made at the end of his sophomore year would change his life forever.
Chase, a senior at the University of Oregon, studies Economics, and General Social Science. He spent his childhood in Bellingham, Washington, and after graduation, he decided to attend the University of Oregon.
Chase, born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, wanted to escape. After completing his first two years at the University of Oregon, he decided it was time for a change. He spent weeks researching the university’s numerous study-abroad programs, until finally he made his decision. He would spend the fall of his junior year studying at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.
“I was really surprised when Chase told me he planned to study abroad in South Korea,” said Ben, Chase’s roommate. “He had talked about studying abroad a lot, and I knew he wanted to get away, but I figured he would have picked somewhere easier like Italy or Spain.”
For Chase, living in Seoul quickly became everything he had hoped it would be. Despite being terrified in the beginning, his uncertainty quickly grew into uncontainable excitement. The bustling metropolis provided entertainment and adventures for Chase and his roommate Jeff.
“Seoul is the fourth largest city in the world, it is absolutely nothing like Eugene.” Said Jeff, Chase’s roommate while he was in South Korea. “Living in a country that speaks a completely different language was difficult but it was the culture shock we were looking for. Our motto most days in Seoul was, ‘Stay Alive’”.
As his semester in Seoul neared an end, Chase became restless; after everything he had experienced in his three months studying abroad, he decided he wanted to see more. Shortly after his realization Chase found a way to extend the trip.
With a small budget, and a rough idea of where he wanted to go, Chase spent the next three months traveling and experiencing diverse cultures in 11 countries. Despite living on a budget and often times being alone in countries whose language he did not speak, Chase managed to travel from Korea to Japan, then to Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, and finally the Philippines.
“I am so glad I chose to study abroad while I was at the University of Oregon. The experiences I had in Asia changed my life forever.” Said Chase, “Deciding to travel on my own was the best decision of my life. When you are alone in a foreign country, you learn a lot about yourself, you are forced to be outside your comfort zone, every second of every day.”
Chase’s experiences in Asia were so life-changing that he has since changed his major, as well as the direction of his life. Before he began the trip, Chase tried his hand in the Business School, and even looked into education. However, after his trip he found his true calling and interest, international relations. Chase now hopes to work for an embassy in a foreign country, and eventually as an American Ambassador.
As he finishes up his last few credits at the University of Oregon, Chase continues to work within his passion.The university’s peer mentorship program allows Chase to continue experiencing diverse cultures, by meeting students from around the world. The peer mentorship program is one way the UO seeks to diversify the university as a whole.
The University of Oregon offers numerous opportunities for students to challenge what they are comfortable with. Whether that means studying abroad and diving into a foreign culture, or by helping an international student adapt to our foreign culture here in Eugene. Regardless of what you decide, the UO hopes and encourages all students to reach out and experience everything this great University has to offer.