International exchange student finds success at BHSU

Author: BHSU Communications/Friday, May 15, 2015/Categories: 2015








           Black Hills State University student Hwayoung Choi, an international exchange student from South Korea, helps lead an International Student Organization (ISO) meeting on campus. Hwayoung is studying English education with the plans to eventually return to South Korea to teach.  



Black Hills State University student Hwayoung Choi aspires to teach others.

Hwayoung, an international student from South Korea, wants to teach English, and to become the best teacher she can be means traveling overseas to improve her English and build confidence in the classroom.

Hwayoung is from South Jeolla, or Jeollanam-do, a province in the southwest part of South Korea. While studying in South Korea, Hwayoung said she wanted to immerse herself in the English culture in order to better educate her future English students.

BHSU parnters with a number of universities around the world, including South Korea, and has hosted hundreds of students from those partner schools.

Hwayoung is studying in the Academic English Program (AEP) at BHSU, a program that helps international students with their English and transition into their English-speaking and writing classes on campus. AEP classes focus on writing, reading, speaking and listening in English and are a requirement of all international exchange students at BHSU before they pursue courses in their major.

Hwayoung said the AEP courses not only have helped her excel in her English, but gain confidence in entering the classrooms at BHSU this fall.

Hwayoung chose BHSU because of its picturesque location in the United States, as well as the region&rsquos exceptional English pronunciation. Hwayoung had a professor in South Korea that recommended she study abroad at a university in the Midwest if she wanted to advance her English speaking skills.

"The pronunciation of the English language is very nice," Hwayoung said. "It&rsquos very clear and I can easily understand it."

Spearfish&rsquos climate and beautiful landscape are also reasons Hwayoung chose to study at BHSU. Hwayoung enjoys outdoor recreation with her classmates.

Like many international students, Hwayoung noted the interactive classroom environment.

"In class, I can join in freely. In a Korean university it&rsquos hard to raise my hand and ask a question," Hwayoung said. "Here I can communicate with other students and professors. If I have a question or want to state my opinion, I can."

The ability to engage in discussions in the classroom has also helped her improve her English and take part in more campus activities.

Hwayoung is actively involved in the International Student Organization (ISO), a University student organization that allows international students and domestic students to interact both on campus and in the Spearfish community. ISO has also provided an avenue for Hwayoung to make new friends, and try new activities, including skateboarding.

"Skateboarding is not common in Korea," she said. "There, we say it&rsquos only for guys, but here there are no limits."

Hwayoung also takes advantage of the outdoors, playing badminton, basketball and soccer with her fellow BHSU students.

"I&rsquom just really happy with BHSU and Spearfish," Hwayoung said. "It&rsquos such a great experience."

For more information on BHSU&rsquos International Studies Program, visit

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