WASHINGTON, PA (Feb. 27, 2020)—The exchange student experience can be a challenging one, but Nayeong Kim excelled during her experience at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J)—so much so that she wrote the book about it.
“The days I spent at W&J were very precious to me. It was new, sometimes challenging and meaningful…and all could be possible because of my dear friends, warm hearted staff, and considerate professors. So by the time I started to leave the campus, I felt like writing my W&J life,” she said. “And more generally, though living as an Asian in America is not easy, I realized it is a privilege to be an exchange student. Not everyone could have the chance due to many different reasons. So I thought if it’s my privilege, I also have a duty to share it.”
Written in her native Korean, Kim’s book, 널 만나러 왔어, 미국! (I Came to See You America!), begins with her journey to the United States from her home country of South Korea and follows her year at W&J through her last day in America. She used her time abroad to explore the country, traveling as far as the Grand Canyon to round out her American experience, to improve her English speaking skills and to learn more about life in America in general.
The book details her many positive experiences at the College, including making friends, working with faculty and staff members to both in and out of the classroom, and becoming involved in the W&J community. She learned to embrace her inner performer through acting in a W&J theatre production and joined the Office of Community Engagement in volunteer work in the greater Washington area.
Through all her experiences, the supportive atmosphere at W&J made Kim feel like she’d found a second home.
“I’m afraid I cannot explain fully how meaningful the relationships are to me,” she said. “It is true that being a foreigner is lonely, as no one can adapt themselves to a new culture right away, but [my friends and professors] made me feel attached to the place. We shared our thoughts and feelings, we studied and ate our meals together, and we found we are different, but not so different. I’m still in touch with them and recently sent my books with letters to friends in America, Germany and Spain. I still love them so much.”
Kim’s book is available internationally through the online bookstore ‘Aladin US’ and is available at any online store in South Korea.