Worldly travels spark interest of student


photo by Samantha Neely

Samantha Neely

For many of us, traveling the world is a dream. We visualize spending our days eating new foods, meeting new people and immersing ourselves into the culture. Some of us have been lucky enough to spend our vacations doing these things. Yet, for senior Cynthia Dinh, she’s not just going to be visiting a new country for a few days. She will be living in South Korea as a foreign exchange student.

“I am unbelievably excited to go to South Korea but there’s so much work to do before I can even get on my plane and go,” Dinh said. “I’m suppressing all my excitement until I’m close to my departure date.”

Cynthia, also known as Cindy, decided to become a foreign exchange student when she realized that every single part of the world had a different way of life that she wanted to explore. From there, she started the extensive process through the Rotary Youth Exchange program. The process requires an informational meeting, an at home interview and applications that comes in two different parts. After you complete these steps, you have to wait until you get accepted. After a two-week wait, Dinh got accepted and attended a country reveal.

“They had me make a top five list,” Dinh said. “My list consisted of South Korea, Belgium, Japan, Italy and France.”

Dinh was fortunate enough to receive her first choice for a host country. She was especially ecstatic after she researched the culture and customs. The first thing she will do when she lands in South Korea is try the food.

“I’ve heard such great things about Korean food, so I’m super excited to try it,” Dinh said.

While Cindy is excited to this new chapter of her life, it has made her realize how much she will miss her home here in America. She is currently taking 10 classes to be able to graduate early, so she is sad about her high school career ending so soon.

“I’ll miss UHS as what it is to me, my high school,” Dinh said. “After I come back, I’ll be preparing for college, so even the small things like walking to class with my friends are things I’ll miss.”

Nevertheless, her main priority right now is being able to go to South Korea. She is still in the process of trying to find one more host family. Once she does that, she will be leaving for South Korea in August.

“I think doing this will make me a more understanding person of the world around me,” Dinh said.

Cindy has been practicing on her Korean and doing research to prepare for when she leaves. She could not be more excited to spending time in South Korea and she is beyond grateful for this experience. Yet, she already knows the first she will do once she gets back to America.

“I am probably going to eat,” Dinh said. “I can only imagine how much I’ll miss American food.”