El tiempo que Jeremiah vivió en Corea del Sur, experimentó crecimiento personal y responsabilidades, mientras navegaba un nuevo idioma. (Foto: Cortesía/Jeremiah Carrera)

South Korea had always been a place that Jeremiah Carrera admired as a result of his ritual watching k-dramas which began when he was eight. He was presented with the opportunity to study abroad in Seoul, South Korea and take classes at Yonsei University through a study abroad program partnered with Central High School, CIEE (Council on International Educational Exchange).

Before Jeremiah filled out his application, he was reluctant to submit it as his brain began to flood with thousands of possibilities that would render him to stay home. What if his Mama (Grandma) got sick? Or his dog Kamy passed away?” These invasive and stressful possibilities masked the true reason for his hesitation, fear.

This would be the first time Jeremiah would live independently on his own. At that moment, he lacked the skills to survive and depend on himself. He couldn’t speak Korean, so how would he survive?

(Foto: Cortesía/Jeremiah Carrera)

Opening up his admissions letter a wave of fear came crashing down on him, he was accepted. Though he should have been proud of his accomplishment, he knew this would be the hardest decision he ever made. His mind stayed in a stalemate until his mother sat him down and encouraged him to pursue South Korea. She told him, «You were chosen and given a scholarship for a reason, and you cannot miss this opportunity.» He was shocked as his beacon of comfort gave him permission to leave her side.

Stepping off the plane, paralyzed with anxiety, Jeremiah’s feet weighed down as he began to maneuver towards the exit. Moving slower and feeling a pull towards the plane his brain longed for the comforts of home. But at that moment he found himself trying to swim in an ocean of isolation and fear. After surviving the luggage track, Jeremiah walked out of the airport to the bright lights of Incheon, South Korea. He was greeted with a warm convenience store kimbap and some banana milk as a prize for his travels. Almost 7 thousand miles from home, Seoul would be his new home for the next few weeks.

(Foto: Cortesía/Jeremiah Carrera)

In Jeremiah’s limited time living in South Korea, he experienced the most personal growth compared to his sixteen years of prior existence. The simple tasks of taking the train by himself, being responsible for all of his meals, completing his homework, all while navigating a new language equipped him with a new-found independence. He learned to function without the help of his parents.

Studying abroad last summer was the most challenging decision he made, but ultimately, he chose to seek discomfort. Immersing himself into a foreign environment allowed him to reflect and make changes in order to live on his own, without the comforts of his parents.

If Jeremiah hadn’t made the leap of faith to step out of his personal bubble, he wouldn’t have gained the vital attributes to become an adult, which has now prepared him to face the challenges of college.

Immersing himself in South Korean culture planted a seed in him that could only sprout upon his arrival at Underwood, a branch campus of Yonsei University.  This experience made him decide he had to study at Underwood International Campus in the fall of 2023.

(Foto: Cortesía/Jeremiah Carrera)

Stepping onto the Yonsei Sinchon campus for the first time, Jeremiah knew the university would be his future. After attending culture and language classes at Yonsei, the university became a haven of familiarity in a foreign country. He grew attached to the classrooms, cafeteria food, and campus, which enticed him to apply to Underwood. Central High School is very diverse, similar to UIC.  Jeremiah valued being in an environment of sharing cultures and experiences with students, which is a core aspect to UIC as an international school.

Underwood International College’s English-based degree programs are highly selective four-year undergraduate programs and provide an intimate and elite setting within the larger institution of Yonsei University.  At Underwood, Jeremiah plans to involve himself in the community by becoming a student ambassador.

He became a YouTuber.

Uploading his vlog travels of South Korea last summer. Now Jeremiah wants to help with the content of the UIC channel as well. He loves watching their videos to learn more about the school and hopes to contribute to the media team. Aside from his potential involvement in UIC’s campus, Jeremiah also involved himself in many Advanced Placement and Honors classes to prepare for the academic rigor ahead.

His career goals of becoming a dermatologist are a perfect fit for UIC. It is the perfect place to learn more about skincare. By participating in research programs for skin microbiomes at the University of Pennsylvania, Jeremiah deepened his interest and knowledge for skin biology.

Jeremiah’s admiration for South Korea stems from his goal of bringing more Korean skincare to America to help teens struggling with their skin.

“After battling acne as a teen, which lowered my self-esteem, using imported Korean skincare was the key to gaining my confidence” he said.

Jeremiah plans to learn more about Korean skincare techniques at Underwood during his independent study in his senior year in the Life Science and Biotechnology major. He believes he will thrive at Underwood College, by continuing to learn in his previous safe haven.


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