Martz: ‘Study abroad is a once in a lifetime experience’

Contributed Photo
Fawn Martz (left) posing with Sophie Sok (right) from France, both of whom are in the study abroad program.
Martz is satisfied to study abroad

By Holly Grimm
Contributed Writer/Spectator

An Edinboro University student got the chance of a lifetime when she earned multiple scholarships to study abroad in Seoul, Korea, after having given up hope of ever getting the chance. 

Edinboro junior Fawn Martz had always dreamed of studying abroad. Growing up she always wanted to travel around the world. After attending a study abroad seminar, she realized there might be a way after all. 

“I was not only able to use my financial aid to go on the trip, but I also received a scholarship from Pa. and my school in Korea,” said Martz. “I only had to pay for my plane ticket.”

When Martz is not out abroad, she is involved in a lot of organizations on campus.

“I am in the Honors Program, I’m a residence hall assistant and I’m a member of the graphic design club, as well as a few others,” Martz said. “I hold leadership positions in a few of those clubs so when I was picked to receive these scholarships, I was honored. It made my dream a reality.”

When asked why she chose Korea, Martz said, “I was looking for a school in a non-English speaking country, but one where I didn’t have to be fluent in the language. Plus, the Asian culture has always interested me.”

As you can imagine, moving to a new country where you do not know anyone, not even the native language, would be tough. Martz says the biggest struggle is the social aspect and not being able to connect with others due to the language barrier.

“They’re afraid to speak English and I don’t know enough Korean to start a conversation, let alone finish it. That definitely makes it hard sometimes,” Martz said.

Being almost 7,000 miles away from home, Martz said there is definitely some culture shock. 

“Every girl here wears makeup all the time and always looks their best,” Martz said. “The guys also wear makeup so that was weird for me. When walking around the campus and even just the city of Seoul it’s like stepping into a fashion magazine. It’s definitely a lot different than Edinboro.”

One would think that getting all the paperwork ready to go to a foreign country would be a long, painful process. But surprisingly, it was  relatively simple.

“It was very time consuming and took me around 10 or 11 months from start to finish. I had people helping me through the whole process so that helped a lot too. I also made the deal with my parents that if I completed all the paperwork, they would let me go, so it was worth it,” Martz said.

Being able to study abroad is a once in a lifetime experience, one that Martz says she will never forget. 

“This whole experience has changed me for the better. I am no longer afraid to travel by myself,” said Martz. “I talk to anyone and everyone I can. I want to make as many friends as possible while I am here. I’m learning to live with no regrets, and that is something I will continue to do even once I am back in Edinboro.”

Holly Grimm is contributing writer for The Spectator. She can be reached by lifestyles.spectator@gmail.com