Life in Fairfax: A year to remember

Life in Fairfax: A year to remember

Jihyo Cha, a senior majoring in Global Affairs, just returned from a full year's stay at the Fairfax campus. Having completed the second half of her junior year and the first half of her senior year in Fairfax, she has a lot to tell us. So if you are a curious student or parent, read on.

Help is near: Support from peers and the Mason Korea Coordinator

Life in America was different from anything Jihyo knew. Having grown up in Korea and attended a local high school, spending two semesters in the US seemed like a huge deal. She was both excited and worried about adjusting to her new life. However, her fellow Mason Korea peers and the Mason Korea Coordinator at the Fairfax campus came to her rescue. "My Mason Korea friends and I armed ourselves with tons of information before going to Fairfax. I felt a lot better knowing that I wasn’t going alone. Even those among us who had studied abroad in the states were still worried, just like me. That’s why we leaned on each other more for support. Also, the staff responsible for helping Mason Korea students at the Fairfax campus were really helpful. They shared a lot of helpful information via email and also virtually. Lori Scher, Grace Lee, and Sang Jin Lee came to pick us up from the airport and helped us join an international student orientation before the start of the semester. They kept us informed of campus events and were always available whenever we needed help.”

Jihyo Cha

Reunion with international friends from Mason Korea

Lucky for Jihyo, she had become friends with some of the Fairfax students who had studied abroad at Mason Korea. These friendships proved to be vital support for Jihyo when she was acclimating to life in Fairfax. “I was so happy and relieved to see some of my Fairfax friends whom I had met back in Mason Korea. They made such a difference especially at the Fairfax campus that’s several times bigger than the Korea campus. They too had experienced the challenges of adjusting to a new environment in Korea and were eager to help, just as they had received help when they were in Korea. My English improved a lot by hanging out with them and I naturally got to know other American students too. The tips they gave us were key to settling down quicker.”

Jihyo Cha Jihyo Cha

Broad range of classes helps clarify career and minor decisions

Jihyo was always interested in communication and PR, and after taking various classes, she decided to declare a minor in communication. This in turn helped her decide on her career path. "The main campus has a much broader range of classes to choose from, so I got to take classes in areas I’ve always been interested in. I took major classes as well as courses in communication, which I’ve always been interested in. My interest in communication grew and I ended up declaring a minor in it!” Jihyo also said that the open classroom environment that encourages active participation made her realize what global education is all about. “It was such an enriching experience that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. I would’ve regretted not going.”

Jihyo Cha

To students who will be heading to Fairfax

"Now that I'm back in Korea, I'm realizing just how precious every moment in the states was—to the point where all my previous concerns have been overshadowed. Some of my best memories are experiencing more of America when my friends and I went to DC and New York during breaks or weekends.” To students who may be fretting about studying in Fairfax, like Jihyo did, she says: “Don’t worry. There are many staff and students in Fairfax who are glad to help. There is so much to see and learn, so I hope you enjoy it instead of worrying.”