Choosing Mason Korea: A Tale of Two International Students

Entering college is a huge transition for a new high school graduate to embark on, especially when college is on the other side of the world. However, this major location change did not dissuade Ivan Einselen (Economics, ’26) or Julian Suh-jin Rothe (Business Management, ’26) from choosing Mason Korea.

Einselen originally hails from the United States, while Rothe is from Germany, but both students exchanged the comfort of their hometowns for the new and unknown South Korea. These two individuals are part of the growing group of international students directly enrolling in Mason Korea.

When asked about what ultimately swayed their decision, both Einselen and Rothe mentioned Mason Korea’s location.

“Any other affordable school option would have been, at most, a two-hour drive from my home, rather than the twenty-one-hour plane ride it took to come here,” explained Einselen. While Rothe cited that “German universities are very mono-cultural with very few options for international experiences.” He also added that Mason Korea’s mandatory year at the Fairfax campus was another “key factor” when making his decision.

IvanAnother influencing factor was the people in their family. Einselen’s grandmother is a Mason alum, while Rothe’s older sister also goes to Mason Korea.

“My grandmother was born and raised a French citizen until she met my grandfather, a member of the US Air Force, and boldly decided to immigrate to America with him. At the time, my grandmother was living in the Northern Neck of Virginia and there was a stigma with housewives receiving a higher level of education—but that couldn’t stop my grandmother from learning. George Mason gave her the opportunity to pursue further education and I have a lot of respect for the institution for that,” Einselen declared.



However, the two also acknowledge the challenges that come with learning as international students, and language is one of them. Rothe, raised in multicultural families in Germany and Korea, stated tips for new international students: “Don’t just use Google Translate to learn Korean. It's okay to get it wrong. Keep trying to communicate in Korean.”

The two offered words of advice to prospective students considering Mason Korea. “Mason Korea is a great university, not only from an academic standpoint but also from a cultural one,” said Rothe. “The affordable cost of tuition, housing, and general living easily make up for the travel fare. There is a wide range of student clubs you can join. Transportation is very accessible and affordable. The faculty is there to help you and the community is actually quite diverse,” said Einselen.