A Bold Leap Forward: An American Student’s Journey to Mason Korea

Sherlin Amaya, a sophomore majoring in global affairs, is a dynamic force on campus, deeply engaged in various student events and clubs. However, her path to independence was no ordinary journey—she dared to leave the familiar comforts of her U.S. home to embrace the adventure of attending college in Korea.

Originally from Fairfax, Virginia, the home of George Mason University, Amaya, a Salvadorian American, found initial inspiration from her elder sister, a fellow Mason student, who introduced her to the university. "While I admired my sister and Mason's Fairfax campus, I was looking for a smaller campus for a more intimate experience,” said Amaya. “I felt that it was time to chart my own path. That's when the idea of studying abroad began to take root."

Although initially indifferent to Korea, Amaya learned about Mason’s Korea campus through a friend learning Korean. Intrigued, she began her research on Mason Korea and quickly became captivated. "I took a leap of faith and applied, even with minimal support from my family, as studying abroad seemed unimaginable at the time.”

Since arriving at Mason Korea, Amaya has actively sought opportunities to make a positive impact on the community. Beyond her role in the Patriots Activity Council (PAC), where she regularly engages with the student body, she co-founded and leads the Multicultural Exchange Club (MEC), providing a platform to share her culture. Through MEC, she volunteers at Mason Korea’s English Café, an English conversation program for Incheon citizens affiliated with Mason Korea’s Incheon Citizen Life College (ICLC) Program.

“Working at the English Café has been a highlight of my time at Mason Korea, especially connecting with the young children of the ICLC participants. They are always eager to learn about me and teach me about Korea. Even during stressful weeks, interacting with the children and working with my wonderful assistant and friend, Isabelle, has been a source of joy. Working with Professor Eunmee Lee has been delightful, as she encourages me to work hard and explore new aspirations.”

Amaya's journey in Korea has been transformative, helping her grow in independence and trustworthiness, particularly within her family. “To international students considering Mason Korea, come with an adventurous spirit and a drive to learn. Your voice will be heard, and you will be part of a fantastic community.”

In the upcoming spring, Amaya is set to amplify her impact as she takes on the role of President of Mason Korea's Student Government.