During her senior year of high school, Gaines attended a Korean-speaking school for nine months. Immersion into a second language, Alexia explains, “Was absolutely invaluable. I was also able to take the TOPIK, a South Korean proficiency test, which gave me a clear understanding of my language abilities.”
Both shocked and proud of receiving such a prestigious and nationally competitive scholarship, Alexia’s determination to study abroad in Korea has finally paid off. This experience will enrich her dream to incorporate her love for languages with the technical knowledge of electrical engineering in order to pursue a career in the security industry and government.
Alexia hopes to one day live abroad, and she believes this experience will strengthen her comprehension of cross-cultural communication and globalization. Alexia goes on to say, “Study abroad experiences broaden your global perspective and what it means to be a global citizen- a person who doesn’t forget their nationality but is able to work and live in another person’s culture.”
To prospective study abroad students, Alexia encourages those who may be apprehensive or doubtful, “Embrace a study abroad opportunity as a continual learning process. Be willing to fail and make mistakes. It’s part of the journey!”
Aiding in Alexia’s application process for the nationally competitive Boren Scholarship were Ms. Cara Pickett, Assistant Director for UC’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, and Mr. Ryan Meyer, Assistant Director for UC’s International Program.