GoAbroad Interview

Nathan Maloney - International Student Coordinator

Nathan is the International Student Coordinator at Go! Go! Hanguk. Before relocating to Seoul in 2014 to attend a Korean Language school, he had traveled to Korea multiple times. His career has jumped from engineering design to marketing communications to supporting trade shows and events worldwide to working for Go! Go! Hanguk, and he couldn’t be happier.

What inspired you to work for Go! Go! Hanguk?

For me, my first visit to Korea was truly a life-changing experience. The same can be said for many of our participants, many of whom have never been abroad before. I was also familiar with the challenges and struggles that moving to a foreign country can bring. What inspired me was that I would have appreciated a service like Go! Go! Hanguk when I started language school in Korea. I wanted to make living and studying in Korea easier and more accessible as well as give our participants a smooth experience when they resettle here in Korea.

Nathan at Taejongdae in Busan, Korea.

Nathan at Taejongdae in Busan, Korea.

What do you love most Korea?

I really love the food. One of my favorite dishes is dakgalbi (spicy stir-fried chicken with vegetables), but I also enjoy the various soups and stews in Korean cuisine.

Also, traveling in Korea is very convenient, so it is easy to go sightseeing even outside the major cities. There are many trains and buses available all over Korea, and you can experience all forms of geography here from beaches to mountains. Additionally, Korea gives you easy access to travel to other parts of Asia, which many of our students take advantage of when they study.

How do you use your own experience as a foreigner in Korea to help incoming participants prepare for their program?

My own experience definitely helps with answering questions life in Korea as well as studying. The pace of the language programs are quite brisk and can be very challenging for some students, so I try to manage their expectations accordingly. Some participants simply want to know where the good restaurants are or the best places to shop. I also like recommending various places to travel within Korea, since its very easy to hop on a train or bus to see just any part of the country.

What does a typical day of work look like for you?

The majority of my time is spent corresponding with students, answering their questions, and making sure the application process is simple and easy for them. Once they start studying and are in Korea, I continue to support them to ensure they have the best experience possible.

A rainy day at Seoraksan

A rainy day at Seoraksan

How do you ensure participants have all the support they need before, during, and after their time with Go! Go! Hanguk?

There is a lot of behind the scenes research and preparation that takes place to make sure I am well equipped to support participants during every stage. Also, my experience living and studying in Korea contributes a lot to my ability to support participants. I also rely on my co-workers to help me if there is something that I find challenging or need extra assistance with.

What is the most frequent concern incoming participants have? How do you put their concerns to rest?

For a lot of participants, it is their first time away from home, without their family or friends nearby in case they need help. While many participants are concerned over their accommodations or keeping up with the language classes, a lot of other concerns come from managing everyday things like transportation, banking, or what to do if they get sick. I tell participants that I too shared many of their concerns and that it is normal be anxious which bus to take or visiting a pharmacy in Korea. I can address their concerns using my firsthand experience living in Korea in order to support them while they are living here.

Nathan with 2 Go! Go! Hanguk students at the N Seoul Tower Observatory

Nathan with 2 Go! Go! Hanguk students at the N Seoul Tower Observatory

Why do you think traveling abroad is important in the world today?

While our access to information has increased as well as our ability to learn places abroad right from our own home, nothing can compare to experiencing things yourself. You may travel to a destination and it turns out completely different from your expectations or what you have read it online.

Traveling abroad is important because it helps give you other perspectives so you can see the world through a different lens.

What makes Korea a great place for international experience?

Korea’s popularity has skyrocketed thanks to Hallyu (Korean Wave) and the spread of its language. These days, more and more people from all over the world are living and studying in Korea. While you are enjoying the language and culture of Korea, you also have an increased opportunity to experience other cultures and meet people from across the globe. Personally, I have met many friends in Korea that I would not have otherwise been able to meet, let alone communicate with, had I not come to Korea to study Korean.

Nathan enjoying a local park near Seoul

Nathan enjoying a local park near Seoul

What do you enjoy most your job?

I really enjoy making our students’ dreams come true. For many of them, traveling to Korea has been their goal for years and years. It is an honor to help them achieve that goal and make the process as smooth as possible. Others are just beginning the planning stages and often feel overwhelmed. We walk them through the process step-by-step and many students say they could not imagine coming to Korea without our help.