MARCH 2019: In the Zone with Jungyeon Sohn

Get to know Jungyeon Sohn from South Korea, a new smiling face at the IELP who has big plans after she improves her English.


NAME: Jungyeon Sohn

HOMETOWN: Seoul, South Korea

PROGRAM: IELP, 1 session


IELP: Tell me about the time you first arrived in the United States. What was the experience like?


JUNGYEON: I got married two years ago in Seoul, but my husband is Korean-American. He’s a dentist at UPenn, so we were a long distance couple for a while. When I first moved here last August, I couldn’t make phone calls or buy something because I didn't speak English. Then I enrolled in an English academy, and there I met some of my best friends from Brazil and Thailand.


IELP: How has the IELP helped you improve your English?


JUNGYEON: After my first English academy closed, I decided to continue my lessons here at Temple's IELP. Because there are students from different countries, we have to speak English. Sometimes I can’t speak exactly my point, but people can catch my feeling, and they explain it back to me. So we help each other.


Jungyeon and her friends from the Owl Peers program.


IELP: What are differences between the U.S. and Korea?


JUNGYEON: In Korea, we don’t make eye contact when we speak because it’s impolite there. But here it’s good manners. Also, with older people in Korea, you can’t respond the same way you do here. We use a polite sentence, but here you can speak the same way to everyone. Also, here you can give things to other people with one hand, but in Korea you must use two.


IELP: What’s your favorite thing you’ve done in the U.S. so far?


JUNGYEON: I went to Linvilla Orchards in the fall. It was a really fun place. We don’t have pumpkin farms in Korea. I had candied apples and drank apple cider – it was really good!


IELP: What would you tell me to do if I only had 24 hours in Korea?


JUNGYEON: Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace, it’s a royal place.


Photo credit: Lonely Planet


IELP: What’s your favorite Korean meal?


JUNGYEON: I like kimchi, but the recipe is very difficult. I made it one time in the U.S. and my husband told me that here it’s completely different. In Korea it has a stronger taste.


IELP: What’s your favorite American food?


JUNGYEON: I think Shake Shack burgers are the best! I also like raw oysters from Oyster House in the city.


IELP: What’s your plan for after the IELP program?


JUNGYEON: In Korea, I got a master’s degree in Color of Design and my bachelor's degree in Fine Art (Korean Painting). I would love to teach Korean Painting here, but it’s not easy because I am not fluent in English. So my first goal is to finish my IELP courses and then maybe study again.


Korean painting uses different material from the Western style. We use very thin paper and powder paint that has to be mixed with something like glue, and then it becomes like watercolor.

Jungyeon's stunning Korean painting


IELP: What is your favorite place on campus?


JUNGYEON: Mitten Hall. I have had classes there – the inside is very gorgeous. I also like the Student Center.

Jungyeon and friends getting into the spirit of brotherly love


IELP: What would you tell other students thinking about studying in the U.S.?


JUNGYEON: The United States gives a lot of opportunities to students, and Temple too. Temple explains a lot and you can choose the courses you need. If you want to study or get a job, this is where you should come.


See you next time!