Korean student Katie Lee studies at SNU

Hae-in “Katie” Lee from the town of Iksan, Republic of South Korea – situated on the Mangyeong and Geum Rivers -- is experiencing Summer 2008 in Oklahoma. She is a 22 year old college senior majoring in Business (Secretarial Science), who put her graduation on hold for 12 months so she could travel to the United States and study at Southern Nazarene University (SNU).

Lee is a student at Korea Nazarene University in Cheonan, South Korea, with a nearly perfect academic record across her college experience. During her college years at KNU, Hae-in had come to know several American instructors in the government-supported Conversational English program -- some with ties to Oklahoma -- and one American exchange student from Oklahoma City. By her sophomore year she determined that before college ended for her, she would attend Southern Nazarene University.
(In the photo: Kristen Martin and Katie Lee. Photo provided by John Martin)

“By 2005, I knew I wanted to come here to study,” Lee said. Katie’s father died when she was 7, leaving behind the small family of Katie, her mother and one younger brother. “Now my brother is a freshman in college, and my mother is taking college classes also. It is a good time for me to come to the U.S.”

During her freshman year, Hae-in was dubbed “Katie” by American instructors at KNU, Alan and Judy Rosegrant, who now live in Louisiana. Though they are still young, Katie refers to them fondly as her American grandparents.

Katie set about completing the tasks required to come to the U.S. Besides preparing her passport and applying for a student visa, Katie also prepared diligently to take the TOEFL test, which measures English proficiency and gauges an international student’s readiness to be instructed in classes taught in English.

For the application process and to maneuver the paperwork correctly, she worked closely by e-mail with Lisa Williams Carr, SNU’s Director of International Student Services. Because she was already a friend of their daughter, Kristen, John and Karen Martin extended an invitation for her to live with them during her exchange experience.

Katie arrived January 17, 2008, successfully completed one semester at SNU, and plans to be a full-time student at SNU in the fall semester. After spending almost all of 2008 here, she will return to Korea at the end of December. Katie is a diligent student, but books and learning is not everything for her. During Spring Break she and the Martins traveled to the Grand Canyon – a place her father had always dreamed of visiting -- and in May she spent a week in southern California attending a Korean Christian family camp. She hopes to visit Washington, D.C. this summer, before her SNU studies begin again in August.