UNT student to study Korean abroad through U.S. State Department program
DENTON (UNT), Texas -- Chinazo Onwukaike, a senior journalism and radio/television/film major at the University of North Texas, has received a Critical Language Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to study Korean in Wonju, South Korea, this summer. Onwukaike is a 2010 graduate of Garland High School.
A student in both UNT's Honors College and the Emerald Eagle Scholars program, Onwukaike, will study at Yonsei University in Wonju June 11-Aug. 10. She considers herself an "advanced beginner" speaker of Korean after spending the fall 2013 semester at Ewha Woman's University in Seoul. She received a Benjamin Gilman Scholarship to study media studies and production at Ewha Woman's University, but said she's been interested in Korea and its culture from a young age.
"I started learning tae kwan do when I was small, and I've loved Korea since then. After I began learning about Korean media and the popularity of its TV shows and movies, I wanted to go to Korea myself and learn more. When I was there for the fall semester, I became interested in working in Korea, but I knew that if I wanted to do that, I needed to know the language," she said.
Administered by the American Councils for International Education, the Critical Language Scholarship began in 2006 to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are needed for American diplomacy and trade.
In her essay for the Critical Language Scholarship, Onwukaike wrote that she does not "shy away from the unfamiliar and different."
"My favorite part of travel is discovering the similarities and differences between other cultures and my own. I've also learned about myself and how I play a part in the world," she wrote.
Onwukaike also traveled to Thailand during the summer of 2011 with other students in the Emerald Eagle Scholars program, receiving a full scholarship for that trip. She is currently an intern with Dreamfly Productions, a video production studio in Dallas, and has worked as a student assistant for the multimedia laboratory in UNT's Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism, and as a floor director for the noon newscast of ntTV, UNT's student-produced television station, and a writer for a comedy program on ntTV. She has also been a member of the Student Government Association and the marketing chair for The Big Event, a volunteer day open to all UNT students that is coordinated by UNT's Center for Leadership and Service.
Onwukaike will receive her bachelor's degrees in broadcast news and radio/television/film on May 10. She plans to work for a film production company and attend graduate school after returning from her study abroad at Yonsei University. She also wants to create her own short film.
"I want to make stories that can blur the lines of borders and instead make room for discussion and understanding," she said.
Onwukaike is the third UNT student since 2008 to receive a Critical Language Scholarships. In 2008 and 2012, UNT students received the scholarships to study Arabic in Tunisia.