Korean Concentration

Lara Garrity, 2021

Lara Garrity

How did you choose your degree program?

When I was in high school, I discovered my passion for foreign languages and cultures. I began teaching myself Korean outside of school while attending Chinese and French electives during class hours. When I came to Mason, I was ecstatic to learn of the Chinese and Korean departments. As I continued in my college career, I had the honor of being one of the first students enrolled in the new Korean major program, which is one of the first Korean major programs on the entire East Coast! I decided to combine my passion for languages with my passion for justice by double majoring in Foreign Language and Criminology. I hope to use my language skills alongside with the skills I gained as a Criminology major in my future career.

How did your academic experiences in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences impact you?

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences provided with me flexibility in choosing my major programs and the directions I wanted to take them in. I was able to specialize in my Criminology courses in the direction of international relations and policy, which I will continue during my time at graduate school. Through the unique approach of the language department at CHHS, I was able to expand my fluency in Korean and Chinese in all aspects in a fun, enjoyable manner. Through classroom discussions and courses on popular culture, my fluency improved in reading, speaking, and writing, helping me gain the skills to grow into a well-rounded language learner.

What accomplishment(s) during your time at Mason are you most proud of?

During my final semester as an undergraduate at Mason, I was chosen to present at the MUSCKS Conference. After delivering my entire presentation in Korean, I was recognized with an award for having one of the best papers of the conference. I also secured an internship with the Department of State this past semester, working under the East Asian & Pacific Languages Division of the Foreign Service Institute's School of Language Learning. Additionally, during my sophomore year, I was accepted as an exchange student to study at the prestigious Yonsei University. Finally, I was chosen as the President of the Women's Club Ice Hockey team during our most recent season.

Are there faculty or staff members who made a difference during your Mason career? Please give an example of this impact if possible.

Professor Jihye Moon has been my biggest inspiration and motivation throughout my Korean studies at Mason. She has proven to be incredibly dedicated to the success of all her students, and she has taken the time to get to know all of us as individuals and our individual learning styles. Professor Moon's courses are always engaging and interesting, and I genuinely enjoyed each and every lesson! Professor Moon has also challenged me to accomplish things in my language learning that I never previously thought I was capable of. She encouraged me to present in Korean after nominating me to present at the MUSCKS conference. She has always given positive feedback on my growth in writing and speaking throughout our most recent course together. Professor Moon always made me comfortable to make mistakes and learn from them in her classes, and I credit her for my current level of fluency and the skills I obtained to enhance this fluency in the future.

What are your current career plans following graduation? What are your long-term career goals?

In Spring 2022, I will begin my graduate-level studies at the Schar School of Policy and Government as an International Security major. As for my long-term goals, I am looking to obtain a position within the government, or private sector, that allows me to apply my education towards working in international relations and security. I hope to continue with similar work as my internship at the Department of State or similar government agencies.