#MasonAbroad Stories


Meet Haley Ephraim

Due to COVID, my original gateway location of Ireland was canceled last-minute, and I has to option to switch to Korea instead. So I decided to go to Korea rather than stay at Fairfax. This was a very last-minute change. This meant I would be going to a country I did not know much about and did not know anyone else going. I still decided to go, and it was totally worth it!

A Rough Start

I landed in Korea and met up with a few other students from Fairfax who were on my plane. We did the whole airport things, then went to get our covid tests. My covid test was a difficult issue for some reason and I had to sign some papers that I did not know what they said. I then went into quarantine like the rest of the students on the IGC campus.

The next day, I got a phone call that my covid test came back positive. I was taken to a different quarantine facility. I did not know where I was, and I did not know any Korean. I stuck out my 10 days in a hospital in Ansan and was picked up by a Mason Korea staff member to be taken back to campus. I was out of quarantine before anyone else since I only did 10 days since I had covid. I was alone out of quarantine to find my way around the area. The first two weeks were the hardest because I had a different scenario and was on my own for a few days.

However, once everyone started getting out of quarantine, everything changed. I met some of my closest friends and my boyfriend and once the semester was over, I wished it wasn’t and that I could stay longer.


The 5 months I spent in Korea, around my schoolwork, my friends and I explored probably every square inch of Korea.

  • I went scuba diving on Jeju Island and went to Busan for spring break and stayed in an Airbnb with my friends.
  • Got to go on a DMZ tour, which was my all-time favorite experience in Korea.
  • Visited and stayed in Hanok village, where we got to dress in old-traditional Korean clothing and sleep in a traditional place. We slept on the floor on mats with no air conditioning.
  • Visited Lotte world, which is the Korea equivalent to Disney world.
  • Hiked lots of mountains, but the best one was Hallasan Mountain, the biggest mountain in Korea.
  • Visited the Han River many times and got to see the cherry blossoms bloom.
  • Visited countless temples that were so gorgeous.
  • Got to see the Gangnam style statue, in Gangnam, that plays Gangnam style on repeat 24 hours a day.
  • Visited a city called Samsung, which had a huge mall and the coolest pixel screen that made the images look 3D.
  • Shopped at street shops everywhere, which was so fun. I bought so many clothes. I got a bellybutton piercing and 2 tattoos. We were able to enjoy the nightlife in Hongdae on the weekends which was so fun! I met so many people. I am still in contact with one girl I met. She is an international fashion model.

Overall, Korea was an amazing experience, and I cannot wait till I can eventually travel there again!

Haley Ephraim in South Korea

Author Spotlight

Name Haley Ephraim
Major Criminology
Hometown Dallas, Texas 
Study Abroad Global Gateway Korea
Highlight The DMZ was definitely one of my favorite things! The tour was amazing, and it was super cool to learn about the history between North and South Korea. 
Challenge I am a picky eater and do not like anything even remotely spicy. I stuck to cheeseburgers and pizza mostly. 
Favorite Food Miso soup 

I want to learn more I want to be featured