Record number of Mason Korea students studied in Fairfax this fall

Mason Korea student Hyowon Kim poses with President Gregory Washington during one of the Investiture receptions.
Mason Korea student Hyowon Kim poses with President Gregory Washington during one of the Investiture receptions. Photo by Shelby Burgess/Strategic Communications

For senior Hyowon Kim, the fall semester has been full of new experiences. Kim is one of 84 students from the George Mason University Korea Campus studying in the United States.

Since arriving on the Fairfax Campus in August, Kim and other Mason Korea students have been gaining a lot of new experiences—everything from learning how to take an Uber and use public transportation to experiencing new types of classroom environments and neighboring cities.

On average, pre-pandemic, around 45 Mason Korea students had been studying at the Fairfax Campus each semester. The program peaked at 84 students this fall, but they expect more than 100 students this spring, according to Jae Hee Suh, senior public relations coordinator and interim manager, Office of PR and Communications for Mason Korea.

“Because of COVID, a lot of students had to take a gap year and wait to come to Mason in Fairfax [to finish their degrees],” said Kim, who is serving as an ambassador for the Mason Korea students.

A part of the Incheon Global Campus, Mason Korea was established in 2014. Students study in Songdo, Korea, for their first three years, then at Mason in the U.S. for two semesters, typically during their last year. More than 700 students, representing more than 20 countries, are studying at Mason Korea.

Vice Provost Janette Muir poses with a group of Mason Korea students at their graduation celebration.
Vice Provost Janette Muir with graduating Mason Korea students at a celebration this fall. Photo by Ron Aira/Creative Services

The 84 students on campus this semester come from Korea, El Salvador, India, Venezuela, and the United States. The top majors for the Mason Korea students are global affairs and business, with several students majoring in conflict analysis and resolution and economics. Twenty-five students are graduating this month.

Kim, who is majoring in management, said one of the most fun events they’ve pulled together for Mason Korea students this fall was a trip to Washington, D.C. They also had the opportunity to see the Washington Capitals hockey team play at the Capital One Arena.

The group also took part in President Washington’s Investiture in October and has sponsored a booth at a recent International Café on campus.

In addition, the Mason Korea students have been taking advantage of Career Services resources and learning about how to find an internship or a job and other topics.

Back in Korea, Kim was one of the students who welcomes and helps new students get oriented on the Songdo campus, which made her a perfect fit for serving as a University Life Regional Campus Student Ambassador. And in her role as ambassador, she wants to encourage students to be active on campus and take part in many activities and events.

“I hope they go to more events,” said Kim of the Mason Korea students. “The events here are different from the ones in Korea, and there are a lot of activities for international students.”