Critical Language Scholarship Program | Ramisa Murshed
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Ramisa Murshed

Ramisa Mur­shed is an alum­na of the 2019 CLS Kore­an pro­gram in Gwangju, South Korea. She’s fin­ish­ing her junior year at Barnard Col­lege, where she majors in Com­put­er Sci­ence and minors in East Asian Stud­ies. She plans to study abroad again in South Korea to con­tin­ue strength­en­ing her lan­guage skills and learn about Korea’s tech indus­try. She also hopes to apply her Kore­an skills to her inter­ests in music and jour­nal­ism to help under­ground Kore­an musi­cians reach a wider audience.

Grow­ing Up

I was born in the U.S. and spent most of my upbring­ing in the sub­urbs of Atlanta, GA. My par­ents are both immi­grants from Bangladesh, and because they grew up in a com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent envi­ron­ment from mine, I some­times found it dif­fi­cult to find ways to con­nect with them. The town in which I grew up was very cul­tur­al­ly diverse, so we often spent time togeth­er learn­ing about dif­fer­ent cul­tures, in ways rang­ing from watch­ing the news to become more socio-polit­i­cal­ly aware to eat­ing in restau­rants of var­i­ous eth­nic cuisines. From this, I was able to craft a clos­er bond with my par­ents and devel­op a greater appre­ci­a­tion for cul­tures oth­er than my own.

Why Kore­an?

I was intro­duced to Kore­an cul­ture by my best friend who loved K‑pop and Kore­an food. Not hav­ing had much expo­sure to the lan­guage, I chose to study Kore­an in col­lege. Through my course­work, I devel­oped a deep­er appre­ci­a­tion for Kore­an cul­ture. How­ev­er, I felt that, liv­ing in the U.S., my per­cep­tion of Kore­an cul­ture wasn’t com­plete; it was com­posed main­ly of things I learned at school and on the inter­net and a roman­ti­cized ver­sion of Korea. In order to gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of Kore­an cul­ture, I felt that it was nec­es­sary to par­tic­i­pate in a pro­gram like CLS.

I knew noth­ing about Gwangju pri­or to the CLS Pro­gram, so when I found out I would be study­ing there for eight weeks, I didn’t real­ly know what to expect. I learned it was a city with rich his­to­ry, filled with friend­ly peo­ple who will always make you feel wel­come, regard­less of who you are or what you look like. I learned a lot about the his­to­ry of democ­ra­cy in Korea and the Gwangju Upris­ing, as stu­dents from my host insti­tu­tion were direct­ly involved in it. After a walk around Yang­n­im-dong with my lan­guage part­ner, I learned a lot about the Amer­i­can mis­sion­ar­ies who built homes there. I devel­oped a greater inter­est in Kore­an his­to­ry and pol­i­tics thanks to CLS giv­ing me the oppor­tu­ni­ty to study Kore­an in a place where I could see the his­to­ry first-hand.

Career Goals and Kore­an Language

Dur­ing the CLS Pro­gram, I devel­oped an inter­est in nat­ur­al lan­guage pro­cess­ing in rela­tion to non-Eng­lish lan­guages. I hope to apply this tech­nol­o­gy to the field of health­care, col­lab­o­rat­ing with Kore­an tech com­pa­nies to cre­ate tech­nolo­gies to help alle­vi­ate glob­al health­care issues.

Teach­ing and Learning

A friend’s lan­guage part­ner was the pres­i­dent of the Eng­lish club at our host uni­ver­si­ty, and he asked us and a few of our oth­er friends to come to one of the club’s meet­ings to help stu­dents prac­tice speak­ing Eng­lish. At the meet­ing, we con­versed with the stu­dents and learned more about their moti­va­tions for strength­en­ing their Eng­lish skills. Using our Kore­an lan­guage skills, we were able to explain Eng­lish con­cepts that were dif­fi­cult to trans­late. Being lan­guage learn­ers our­selves, we were able to pro­vide the stu­dents with tips for improv­ing their Eng­lish that we often used to improve our Kore­an. Hav­ing this expe­ri­ence real­ly changed the way I approached study­ing lan­guage, as I was able to learn from both my friends in the cohort and the stu­dents in the Eng­lish club.

Upon return­ing to the U.S. after CLS, I found many ways to share what I had learned dur­ing the pro­gram. I intro­duced my friends to a lot of the foods I tried and loved in Korea, par­tic­u­lar­ly the dish­es that are spe­cif­ic to Gwangju and the South Jeol­la Province. I was also able to share my expe­ri­ences in Gwangju with my class­mates, from talk­ing about the dis­tinct dialect found in Gwangju in my Kore­an class to dis­cussing some of the things I’ve learned about the May 18 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Upris­ing in my East Asian stud­ies seminars. 

Alumni Profiles

Ramisa Murshed
Ramisa Murshed
Korean 2019
Gwangju, South Korea

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Posted Date

April 29, 2020