The Road Less Traveled - Laura Corrigan '13

The Road Less Traveled

For Laura Corrigan ’13, the road less traveled is a favorite destination. She has just returned from her study abroad travels in Seoul, South Korea, where she studied as a first semester sophomore.

While living in the second largest city in the world, the English major, with a concentration in English writing, caught the travel bug. She visited several other countries in Asia, including Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore. “I had traveling fever!” she explains. 

Laura attended Ewha Women’s University, a private women's university in central Seoul. Saint Mary’s has a partnership with the university, which is the world's largest female educational institute and is considered the top women’s university in South Korea. She lived in an international house with students from around the globe.  “I made a lot of friends,” she says.

The day Laura arrived in Seoul, she found herself in this ancient city (first built in 17 B.C.) without access to her trusty cell phone or a calling card. She was the only Saint Mary’s student to attend the Seoul program that semester. The surreal feeling of being cut off from everything familiar was soon remedied as she recharged her phone, got a calling card, and began to meet her roommates. “That first day I kept asking myself “what am I doing here?’ and I stayed very close to the university,” she says. “It was an out of body experience.”

However, it didn’t take long before she started to feel comfortable the city as she ventured out with her new friends. “In some ways, the city is a young woman’s paradise,” she laughs. “Just outside the campus there is a  large outdoor market with stalls and stalls of inexpensive jewelry and hair ornaments.” 

Laura was thrilled to find that the young people of South Korea are truly “mad” for Western culture.  “Young people would stop me on the street and ask to be their friend,” she says. She now counts many young South Koreans as good friends who she visits by Skype. In her studies, Laura took some Gen Ed classes and discovered South Korea’s own point of view on history and culture. “You get such a different perspective of the world,” she says.

Back home at Saint Mary's College, Laura easily re-adjusted to her classes, especially the writing classes. “I really love my writing classes here because I am challenged to write in ways I never knew I would enjoy,” she says. “The challenges further unleash my creativity.” She saya she now writes poetry and creative fiction, which she hadn’t done before.

She says she also loves being back with all her Saint Mary’s friends, taking walks together around the campus lakes and meeting at Starbucks. Laura is a member of the Residence Hall Association and was this year’s co-chair for the Little Sibs Weekend, an event in which students invite sisters, brothers or cousins to visit the campus. “It was a lot of work, but worth it,” Laura says.

This summer, Laura will take to the streets in New York City to work for the Grassroots Campaign, a human rights organization. She has yet to get her assignment, but will most likely canvass for women’s causes. She credits the Nicholas Kristof’s lecture from last year as the impetus to join the human rights organization. “I was so moved by his speech and read one of his books,” she says.  “When I saw someone reading his book on the New York subway, I told him that I had seen Kristof at my college.  It started a lively conversation on the train,” she laughs.