DUS Abroad

The Division of Undergraduate Studies is a diverse group of individuals who like to travel and visit different cultures and locations. To celebrate International Education Week (November 16-21, 2020), we wanted to showcase some of the places our staff have visited. We've asked our staff to provide some photos and a few interesting facts about the location they visited. Interested in traveling abroad? Visit Penn State's Education Abroad website to learn more about how you may be able to study abroad.

Southeast Asia

Staff Member: Joan Miller
Golden statues sit outside a stone shrine.
A towering bridge is lit up with white and purple lights.

From Singapore to Thailand to Cambodia Southeast Asia is a land of wonder. 

Smiling faces and helping hands are everywhere. 

Incredible temples that shine golden in the sun abound. 

Ancient ruins spark imagination of cities of old. 

Beautiful cities shine their lights at night. 

The vibrant cultures in Southeast Asia should not be missed. 


Staff Member: Shana Clarke
Street art in Melbourne, Australiaq
Historical artifiacts of Australia

Interesting facts about Australia

1.The Australia Zoo was founded by none other than Steve Irwin—yes, the Crocodile Hunter—crikey! Australia is home to many of the worlds coolest (and sometimes strange) animals. In this zoo, you can feed and take pictures with koalas and kangaroos, see live dingos, walk like a lemur, meet a cassowary and so much more!

2. Melbourne, Australia Is home to some of the best street art in the world. In their graffiti art, activism and talent collide. These pieces are excellent depictions of that. The piece on the left shows the despondence and resilience of the Aboriginal people, the piece on the lower right comments on the unaffordability of housing in Melbourne, and the top two pay homage to the forest fires in 2020. Street art can be found in many places in Melbourne Australia including Hosier Lane, Centre Place, Caledonian Lane and Craft Alley.

3. Prior to British settlement, over 500 indigenous tribes lived in Australia for over 60,000 years. In 1770, James Cook claimed Australia in the name of the British Crown. Between 1788 and 1790, the British killed over 90% of the indigenous population through the intentional introduction of new disease (smallpox, measles and influenza), forced land acquisition, and violence. From the late 1700s to the 1970s, aboriginal children were taken from their parents and placed in Britch homes in an effort to erase Aboriginal culture and erase aboriginal blood through interbreeding. This period is called the “stolen generations.” Today, Indigenous Australians make up about 3% of the population and experience high levels of discrimination similar to that experienced by Native Americans in the United States. Source: bbc.com/news/world-australia-43039522; australianstogether.org.au/discover/australian-history/colonisation


Staff Member: Kimberly Geter
A serving of Poutine. French fries topped wiht cheese curds and gravy.
Canadian flag flying above the border between the U.S. and Canada.

Interesting facts about Canada

  1. Niagara Falls located along the border of Canada and Buffalo, NY is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.
  2. Poutine is a cuisine native to Canada and consists of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.
  3. Canada sees a lot of visitors each year.  According to Destination Canada, they saw 22.1 million visitors in 2019.

(Retrieved from: https://www.destinationcanada.com/en/news/canada-experiences-third-conse...)

South Korea

Staff Member: Juyeon Schulman
View of Seoul, South Korea.

Interesting Facts About South Korea

1. South Koreans are one year old when born: One of the unique facts about South Koreans is that when they are born, they’re automatically one year old. There are different schools of thought as to why this is. One explanation is that people think it’s because the baby is in the mother’s womb for 9 months, which is about 1 year.

2. Superstitions: Red ink is considered bad luck in South Korea. Writing a person’s name in the color signifies the person is dead, or will die soon. The number 4 is considered bad luck as it is written the same way as the Chinese character for death. The number is often replaced with the letter “F,” such as when using an elevator.

3. South Korea is the world leader in internet connectivity, with around 95.9 percent of its population using the internet. In addition, South Korea boasts the highest average internet connection speed worldwide.

4. Korean written language: Hangul (called one of the most scientific writing systems in the world)

Rather than evolving from pictures or abstract shapes, the Korean language was a deliberate invention. the Hangul alphabet was invented by King Sejong the Great in 1443. The letters were made based on the phonetic shape of mouth/tongue and sounds.

Each syllable is grouped into a square character

한 (han) 글 (geul)

Each of those characters is composed of symbols for individual sounds

ㅎ h + ㅏ a + ㄴ n = 한 (han)

ㄱ g + ㅡ eu + ㄹ l = 글 (geul)

The system provides a simple, compact packaging of information, easy to read and to learn. According to the postscript of the original description of hangul "a wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days."

5. Plastic surgery is normal = Medical Tourism

One of the interesting facts about South Korea is that it is a popular destination for medical tourism, specifically cosmetic surgery. Plastic surgery is also much more affordable in South Korea than it is in other countries, which makes it much more accessible, thus people come from all across the globe to have their looks enhanced during a short trip to South Korea.

South Korea is also one of the makeup capitals of the world — there are entire districts of Seoul dedicated to cosmetic shops, so it’s truly a makeup lover’s paradise. What’s less well known is that men and women alike wear makeup in South Korea — there is no stigma about men wearing makeup, so some men wear significantly more makeup than women in South Korea. Everybody wants to put their best face forward, and makeup plays a big part in that.

Feel the Rhythm of KOREA series



Staff Member: Emily Fogel Conway
VIew above Italian town showing stone buildings with ceramic tile roofs and mountainsin the distance.
Old stone Italian ruins.

Interesting facts about Italy

  1. Cities like Rome, Florence, and Venice get a lot of well-deserved attention for their art, culture, food, and history. These cities are still visibly marked by thousands of years of history and animated by vibrant contemporary lives.
  2. Amazing natural sites, cultural artifacts, and enrichment experiences can also be found in small towns like San Martino, Rieti (where I spent a month for an archaeological field school) and other less frequented places like Cinque Terre, Sulmona, Alba Fucens, Pompeii, Herculaneum, and Tivoli.
  3. Italy has had a tremendous impact on many other countries, and you’ll find little pieces of Italy throughout continental Europe, the UK, the Middle East, Africa, and beyond!