When Micah Korinek received the life-changing email informing him that he received a Fulbright Scholarship, his first reaction was to scream the news to anyone within earshot and give someone a hug. Unfortunately, he was in the Hamline library at the time and he didn’t know anyone sitting nearby. Instead, he picked up the cell phone he had just dropped and called his parents.
“I almost didn’t realize what a big deal a Fulbright is at first. I was taken aback by how prestigious and competitive it is,” Korinek said. “I am incredibly grateful and thrilled to have been accepted. This is something I worked so hard for and it’s extremely important to me.”
Korinek will graduate from Hamline in May of 2013 with a triple major in education
, and business administration
with a focus in international business. In July, he’ll fly to South Korea to begin orientation and training before being placed in a classroom to teach English. Korinek doesn’t know which city he’ll work in yet, or what age his students will be, but the unknown is what Korinek loves most about traveling.
“I really enjoy being somewhere totally unfamiliar and truly experiencing a different culture,” Korinek said. “I think there are few better ways to challenge yourself, grow as a person, and a global citizen.”
When asked if he has any concerns about living in South Korea at a time of high tensions between that country and its neighbor to the north, Korinek was pragmatic in his response.
"I'm not worried about it right now, and I've talked to my adviser who feels the same way,” Korinek said. “But I'm definitely going to keep an eye on what's happening in North Korea."
While Korinek has never been to South Korea, he’s no stranger to international academic experiences. He studied in Germany for a year in high school and then again through Hamline’s partnership with the Cologne Business School
. He also earned Hamline's Teaching English as a Foreign Language certificate
as a result of his work at Hamline and in Germany. Korinek is fluent in German, proficient in Spanish, and works in an after-school program at a German immersion school in the Twin Cities.
“Earning a Fulbright is a mark of excellence, recognizing outstanding achievement in both academics and student leadership,” Hamline University President Linda Hanson said. “Micah is a hard-working, bright, and globally conscious young man, and we are so proud of his accomplishment.”
There have been 25 Fulbright winners from Hamline University in the past 19 years. Hamline students have used their Fulbright Scholarships to teach English and/or do research in Austria, Germany, Korea, Australia, Morocco, Norway, Canada, and Estonia. Congress established the international educational exchange program in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The program is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright Program emphasizes academic and professional excellence.