Valerie Cortes is a recipient of the Summer 2019 Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship. The award provides undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students with financial support to develop fluency in less commonly taught languages (LCTLs) and expertise in the regions in which these languages are spoken. Every year the Center for Global Studies awards between 12-15 fellowships to UW students. Click here to learn more.
I completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Washington Bothell in Media and Communication Studies. During this time, I had the opportunity to study twice in South Korea. These opportunities, and particularly, a visit to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) between North and South Korea, sparked my interest in pursuing a Masters in Korean studies with a focus on U.S. relations in the region. Although I studied in Korea several times and know Korean at an intermediate level, I still feel the need to practice my Korean, particularly using more advanced vocabulary regarding news, politics, and issues in international relations. Thanks to the Summer FLAS I received, I was able to develop my familiarity with this vocabulary in Korea while studying in Seoul and Busan, the two largest cities in South Korea. Once I graduate from the Jackson School, I hope to continue working towards improving U.S. relations between both North and South Korea in the East Asia region.