Zuleika Szczypka-Fellowes, a graduate of the University’s Asia Pacific Studies degree, is using her skills and focusing her research on making a difference within the Korean Peninsula.
Despite some of Zuleika’s time at University coinciding with the Covid pandemic, she didn’t let it hold her back from discovering new experiences whilst studying her degree BSc (Hons) Asia Pacific Studies.
She seized the opportunity to participate in the Korea Foundation’s 2020 Online Korea Art Workshop. Through this virtual platform, she gained insights into Korean art and participated in lectures by experts in the field. Her dedication paid off when she secured a fully funded, in-person workshop in Seoul for the following year.
This led Zuleika into volunteering with PSCORE, a charity advocating for human rights in North Korea which helps those who have defected to South Korea to adapt to their new life. She became an English tutor for North Korean children who had moved to South Korea.
Zuleika told us how much her Asia Pacific Studies degree aided her in her teaching role. She said: “The knowledge I gained of the Korean peninsula through my studies contributed to my ability to be a reliable and compassionate volunteer, while my language skills helped me to build a rapport with my students.”
"The year abroad was an incredible experience that I took full advantage of, developing my Korean language skills and travelling around as much of the country as I possibly could in order to expand my cultural understanding and experiences."— UCLan BSc (Hons) Asia Pacific Studies
During her third year, Zuleika spent a period abroad in South Korea as an exchange student at Pusan National University, where she forged friendships with Korean students, connected with exchange students from around the world, and gained valuable insights from academics and individuals who shared their expertise.
Her travels across the country led to memorable encounters with locals, such as the man in Gwangju who is using his life to teach others about the Gwangju Uprising, and the elderly women in Gyodong Manghyangdae Observatory who sang together outside the memorial for the families separated by the Korean War.
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In her final year, Zuleika earned a scholarship for the Think Pacific Virtual Internship, where she contributed to environmental education in rural Fiji. She also attended the Victoria and Albert Museum's Hallyu Exhibition with the University’s International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU) and Professor Sojin Lim, Reader in Asia Pacific Studies.
Zuleika’s studies are set to continue. She told us: ‘My time at UCLan has been paramount in my opportunity to look for further graduate study. I was accepted for a master’s degree in Humanitarianism, Conflict and Aid, which my knowledge of the development of the Asia Pacific will be crucial in helping me progress into.”
Zuleika believes that her focus on the Korean peninsula will enable her to make a meaningful impact in the region in the near future.