Herein, I would like to explain in detail the reasons for pursuing the Oh Award which is annually awarded by the Georgetown University Asian Studies Faculty Committee.
To begin with, Korean culture means very much to me. I was born in South Korea, yet, after I finished middle school my family moved to the United States. Despite this, I have always strived to learn more about my home country and felt enticed by its culture. Moreover, since I was a child I have dreamed of working in government; more specifically, in the realm of international relations. After entering Georgetown University, I have been gradually making steps toward turning this dream into reality.
At the same time, I would not say that I want to move back to Korea. In fact, I would like to continue living in the U.S. since I have lived here for over 10 years and perceive myself as an American with Korean roots. At the same time, my future goal is to pursue a career that would somehow connect these two countries and cultures for me.
More specifically, I am applying for this award because the prize money will allow me to pursue some additional courses in order to learn more about Korean government. In fact, after graduating in May of 2017 from Georgetown University, I plan to travel to Korea mid-summer. There, I would like to take four elective courses at the Korean University that will focus on Korean governmental and juridical systems. These courses will cost approximately 2000 (insert another sum if you wish) USD. Given that I will be financing this initiative from my own pocket, the Oh Award will help me to cover these expenses.
The Awards Committee would probably like to know how attaining this goal will help me in my future career. Importantly, it is not mere curiosity pushing me to take these steps. My passion is moving me forward every step of the way. As I have said, I consider Korea and U.S. my two home countries. Furthermore, I plan to further pursue my Graduate degree and profession in the United States, while focusing on the subject that I am most passionate about – Korea.
Below, I would like to tell the committee more about my background.
During my undergraduate studies I majored in Government. At the moment, I am considering doing my Master’s degree in International Relations. Moreover, I feel that my international background gives me substantial advantages for pursuing a career in the realm of international and governmental relations.
When talking about myself, I could say that I am very “Asian” at heart. One can easily see this by looking at my previous professional experiences. All of them have been connected in one way or another with Korea. For instance, during the summers of 2013-2015 I have pursued internships in The National Assembly in Seoul. During three subsequent years I was an intern in three different departments in Korean government: Office of the Speaker of the National Assembly (2015), Office of the Democratic Party (2014), and Office of the Chairman of the Committee of Legislation & Judicial Committee (2013). What is more, for about five months I have worked on Radio Free Asia in Washington DC. I enjoyed all of the abovementioned experiences, since they allowed me to express my professional interests. In the next part of this proposal, I will consider each of them in greater detail.
As for leadership experiences, during my studies at Georgetown University I have been involved in the Residential Judicial Council since 2015. In addition, I have done International Pre-Orientation for newly accepted students (2016-2017). What is more, I am a participant of the Student Guard Program since 2016.
What concerns important international experiences that have impacted my life, when I was a child I lived with my family in Argentina for one year.
From all of the abovementioned experiences, I am most fond of my internships in Korean government. Moreover, I can definitely say that I learned a great deal during each of these experiences. I believe that they have made me one step closer to my dream of working in international relations. In my future career, I plan to focus on U.S.-Korea and U.S.-Asia relationships.
Below, I would like to speak in greater detail about each of the abovementioned experiences (educational and professional) which were somehow connected to Korea.
During my first internship in Korean government (within the Office of the Chairman of the Committee of Legislation & Judicial Committee, in 2013) I was highly involved in the legislation process. Some of my responsibilities included assisting during the government inspection of current administration, attending Congressional sessions, and creating summary memos for one of the Assembly members. Next, while interning for the Office of the Democratic Party Whip (The Minority Whip), I helped out with the 2014 Midterm Election campaign. Also, I responded to party constituents’ incoming calls and emails, as well as managed the website. Lastly, during my internship within the Office of the Speaker of the National Assembly, I was personal assistant to the Chief of Staff and Communications Director. What was especially interesting for me, I took part in drafting the Speaker’s official speeches.
All of these experiences have helped me to become more aware of Korean government structure and legislation. Henceforth, in order to further deepen my knowledge of the subject, I am planning to travel to Korea this summer for additional courses in Korean governance.
Another experience dealing with Asian culture concerned my job at Radio Free Asia. I was the North Korea Department News Reporter Intern. During this experience I translated articles, managed the website, and assisted the Radio Production department. As a matter of fact, this experience showed me how I could integrate my internships and educational experiences in a professional setting. In fact, I enjoyed working on the radio and consider it a valuable job experience. At the same time, for my future career I would consider a profession that would deal more closely with government relations.
Moreover, I believe that my previous leadership experiences in high school and within Georgetown University have helped me to uncover my leadership potential. Further in my career, I plan to integrate my past experiences in order to shape my unique professional future. More specifically, I would like to continue learning about Korea, its culture, government, and politics. At the same time, one of my top priorities concerns further developing my leadership skills through internships and within an educational setting. Finally, I hope to pursue further studies in the realm of governmental and international relations. Finally, I would like to work in the U.S. government and actively participate in shaping U.S.-Asia relations. This is just a brief summary of how I envision my future.
In the short term, however, I understand that numerous small steps must be made in order for me to become more educated about Korean culture. Internships are an excellent means for learning something new. Yet, currently, I feel that pursuing additional courses in the Korean University on topics of law, politics, and governance will supply me with important tools for seeing the greater picture. Henceforth, I truly hope that the Awards Committee will choose my candidacy. I will be delighted if the committee finds my candidacy compelling for the Oh Award.