Reasons for choosing Global Affairs over media studies
Semin had many opportunities to think about her influence through her various leadership experiences including her role as the head of the school’s broadcasting department, the head of a school club, the vice president of her freshman class, the president of her sophomore class, and the president of her junior class. She was happy to hear that her friend had fixed her habit of leaving the water running when brushing her teeth after watching user-created content (UCC) called “1 liter of tears” that was submitted for a broadcasting contest. While volunteering at a daycare center, she taught children about the importance of the environment through stories and puppets shows, and she saw them start saving paper. While taking a French writing course, she learned about how Jean Monnet, one of the founding fathers of the EU, began developing communities by actualizing the Algerian question.
“My dream is to become a foreign correspondent. I want to be a proactive person who affects many people all over the world. Reporting is a job that can convey a person’s beliefs, so I want to bring about changes in people’s behavior or perception through empathy. I’m highly interested in environmental issues, but this is something that requires global consensus and multi-dimensional approaches.”
Semin’s interest in the environment began with her love for animals. Like Jane Goodall, the environmental activist who started studying chimpanzees because she liked animals, Semin became interested in the environment because she liked animals. She shed tears while looking through pictures of suffering animals in the book Drinking the Tears of a Civet.
“Due to many years of broadcast related activities, I mostly applied for journalism as well as other related majors. Although I received early admission to a communication program at another university, I ultimately decided to study Global Affairs because I believe in prioritizing developing my inner values and professional knowledge over communication skills.”
“Broadcasting requires making timely decisions for every step of the interviewing, writing, and editing process. In order to become more decisive, I realized I had to be well learned. I long to be a foreign reporter who offers insightful solutions through a solid professional framework cultivated through the Global Affairs program.”
Broadcasting, environment, and forming consensus are the three keywords that define Semin’s high school life. She grabbed hold of every opportunity presented at school. For her world literature reading project, she read Madame Bovary and reconstructed the story to where the main character submits her story to a radio program. Every time a story of the character was read, her classmates cheered for the character on social media in real-time as if they were listeners. After a short trip to Jeju Island, she created UCC where Simcheong, a Korean folk story character, reemerges from the sea and arrives at Jeju and introduces the island.
Choosing Mason Korea as someone who is well aware of the reality of studying abroad
“Watching foreign professors and students having natural conversations all over campus was like a scene from an American movie. That was my first impression of Mason Korea. English in real life—something I couldn’t experience in my foreign language high school in Korea.”
“My foreign language high school didn’t offer as many opportunities to have one-on-one conversations with native English-speaking teachers than I had expected,” reflects Semin. She was concerned about her speaking skills because despite her high TOEFL scores, her speaking skills hadn't improved. She was considering studying abroad because she craved opportunities to speak English comfortably. However, she found out about Mason Korea in her junior year of high school and thought it would be a great starting point for her entry to the world stage. Above all, she was attracted to the fact that she could choose from 14 different concentrations within the Global Affairs major ranging from international affairs to communication and media.
“I've always enjoyed speaking and writing in English ever since I was young, but I have to be better to be a foreign journalist. The thought of entering a foreign university abroad right away was a bit daunting.”
Semin had lived in the U.S. for three years by the time she entered elementary school. She also studied in an international school in Jeju Island when she was in middle school. Since she was familiar with foreign education, she was also well aware of the difficulties it encompasses.
“It was tough for me to decide everything, including my studies, extracurricular activities, voluntary activities, sports activities, and dormitory life when I was studying at my international school in Jeju. It was hard to live alone far away from home. Maybe it was more difficult because I was just in my first year of middle school. But even if I go abroad now, I might have to overcome many difficulties by myself. Since students at Mason Korea study at the U.S. campus in their junior and senior year, I think it would be much easier to live a stable life.”
Mason Korea offers many opportunities for Korean students to interact with American students coming from the home campus as well as international students. It has a low student-to-faculty ratio, thereby allowing close guidance. The academic advising system also helps students determine which courses they have to take each year and offers consultation services for students preparing to study at the U.S. campus.
Evolving with likeminded peers at foreign language high school
Students who major in Global Affairs are required to take a second foreign language course in their first year. Between Chinese and Spanish, Semin chose Spanish because she studied French in MyungDuk Foreign Language High School. “It’s my first time learning Spanish, but it’s easy to learn because French and Spanish are both Latin languages. I think it was good that I took a foreign language in high school. In Korea, there are a lot of French signboards and brand names, and I’m proud that I can read them properly and know what they mean. Having French under my belt as a foreign reporter will be an advantage.”
In my foreign language high school, I had many friends who were interested in international issues or foreign culture, so I really enjoyed studying with them. While writing reports, making card news, and preparing for group presentations, Semin learned a lot through her peers that she couldn't have learned otherwise. In her <Advanced English Reading> class, her team discussed what the most important factor is among knowledge, empathy, confidence, and cultural identity to master the culture of other countries. In her <Advanced English Conversation II> class, students divided the world into eight categories according to culture and presented their findings. In her <French Culture> class, she co-authored a report with her classmates about the current status of refugee issues in France and Korea and how to address them.
“I want to apply the knowledge I learned at school at an internship in an international organization or foreign company or do related activities. I looked up interviews of Mason Korea seniors and graduates, and I found that there are lots of open doors here. Mason Korea has a great academic program.”
Making the most of online classes despite facing an unusual freshman year
Due to COVID 19, university classes have switched to online lectures. The only formal in-person event Semin attended was the freshman orientation held in February.
“I’m frustrated that I can’t properly enjoy my freshman year, but I’m satisfied with my classes. They're interactive online classes and my professors pay attention to each and every one of the students. We learn about our subjects in depth, so there are a lot of things to take in. I love everything that I do in English, such as speaking, listening, and doing assignments.”
Semin joined the student broadcasting club at the university. Since the broadcast has to be aired every Monday, she continues to work on covering, producing, and editing content every week. She covers stories related to her topics of interest in environmental phenomena and social issues caused by COVID 19 including trends that emerged from social distancing such as Dalgona coffee as well as online shows and concerts.
“It’s good to meet different types of people and learn about social issues. It’s fun to read and write. I want to lead a confident life by racking up a wealth of experiences and perspectives.”
Semin has clear goals of becoming a foreign reporter, but she isn't just living for her dreams—her dreams naturally came about as a result of her going hard after the things she loves. We look forward to the day she implements her skills and knowledge gained from her college career in the real world.
May 29, 2020