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“The world welcomes young, competent, and internationalized Koreans”

By Shin Mee-kyung (Education S | 기사입력 2022/06/29 [16:05]

“The world welcomes young, competent, and internationalized Koreans”

By Shin Mee-kyung (Education S | 입력 : 2022/06/29 [16:05]



Shin Mee-kyung is an Education Specialist in the Education Sector Group, Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB). Before she joined the ADB, she worked for the Ministry of Education as a director in a range of divisions, including teaching and assessment policy, K-12, university scholarship, internationalization of education institutes and early childcare education and so on. She also worked as an education and science attache in the Korean embassy in Russia. — Ed

 

Let me tell you something about myself. Right now, I am working in Asian Development Bank as an Education Specialist supporting the education development of Asia and the Pacific countries. The people I respect the most are Jung Ju-young, the founder of Hyundai company, and Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla (TSLA) and SpaceX. I admire their audacious dream and persistence.  My favorite philosopher is Friedrich Nietzsche, and Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius who wrote Meditations. Also, my favorite composer is Franz Schubert and my favorite painter is Rembrandt. I enjoy swimming and hiking and want to learn to surf in the near future.

 

My life can be thought of as either successful, or unsuccessful especially if I reflect on my original plan. When I was an elementary student, I liked to play the piano, so I wanted to be a pianist. But my father’s business situation worsened from when I was in elementary school, and I could not continue to take piano lessons. I wanted to be a scientist in middle school, but I had a very smart friend, and I became jealous of her, which made me lose interest. I wanted to be a diplomat in high school, but my parents thought a diplomat was not a good job for a woman and strongly persuaded me to go to a college of education and become a teacher. After I graduated from college, I applied for the examination to be a public school teacher, but I failed. I then chose to study to be a public servant. After becoming a public servant, I dreamed of working for an international organization.

 

There have been many dreams, changes, and failures in my life. However, in retrospect, I have lived through significant historical incidents in Korea and I have achieved many of my dreams. I had a chance to work as an education and science attache, a type of diplomat in the Korean Embassy in Russia, where I worked with many educators and scientists.

In fact, my failure to become a public-school teacher opened the door to becoming a public official, and thanks to this, I had the experience of working abroad. I have also taught children in a Sunday school for four years as a church teacher. I keep dreaming of playing the piano in front of an audience.

 

I studied in Gwangju, Seoul, and San Francisco, and worked in Sejong, Moscow, and Manila. I have traveled to more than 35 countries either on business or personal trips. I am always thankful to my country for having allowed me to work internationally. Despite not having an affluent family background, I continued my studies until university because of the support of great teachers. Working in an international setting, as a Korean citizen, has been a significant advantage thanks to our achievements throughout our history when working with other foreign colleagues and counterparts. I hope the students who read this article understand that we should know our history, be proud of it, and love our country.

 

If I may, I would like to give some advice to my young friends. First, don’t be discouraged by failure, which is very common for just about everyone. It’s only some very lucky people who don’t experience failure. Among those who do, only some people decide to try again. I want you to know that experiencing failure may take you in another direction and make you stronger and more mature.

 

I’d like to tell you, do your best to be a better person today than you were yesterday.  Most importantly, don’t compare yourself with others. I enjoy reading the works of philosophers, and you know, their advice on living makes me live my one-time life more meaningfully and energetically.

 

In addition, try to be kind to your friends, colleagues and family and practice tolerance, particularly with people you don’t like and unpleasant situations sometimes. Don’t be swayed from your convictions as you only have one life and don’t have time to be diverted.

 

Try to become a person with a cosmopolitan mindset. Try to learn and understand other cultures and global issues such as climate change, war, famine, etc. As you know, so many people in the world need help. To help them, it is necessary to study the subjects of your interest and gain a good command of English. The world welcomes young, competent, and internationalized Koreans who can contribute to making the world a better place. But, to most Koreans, English proficiency is a weak point.  The demand for skilled technicians competent in English in advanced and developing countries is increasing, so open your mind to the world and be ready to grasp opportunities in front of you.

 

Try to find things that you enjoy outside of work. Find a hobby you’ll enjoy for a lifetime and practice it. I recommend learning to play a musical instrument or please take up art, draw pictures, take photos, etc. These hobbies require practice involving patience and endurance to reach a level of proficiency. This is easier to achieve when you begin at a young age.

 

I can’t say that I am as successful in life as some of my friends or colleagues, but I can say that I am happy and grateful for what I have experienced and achieved. In most of circumstances, we can choose to be happy, even though we may not succeed in life as much as we may wish to.  Let’s do our best to achieve the greatest happiness in life and the most meaningful life we can. And if we can, let’s help others to be happy together. This is the advice I want to share with you. All the best to my lovely young readers.

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