My interests in international education are closely related to a personal experience I had while I was a volunteer worker in Mexico in 2009. Before graduating from college, I spent two months in Mexico as a volunteer teacher in a community center in Maneadero, Mexico. Maneadero is very small rural village with insufficient electricity and water supply. I spent most of time with children who did not attend school. I taught Basic English, art and dance. As I became more familiar with them over time, I started to wonder why they did not attend school and study. According to them, there were no schools and they did not have any reason to go to school and study. However, it seemed somewhat contradictory that even though the children said they did not want to attend school, they liked to attend the community center programs. From this experience, I realized what I really wanted to do with my life was to establish schools (or educational communities) so all children can fulfill their dreams and have a future. At the same time, the trip provoked my academic curiosity as well; ‘what is the ‘appropriate education’ for those living in poverty? What form of education would be appropriate for them?’ The questions are what initially triggered my interest in international education.


Considering that the education is significant in getting out of poverty, I chose to attend to graduate school in order to learn about how Korean society and economy developed with education and how Korea can assist other developing countries in the education field. During my Master's program in Seoul National University I obtained rigorous training in sociology of education and Korean educational development.


While I studied at graduate school, I also worked as an educational development specialist with the NGO, Educators Without Borders (EWB) for two and a half years. As a project facilitator, I was in charge of projects. One of the main research projects was ‘Feasibility Study on the Construction of School in the Northern Industrial Park of Haiti’. In order to establish an elementary school in Haiti, my team conducted the field survey. Based on this, my team designed the curriculum and school model considering the social situation in Haiti. From this experience, I realized the importance of network within a community and increased my understanding of international development. In order to start a school, we needed to not only understand cultural, economic and social situation of the community, but also to consider the relationship with other neighboring schools. Also, we needed to understand the community members’ needs, expectations, and possible complaints. In the process of the study, I learned the importance of understanding community and creating a good relationship with community members. This experience made me realize that I need to study more about community development and education.


Hence, I applied to and finally joined CIE! I would like to combine theories and practices of international education studies in CIE. Since the CIE provides the combination of academic courses and active involvement in applied projects and research activities, I believe that working in CIE will give me useful perspectives and abundant experience regarding my interests. I am really excited to be here and meet kind and enthusiastic CIE colleagues.



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