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Dream to Manage Global ConflictsFrom The Dongguk Post to Johns Hopkins University

   
 
  ▲ Yun Sang-yeong ('08, English Language and Literature)  

/Photography from Yun Sang-yeong

Yun Sang-yeong is one of the 42nd reporters of The Dongguk Post.
He majored in both English Language and Literature and International Trade.
He is currently a graduate student at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

 

Q. How did you decide to join The Dongguk Post?

A. I wanted to actively participate in university life which I thought should be different from my high school years. When I was looking for constructive opportunities, a poster about The Dongguk Post’s caught my eye. Even though I was well-aware of the fact that working as a reporter would require a lot of time and effort, I believed that it would be worthwhile and therefore applied for The Dongguk Post without hesitation.


Q. What is the most memorable article that you wrote?

A. I guess it would be the first article that I wrote as a reporter for The Dongguk Post. It was about the outbreak of mad cow disease in 2008. I interviewed professors, and even followed the actual candlelight protest in Yeoido. Even though I was clumsy at everything, I tried my best to present the hot issue in an objective view.
 

Q. What were the most difficult and the most rewarding things that happened while you were the Post reporter?

A. As time went by and became a senior reporter, I felt that belonging to a responsible organization required a lot of efforts. I had to instruct the junior reporters, cooperate with the fellow reporters as well as the personnel in the Media Center. It was a difficult but a crucial time as we all had to develop our own leadership skills from each position. On the other hand, the most rewarding moment was when I first saw The Dongguk Post in a berliner format. Due to budget problems in the Media Center, we had to change the format from a magazine-form to a newspaper-form publication. I remember myself and my fellow reporters preparing for this change during the whole vacation, believing that this crisis could turn into a bright, new opportunity. We studied the design of The Guardian, a British daily newspaper, and read books that were related to it. Not only that, we visited the head office of Joongang Daily and asked for their design experts for help, regarding the letter fonts. Plus, I have to mention that we studied numerous records of The Dongguk Post. Through all these hard works, I cannot forget the moment I saw the first ever The Dongguk Post newspaper.


Q. What is the biggest present you received while working at The Dongguk Post for more than two years?

A. Being a member of The Dongguk Post family was the best present I received. Now, all the Post people, who had gone through tough work as reporters for more than two years, are taking a meaningful role in the society, and we do our best to help each other. I am certain that being a member of The Dongguk Post, which has a history of five decades, will become more and more precious as time goes by.

 
Q. What made you complete your term as the Post reporter, even postponing your duty to serve the military?

A. First, I felt a big responsibility to finish my newspaper work in The Dongguk Post. Second, I was not bounded by the idea of “postponing” the army service. There is no rule to join the army in the lower grades. I just thought that joining the army after I finished my term in the Post was the right time. All the better, my experience at the Post became a foundation for me to apply for interpretation soldier, which makes me think that “postponing” the army was the best decision.


Q. What are some aspects that you believe to have changed the most through working in the Post?

A. I became more active and enthusiastic and feel more comfortable in treating adults, which I believe to have acquired through a number of covers, interviews, and work experiences with the professors and the school faculty. Also, I remember myself going into lecture rooms whenever there was an event regarding The Dongguk Post and promoting the event in a loud voice. Such experience would never have been possible without the Post.


Q. You are currently studying at Johns Hopkins University. Did the Post provide you with any support for your study abroad?

A. The Post gave me a great amount of help. All the Post colleagues and the workers of the Media Center have been crucial helpers as they supported my boarding tickets to Washington D.C. and my achievement of Rotary Scholarship.


Q. You majored in both English Language and Literature and International Trade. What were you trying to achieve from double-majors?

A. I first majored in English Language and Literature in a wish to know more about humans. Then, I started majoring in International Trade when I became a sophomore. I wanted to experience a new field of study and felt the field “trade” itself was practical. It definitely became a good decision. Despite studying in the same campus, there was a huge difference between two lecture rooms of each college; Humanities and Social Sciences. For instance, the way each college students made presentation slides differed greatly as well. Through double-majors, I tried to develop my creativity and clarify what I was truly interested in.


Q. What was the reason you decided to go to graduate school? How did you prepare for it?

A. While I was in the military, I interacted with American soldiers. It was a new experience and allowed me to expand my interest in global security. After I came back to Dongguk University, I continued to develop my interest by taking lectures, such as “Global Development Assistance.” When I became a senior, I had to choose between getting a job and continuing to study. I thought if I immediately started preparing for employment, I will not be able to work in fields that I was truly interested in, and therefore decided to continue my study. I put a lot of effort into preparing for the TOEFL, GRE, and writing essays and applications. I asked many questions to professors and other friends who were preparing for graduate school too.


Q. Is your current study in Johns Hopkins University heading in the direction that you expected beforehand?

A. At first, I was expecting to study global security issues. However, there is definitely a difference between global security issues and what I am currently studying, which is Conflict Management Studies. While the global issues are closer to army strategies, Conflict Management Studies deals with what the UN does, such as international negotiation, mediation, peacekeeping, and development. For example, last winter, I went to Sri Lanka which is in its post-conflict period. Sri Lanka is an island country which experienced fierce conflict between the government forces and the Tamil Tigers. After the conflict, going through the process of reconciliation between the trouble parties becomes an important issue. In such process, revision of the constitution, election, organizing the settlement and compensation of refugees, and punishment of war criminals must be considered. In Sri Lanka, I could directly witness the United Nations, the United States of America, and the European Union actively working in Sri Lanka in order to give a hand in this process. Although I am doing a study which is quite different from what I expected, I am enjoying it even more.


Q. What are the most exciting and tiresome things about studying abroad?

A. The most exciting thing is that I get to learn new things everyday such as English, culture, and to take diverse lectures. Also, interacting with global friends and sharing ideas are the most valuable experiences. On the other hand, I feel tired when I feel I am falling behind other students. However, I believe that you cannot reach full learning without any despair or hardship. Only those who challenge themselves get to confront hardships and through that experience, people can truly grow.


Q. We would like to hear your future plans.

A. In the future, I want to work in diverse fields that deal with controlling conflicts. Last summer, I did an internship at a think-tank investigating how to maintain peace. It would be great to develop my careers in relation to that in Washington D.C. Also, working for newspapers that concentrate on global issues would be nice. Global organizations, such as the UN and World Bank, are always in my mind. In the long term, I wish to work for the reconciliation between South and North Korea before and after the reunification.


Q. Please give a message to the Post reporters and students doing their best to achieve their dreams!

A. First, I would like to say to our current the Post reporters that you are drawing a very crucial stroke in the history of The Dongguk Post. The fact that the organization has maintained its identity for a half century means that there has been a tremendous amount of efforts in its background. Surely, I do know that current the Post reporters are the most important ones who are leading The Dongguk Post at the moment. Please keep up the good work so that the Post can one day reach its 100th anniversary! Moreover, to all students, if you have a dream, I can say that you are already half-way toward success. The most importantly, try your best every time. You can do much more than just reading books. Meet a lot of people and listen to their stories. If there is any specific company that you wish to work at, you can write a letter and ask someone there to meet you. Do challenge yourself if there is anything you want to do!

Lim Ji-soo  jisoo0717@dongguk.edu

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