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Our Kingo Diplomats

On September 7th, 2018, the third and final diplomacy examinations were held to recruit the next diplomats for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of Korea. From this examination, there were a total of 45 successful candidates, six of whom were proud Kingos.

Every student that enters a university comes with great expectations, hopes, and dreams. For many Kingos, even just entering the university itself might have been a proud moment in their lives. Kingos may have their own path that they wish to pursue, and to some, it might be entering the MOFA as a career diplomat. Six Kingos, who dream of becoming future diplomats, shared stories of not only achieving their dreams but also persistence and perseverance. Indeed, considering their hard work, the tears and endless nights of studying that went into this, their stories are far more than just another success story. To understand the depth of this achievement, I think it may be meaningful to describe what these Kingos went through to achieve their results. Jiuen Kim, one of who recently passed the diplomacy examination, shared the story of her motivation behind the desire to pursue a path in diplomacy.

"I remember my ethics teacher teaching us about Korea’s neighboring countries when I was a middle school student. He said that the Japanese were nom, the lowest form of the word “human” in the Korean language, and that the Chinese were saram, which referred to normal humans in Korean language, and that we Korean were bun, the highest form of the word. Hearing this, I was shocked for two reasons. Firstly, I was shocked that my ethics teacher said such a biased remark. Secondly, it was because I had a friend whose mother was Japanese. This event triggered my motivation to pursue a career in diplomacy. Before this experience, I thought diplomacy was an area only for the elite. I realized, however, that diplomacy could affect how people thought in their everyday lives. Therefore, I wanted to be the person who could remove foreigners’ prejudice regarding Korea as well as Korea’s prejudice regarding other countries like Japan. Then I thought I wanted to realize this dream as a diplomat for South Korea."

Future Kingo diplomats were members of the highly intensive diplomacy training class at SKKU called Oehyeonjae. Oehyeonjae is a student-run education facility for Kingos who plan to take the annual diplomacy examination, overseen by Professor Yun Bee from the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy at SKKU. Many Kingos at Oehyeonjae have different majors, varying from the Political Science and Diplomacy to the College of Liberal
Arts. Oehyeonjae students enter Yanghyeongwan near the Humanities and Social Sciences
Campus every morning from Monday to Saturday and study for the three major subjects:
international politics, international law, and economics. For some Kingos who are considering entering Oehyeonjae, a student studying at Oehyeonjae shared his daily schedule.

"It can be demanding to juggle both assignments and to catch up with lectures at Oehyeonjae. I recommend Kingos who consider entering Oehyeonjae to take the minimum number of courses as possible or to finish university early so you can focus on your diplomacy examination studies. After all regular classes, I return to Yanghyeongwan and study until the class starts. After class, I study for about an hour and go over what I have learned. Even though it may be challenging for Kingos to study with this schedule every day, I wish good luck to everyone who wants to prepare for the examination to be a future diplomat."

Kingos Studying at Oehyeonjae

This excruciating study schedule for the preparation for the three-part diplomacy examination is what our six students have gone through and what other Kingos studying at Oehyeonjae are enduring. To them, like many other Kingos, their time at university is of crucial importance and may represent the crossroads in their lives. Truly, the lives of Kingos training to pass the diplomacy examination sound challenging. The process may be so painstakingly mundane and exhausting, and there is no guarantee of whether to be chosen or not even at the end of the third examination. Another Kingo who was selected to be a diplomat was kind enough to give a word of advice to current and future Kingo diplomats and to other Kingos who are working hard to reach their own dreams.

(korea.net)

"I think everyone in life has a “star” in his or her mind. Regarding this, there are two kinds of people; one would be those who try to reach the star in their minds, and the other would be those who just look at the star from below. Trying to reach the star can be a very painful process and require hard work. When you start your journey, you may realize that the star is much further away than you expected and that you are much smaller than you thought. In addition, the process may be far longer than you first thought, which can be sometimes excruciatingly frustrating. No matter how hard you try, you might feel that there is no guarantee that you can reach the star of your dreams. Nevertheless, I advise you all to give all of your strength to reach your stars, at least once in your life. Just looking at it does not solve anything; it remains as just a beautiful imaginary landscape in your heart. I believe that the whole process of reaching out and experiencing the suffering just to get to your star will be a great foundation for your life and for your future. Most importantly, only those who have tried it once will be able to challenge, without hesitation, the journey when a new star appears later on in their lives. So, Kingos, do not be afraid of the fall, just try to reach your star!"

As one of Kingos who is trying to reach the stars in my mind, I would like to congratulate the six diplomats and wish them the best for their future endeavors and their future diplomatic careers. It might be delightful to hear from the Kingo diplomats about their adventures in foreign lands. To all Kingos and especially to some of them at the special diplomacy training class, Oehyeonjae, I wish them the best for their studies and best of luck for the upcoming exams in the following year. I think that no matter how big or small Kingos’ dreams may be, like what one of the six Kingo diplomats said, it is important to keep reaching for the stars of their dreams.

Kevin Huh  jhuh@skku.edu

<저작권자 © THE SUNGKYUN TIMES, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>

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