Please give me a hand everyone. I'll appreciate every support you give me.
The prompt: As you are well aware, Weissman Scholars are provided with additional resources to achieve their greatest educational, philanthropic, and/or global aspirations. Given the features of the Weissman Scholarship Experience—intellectual inquiry, mentoring and networking, extraordinary internships, entrepreneurial spirit, global citizenship, and leadership and teamwork—please tell us about a passion of yours and how you would develop it through the Weissman program.
It was a crystal clear summer night, and we were enjoying a light breeze in the air and the smell of freshly cut grass. Palm trees rustled as the crickets sang. While talking about future plans with my best friend Jihoon, I was inundated with a mixture of excitement and anxiety about living 5,000 miles away from home. Suddenly, Jihoon broke down in tears. I have never seen a friend cry so desperately.
Now, almost four years later, the same frustration remains inside Jihoon.
Having played soccer for more than ten years, Jihoon dreamed of being a national soccer player. However, the oppressive, one-track style of Korean education completely hindered his dream: it made his parents believe that studying was the only way to succeed. Hence, Jihoon's parents rejected the offers made to Jihoon by the few high schools in Korea that actually had soccer programs, while spending thousands of dollars to send him to test preparation institutions. Since then, Jihoon had been trapped on this one track, unable to pursue his passion.
Like Jihoon, many Korean students appreciate the academic opportunities they receive, but they also feel forced to abandon their personal ambitions. While some may praise this academic performance of Korean students, many are not aware of the reality of education in my country. The current Korean government maintains an educational method which limits the potential of its brightest students. When students are left with no choice but to sit at a desk for more than ten hours a day at school and study more in academic institutes until two in the morning every day, there is little motivation and opportunity for students to pursue, or even discover, their own dreams.
My own educational experiences in various places, as well as countless lessons from my recent internship and stories of my friends, have cultivated my passion for reforming education in my country. After studying in England and France for two months at the age of 12, I was shocked to see so many students looking forward to going to school every day. Through the distinct contrast, I began to see a dark perspective on Korean education. This gloomy reality gave me a vision: to allow students to strive for their goals by balancing requirements with the pursuit of other non-academic dreams. From myriads of tutoring experiences that I have received and given, in both Korea and America, I learned that the best way to educate is to immerse students in appealing subjects, thus motivating them to probe into the material on their own. Considering that students do better in what they like, I believe education should be something engaging and empowering, not painful and dull.
From the beginning of my seventh grade year, I tried to put this small ambition into practice by requesting a number of solutions and suggestions from the Korean Minster of Education, as a member of KEDI (Korean Educational Development Institute) and KICE (Korea Institute for Curriculum and Evaluation). Nevertheless, after observing the intransigence of the Korean government, I realized that I needed to proceed further on my dream in a bigger world. After attending an American high school for four years, I now understand Jihoon's desperate tears.
The years of experiences in America integrated my educational interest into larger passion. A number of advantages and drawbacks of American education led me to establish the online organization KOBE (Korean Organization for Better Education), sharing and listening to ideas for educational development of Korea. Consequently, with great fascination in Korean government, I obtained an internship opportunity at the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea in the summer of 2009. Although my role initially consisted of running such errands as organizing documents and answering phones, my responsibilities eventually included preparing for various hearings, writing political documents and taking care of voter requests. One of the most remarkable experiences was to cooperate with other staff members and congressmen in the Assembly. After discovering the dry, structured setting of the congressional office, I became the first icebreaker of hierarchical formality and stiffness between congressmen and staff members. I learned how a cheerful and amiable character can work as a welcome addition to any challenging environment.
Nowadays, numerous people abuse education as a way to merely become wealthy. Ubiquitous academic institutes, such as exam preparation academies demand students and parents to spend huge amounts of money, encouraging the extreme materialism of education. It is my goal to enable students to attain academic requirements without having to spend exorbitant amounts of money, while pursuing their non-academic dreams. Majoring in entrepreneurship does not mean that I desire to be a multi-millionaire. Rather, I wish to attain real-world experiences as an entrepreneur to observe how to utilize business as a model to promote a proper approach to education.
A successful entrepreneur is one who pioneers a significant change in an organization, unafraid to undertake any risks. Working at a school as a teacher can provide immediate assistance to individual students. While this is admirable, I long to do so on a larger scale. I will develop what I will learn and experience at Babson and beyond, through the support of the Weissman Scholarship Program, as a catalyst for more prominent, global accomplishments. I believe that we should be the beneficiaries of a broad education, not the victims of myopia.