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Lse Personal Statement - Korea Trade-Investment Agency (kotra)

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Upon my completion of the two years of military service at the border between two different Koreas in June 2009, I continued my studies primarily focusing on the improvement of my command of English. The general academic advancement achieved in the given semester, in turn, enabled me to take the opportunity to work at the Manila office of Korea Trade-Investment Agency (KOTRA) for nearly six months until July 2010. In the light of my diligence at work in Manila, I received a job offer from the Saudi company located in Saudi Arabia. Because my academic interest had once been drawn on the Middle Eastern affairs prior to my national service, and the desire to seek for more knowledge was yet fulfilled, I accepted the offer. However, not long after my entry, Arab Spring occurred and aggressively proliferated.

The ensuing insecurity thereby compelled my departure from Saudi Arabia. Subsequently, after taking the spring semester at my university upon my return back to Korea, I went to Singapore Management University on the exchange program in order to broaden my academic interests which had been inclined to the international studies and English. On the one hand, I took a variety of courses such as statistics; on the other hand, I attended a wide range of events held by financial institutions and worked for a government organization as an interpreter. In short, since my discharge from the military service, I have worked in four different countries for over two years while maintaining the high grade level above 4.0 out of 4.5 for the two semesters at my university.

In retrospect, my foregoing career would not have been achieved without my vast interest in international affairs. Even in my adolescence, my concern that was fixed on the foreign affairs threw myself into the effort of learning foreign languages and international studies. In this respect, I entered the foreign language high school in order to study Mandarin. Similarly upon the completion of my secondary school in 2005, I decided to study English literature and international studies at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. In hindsight, I could have chosen quantitative studies considering my competent CSAT (College Scholastic Ability Test) score in mathematics that placed me higher than 96th percentile of the entire applicants—later this firm base in mathematics was reinforced again in military while working as a quasi-artillery shooter, the position requiring the use of various functions. However, my thirst for the better command of foreign languages and for the further knowledge of the international relations was uncompromising enough not to be quenched.

Innate though it may seem, my strong academic inclination to the foreign language and international studies was the outcome of the legitimate reasoning. Thomas L. Friedman in his book “The World is Flat” contends that the course of business process outsourcing would not only expedite the outflow of the livelihood from the developed countries but also reshape the global economy. Along with his idea, Korean economy has experienced the unprecedented outflow of industries, in practice. In other words, I happen to face the acute competition not only with tens of thousands of national intellectuals but also with the tens of millions of global talents. In this regard, I could not just specialize in what I had been already good at. Instead, I had to improve what I relatively lacked compared to that of the global talents to fairly compete with them and to survive this global competition. Moreover, it seemed quintessential to understand what had taken place both in the world politics and in the global economy in order to successfully adapt to the swiftly changing world and to envision how it would alter.

My first concern, as a result of the foregoing contemplation, was to embody the eloquent command of English which is the chief medium of the global communication. Even though I loved reading across the genres, my main purpose of studying English, thereby, was to improve my communicative skills. Hence, while studying intensively the grammar as well as the various classes of literature, I actively sought for the opportunities to practice my English. Thus, in two years since my discharge from the military service, I turned out to have worked at several companies and government agencies in four different countries (Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and South Korea) primarily as an interpreter.

Besides, I have also highly valued the significance of the international studies as the means of reviewing the international relations and the world economy for the better preparation for the future. Similar to my methodology of practicing English, I did not only stick to the textbook for my study. For instance, once I was researching on the development cases of several developing countries based on the text materials, I figured out that only handful among them achieved the successful growth while many of others underwent the severe economic downturn. Among the recent development history of those countries, the case of once the second richest country in Asia, the Philippines, and rags to riches case of my country seemed to make the obvious contrast. For the purpose of the further research on the foregoing subject, I applied for the joint internship program between KOTRA and my university and specifically to the Manila office among over a hundred overseas offices.

Being tasked to conduct a market research and make a regular report on the general Philippine



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