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Personal Statement | GKS-G Scholarship 2024 | International Relations

hyoon 1 / -  
Feb 2, 2024   #1
* Motivations with which you apply for this program
* Educational background
* Significant experiences you have had
* Person or events that have had a significant influence on you
* If applicable, describe awards you have received, publications you have made, or skills you have acquired, etc.
* Others (e.g., extracurricular activities, community service, or work experiences)

A willingness to help others and play a crucial supporting role in maintaining and strengthening national ties has drawn me to study International Relations. I am excited by the prospect of helping institutions come to mutually positive results, as well as explore what the academic side of International Relations has to offer. Being a catalyst for positive change through diplomatic or other means would be a rewarding and exciting occupation. I would be thrilled to explore what helps nations develop and prosper, as well as their impact on the world stage, relating to economics, politics and more. My experience seeing the work of the Korean embassy in Latvia has helped me realize how impactful an organization like this can be in spreading a nations name and informing others of their culture and heritage. This type of work and events have inspired me to do the same, and help both nations - Latvia and South Korea - spread their name and influence beyond their boarders. What motivated me to apply for the GKS Scholarship specifically, are my ties to the Korean language and culture. Having spent a semester in South Korea as a part of an exchange program in 2022, my appreciation and knowledge about South Korea grew, and helped me improve my Korean language and self-study abilities. Knowing that the South Korean education system is renowned for producing competent and world-level talent is one of the reasons I instantly thought of Korea when applying for my master's degree. Another reason why I chose Korea, was because of the experience I've already had with learning Korean and learning about Korean culture. I believe that South Korea, being the home to multiple high-level universities, is the right place for me to pursue my graduate degree. The financial support that NIIED would provide would be a tremendous help that I can't overstate. The provided support would allow me to fully focus on my studies and research while in Korea, without the added stress of needing to find a job while attending lectures and focusing on university.

I believe that the people around you, and your environment shape you as an individual. It can decide both the trajectory of your future, and the type of person you may become. From a young age my parents instilled in me values of respect, humility, and doing and wishing good for others. I can confidently say that I attribute my attitude towards life and other people largely from how I was brought up. Entering my early teens, and very early adulthood I was instilled with proper work ethic and an emphasis on detail and quality. Doing internships, being a part of different teams and working in customer service have helped me realize the importance of these qualities. I believe, that these are the qualities that represent me as a person. I consider myself someone that can be trusted and relied on. In good faith, I can say that I would not be the person I am today without the help and guidance of my family, friends, peers, and mentors alike. My life has been shaped by the people closest to me, the way I look at the world and how I choose to deal with the problems I have come across in life. My work ethic, demeanor, and my will to better myself have become important aspects of my adult life. These traits have also helped me in my undergraduate studies. After my studies at a vocational high school, I enrolled in the University of Latvia, where I majored in Asian studies, with a focus on Korean studies. I chose Korean studies, because during my years in high school I came across the Korean language and culture, which interested me very much. During my three years in university I came in close contact with East and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. I attended courses on religion, history, culture, anthropology and linguistics. Lectures in these diverse topics helped me develop well-rounded knowledge of East Asia and it's development. While in university, I further developed my skills in public speaking, presentation, self-study and time management. Being in Humanities, we had a lot of written assignments, presentations, essays and projects where we had to work in groups. This helped me better work with people and developed my communication skills. Although they were lacking at first, I ended up developing a skill needed for my intended future profession. Because I was studying in university during the Covid epidemic, I had to stay home and attend lectures remotely. This made me focus more on self studying and paying a lot of attention during my lectures and seminars. I became more comfortable with presenting and speaking about my research and assignments. One of the lectures I specifically focused on was Korean language. While I had already been studying Korean for about 3 years before enrolling in university, I still tried my best to improve my skills and understanding of the Korean language. I also paid attention to classes and topics that I hadn't read about myself. Lectures focused on religions and history were more difficult for me in the beginning, but I still tried to keep up. I studied after the lectures on my own, to try and understand the topics discussed. Even though it might've been challenging, I kept studying, knowing that the topics discussed in these lectures would be very beneficial to me later on. I try not to take my education for granted, because I know that many people don't have the same opportunity.

I had many meaningful influences during my academic journey, mainly, my professors and lecturers. They provided support and endless advice when I went to them with questions. They were always very kind, warmhearted and forthcoming. They also initially informed me of events held by the South Korean embassy in our country. Because of their support and the information they provided I ended up participating in the 2021 Korean speaking contest held by the South Korean embassy. I prepared and revised my speech countless times. With the support of my Korean professor we practiced, prepared for multiple possible questions and went through the speech just until the day of the event. Before participating, I felt unsure and doubtful of my abilities, but I trusted my professors faith in me and applied. Little did I know, that all my effort would pay off and I would win the Korean speaking contest. I was overjoyed, and knew that going forward I should trust in my abilities. That same year I also participated in the Quiz on Korea event. It was very fun and a joy to see a couple dozen people participating as well. I enjoyed testing my knowledge of Korean culture and the Korean language. After the event that day, I knew that if I want to be more knowledgeable about Korea I had to put in more effort and study even harder than I had before. Events like these helped prove to me that there is always room to grow. Another very influential event for me was the opportunity to participate in an exchange program in South Korea during the first semester of my last year of university. Being able to experience South Korea and its culture first-hand was very valuable to me. I got to be in an environment unknown to me, and got to expand my knowledge of the culture I had studied about. I attended lectures, went to club activities, participated in university organized events and cultural events held by the university's Office of International Affairs. I also noticed myself developing as a person and expanding my world view while abroad. I became friends with Korean students as well as other foreign students, organized study sessions for students and participated in extracurricular activities. This helped me practice taking initiative and developed some leadership skills like people and time management, as well as task division and focusing on priorities. I attended multiple Korean classes where we practiced presenting and speaking in Korean, and also learned more about the culture. I helped the Office of International affairs produce promotional media content for the university and attended the university's student festival. I went to calligraphy and archery events and took part in taekwondo classes as well. Being in Korea, I also did a lot of research for my bachelor's thesis. Because my thesis topic was closely related to the Korean language, South Korea was the perfect place to be. I spent a lot of time in the on-campus libraries and did research with the books that I found. During this time I stayed in close contact with my university Korean language professor and my thesis advisor. They were an indispensable part in the writing of my thesis. Before leaving Korea, I made sure to get copies of the books I used, so I can continue my research while back home.

During my time in university I received multiple awards for the work that I did, and the events I participated in. Attending university, I participated in multiple Korea-related events. For example, a Korean speaking contest held by the Korean embassy in Latvia, two "Quiz on Korea" events, an online Korean essay contest(성균한글백일장) and a Korean cooking photo contest, organized by the Korean embassy. I also received the K-PIES scholarship during my exchange semester in South Korea. I won prizes for the Korean speaking contest and one of the "Quiz on Korea" events, as well as got interviewed as a participant of the Korean essay contest. As a result of winning 1st place in the speaking contest, I was also interviewed by my towns local newspaper. I also received a document of recognition from the rector of my university, for the work that I put into researching and writing my bachelor's thesis. While I was in South Korea I also received certificates for participating and completing an extracurricular Korean language class, and a Korean archery(국궁) class.

Knowing what life in Korea is like, to some extent, I think that it wouldn't be hard to adapt to living long term in a country away from home. I believe that I have developed skills that are important for independent life and study, while attending university in an environment different from my home country. My ability to communicate and interact with people has been underlined by the connections I've made with the Korean embassy in Latvia, and my time spent in South Korea, experiencing it's culture and adapting to every-day and university life. The personal development I've made through my work experience, stay in Korea, and university life has lead me to be eager to pursue a career in International Relations. My previous experiences have equipped me with skills and qualities that I consider necessary to further my education. If I were to get the GKS Scholarship it would be a tremendous stepping-stone in furthering my academic and professional career. It would allow me to gain personal benefit, in being able to pursue a career that I am ambitious about, and give me the opportunity to help Latvia and South Korea maintain and strengthen their existing diplomatic ties.
Holt  Educational Consultant - / 14,918 4798  
Feb 7, 2024   #2
Your paragraphs tend to overwhelm the reader due to the volume of information you try to cram into each one. It will be better if you divide the paragraph content into related focus points via a properly targeted discussion paragraph for each of your idea presentations. You have to understand, the essay becomes difficult to follow when you have more than 1 topic focus per paragraph. The reviewer will find it extremely confusing to follow the discussion you are presenting. It is important that you highlight these discussion points on a solo basis. Your application is interesting, but confusing to track. Try to revise the statement to be better targeted, allowing each idea to shine on its own through its own paragraph presentation.

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