Hello everyone. I'm applying for the KGSP 2019 through the university track to study PhD in Korea. Below is my personal statement for the scholarship. I hope to hear your opinions regarding the essay. I really appreciate all your constructive feedback. Thank you all. I follow the guideline to construct my essay as follow.
PERSONAL STATEMENT - why Korea?
In 2015, I was one of the contestants of the Korean writing contest organized by the Korea Foundation (KF) and Kookmin Bank (KB) while I was an undergraduate student majored in Korean studies. Much to my surprise, the judges were impressed by my idea of that Korea was 'a country of miracles' regarding the essay question: "Korea seen from outside". The response was based on my knowledge originated from Korean textbooks and 1 year experience as an exchange student at Seoul National University (SNU) in 2013. At that time, I perceived Korea as a living example of a country which made the incredible transformations. After the Korean War, Korea had evolved from one of the world's poorest countries to a leading developed economy in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as one of the world' best education systems in the 20th century. With an essay expressed my thoughts and a hope that Vietnam could achieve such amazing developments like Korea, I was chosen as one of the four Vietnamese representatives participated in the 2015 KF-KB Overseas Korean Language programs taken place in Seoul, together with a number of Korean and international colleagues from other Asian countries. Attending this program had completely changed my life. Initially, I planned to pursue a master of tourism degree in Korea as I was always passionate about travelling and promoting Vietnam's natural beauty and cultural heritage to the world since I was young. With my previous experience at SNU, it was undoubtedly that I could adapt well to the postgraduate study in Korea even though I decided to study a different academic field. I was confident with my educational background since I had been a top student with a GPA of 87/100 and a number of academic achievements in relation to Korean studies. However, I learned a valuable lesson about the constant self-improvement toward personal success after the trip to Korea.
During the program, the encounter with both Korean and international students who were very fluent in both Korean and English, as well as knowledge about their own country helped me realize the importance of improving my English proficiency and professional knowledge if I decided to develop a career in tourism industry. I satisfied with all the accomplishments without acknowledging my own limitations. I reckoned that I was not fully qualified to be a tourism profession by merely being proficient in Korean. Hence, I decided to put aside my GKS application and applied for the Master of Tourism program at Monash University (MU), Australia even though I was tempted to a postgraduate study in Korea. However, I have never forgotten the main motivation brought me to Australia, that is one day I will be recognized as a Vietnamese scholar specialized in Asia Pacific tourism and travel. I did not let a lack of tourism knowledge and research skills limit my future opportunities. I was actively engaging in several quantitative and qualitative research projects with professors from Monash University, including research initiatives regarding the international tourists' perceptions and satisfaction to regional Australia and the online destination image of Ho Chi Minh City perceived the by Korean tourists. The more I delved myself in academic research, the more I realized my eagerness of conducting doctoral research, specifically in relation to international tourist behaviour. In preparing for my doctoral study, I also undertook a range of intense research-based units, which trained me on writing research proposals and conducting independent research. I put all my effort to achieve an overall GPA of 3.5/4.0 and a conference paper presented at Griffith University before graduated.
To gain an insightful understanding of how to promote tourism in an international context, I worked for the Korean Tourism Organization (KTO) as a tourism ambassador at the two biggest tourism expos in Melbourne. I applied my field interview and quantitative research skills to assist KTO conduct a survey questionnaire at the expos. With the previous experience working in research projects engaged international researchers from Asia-Pacific countries, I was also able to promote Korean tourism to Australians and international tourists visited Melbourne using my multicultural communication skills. Thanks to the experience, I reckoned my strong desire to build my research career through achieving a doctoral degree in Korea. It is not only because of my personal attachment to the country which shaped my present academic pathway, but also my intention to gain an in-depth understanding about one of the most visited countries in the Asia Pacific region and as Vietnam's second largest source market in terms of tourist arrivals. I am motivated to apply for GKS program as I strongly believe that the professional skills I have gained over the past 2 years in Australia could help me successfully achieve a doctoral degree within the 3 years requirement. Moreover, my trilingual skills would also be beneficial in strengthening the strategic cooperation in tourism development between Vietnam and Korea, as well as promoting Korean tourism to Asia Pacific countries which is my main geographic research focus in my future post-doctoral study.
Many asked me why do I choose Korea instead of Australia. In fact, I always appreciate the skills that I have learnt from my postgraduate study in Australia and volunteer activities with the City of Melbourne and Consulate General of the Republic of Korea. I had seen myself to be more independent and responsible in every aspect since I had to work part-time to pay my own living expenses while in Australia. I have also received much support from my lecturers at MU. However, compared to MU, I took into account the greater number of publications on well-known tourism journals by Kyung Hee University (KHU)'s academic staff in the field of tourists' behavior which was the main focus of my postgraduate research. Being able to work under the supervision of academic experts from the field I chose will facilitate my doctoral research within my planned time frame, since I also hope to continue my post-doctoral study in Asia Pacific tourism. With all the above-mentioned factors, I believe I am a fully qualified candidate who can successfully achieve a doctoral degree of Global Tourism and Hospitality aT KHU, demonstrated by my ability to conduct independent research, my multinational communication skills and time management.