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Scholarship designed by me for my dream
  • Writer : KU TODAY
  • Hits : 381
  • Date : 2018-02-01

Scholarship designed by me for my dream - Scholarship policy overhaul to nurture intellectuals with problem-solving abilities


Hee-kyeong Ko (Department of Japanese Language and Literature ‘11), Eun-ji Kim (Department of Korean Language Education ‘16), Seon-ju Lee (Korea University Business School ‘14)


At a time when the power of thinking gains more importance than ever, the most needed education is something that helps students develop their problem-solving abilities. Through its scholarship policy reform,
Korea University discontinued the Merit Scholarship program previously granted to students with outstanding GPAs,
and instead, it started to support those equipped with critical thinking skills under the Truth Scholarship,
a program-based scholarship. We met some of the scholarship awardees who were proactive in pursuing
their dreams and planning their lives accordingly.

“Thanks to the KU Get Away Project (GAP) scholarship,
I had a chance to meet female engineers in Silicon Valley.”
- Hee-kyeong Ko (Department of Japanese Language and Literature ‘11)


“My dream is to become a software engineer. At the same time, I want to be a sort of supporter of female engineers, who account for a relatively small portion in the IT industry, to help them overcome the difficulties and beat the odds in their workplace. That is how I joined the KU Sorority last year and participated in big and small projects for female students in the schools of natural sciences and engineering. One day, I saw a poster recruiting participants for the GAP program by chance. The phrase ‘We will take you to where your dream is,’ written on the poster, struck a chord with me. Without hesitation, I applied for it and luckily got accepted. The program took me to the United States where I had a chance to experience the innovative culture in the IT industry and also learned what sorts of institutional strategies were implemented to foster female software engineers and protect them. In particular, I did not have to worry about money or feel a financial burden thanks to the GAP scholarship, which offered approximately 2.5 million won for airfare and lodging expenses.”
“Before I left, I contacted mentors with whom I wanted to meet when I got there. Upon my arrival in Silicon Valley, I succeeded in meeting all of them: Leah Cole and Mittal Sarika at GE Digital, Dawoon Kang, CEO of Coffee Meets Bagel, and Tan-yeong Kim, a prototype design engineer at Yahoo. Their passionate attitudes gave me so much strength. I learned that even in Silicon Valley, women are outnumbered by their male colleagues, which naturally leads to the creation of a male-centered culture and marginalization of the female culture. In the States, female junior high and high school students are taught that IT is not a masculine field so that they will not hesitate to enter the industry. Had I not had such an experience, I would have never been able to put my idea into action to build up a network for female science and engineering students. Right after coming back from my trip to Silicon Valley, I started to lay the foundation for my network. Small projects and activities for female students are going on now. The first step we should take is to recruit female students from here and there. I learned one more thing from my experience. I became aware of the existence of scholarships provided by the university, and I was amazed by the variety of programs. I will keep my eyes on them and apply for another opportunity.”

“Like graduates, undergraduates can do their research when supported by scholarship programs.”
- Eun-ji Kim (Department of Korean Language Education ‘16)


“I am an undergraduate student, but thanks to the KU Undergraduate Research Student Scholarship, I was granted a chance to do in-depth research on what I am interested in. During the first semester, I did research on the characteristics of Korean poems and songs written in the Honam (officially called Jeolla-do) region during the early days of the Joseon Dynasty. In the second semester, I have a plan to apply for the scholarship again to further develop my research. To be specific, I am thinking that I can take a Neo-Confucianist approach to the interpretation of ‘Nine Songs of Kosan’ written by Yi I who is also known by his pen name Yulgok.”
“I was a member of an academic society related to Korean classics when one of my professors advised me to apply for the KU Undergraduate Research Student Scholarship. After being selected as one of the scholarship awardees, I received 500,000 won for research expenses two times. Another 500,000 won was granted after the submission of my final research report. I had leeway in allocating the scholarship fund.


I used it to print booklets in bulk or as travel expenses for field trips. Being selected as an awardee was a sort of impetus behind my research. Things that I thought were almost impossible to deal with were gradually accomplished. I felt that I was not alone and had someone who supported me. Of course, there are many difficulties in doing research all by myself, but having a sense of responsibility as a scholarship recipient makes me work harder and never give up.”
“Many versions of the Korean language and literature textbook used in high schools include ‘Nine Songs of Kosan.’ When I become a teacher one day, my research that I conducted in my college years will allow me to give authentic knowledge to my students. Based on my research experience, I also think that I will be able to teach my students about the attitude needed for learning. I can tell them about the pros of self-initiated learning and the cons of cramming. As the scholarship program for undergraduate research students only exists at Korea University, I feel very proud of being a student here and tell my friends in other universities good things about the scholarship. I hope that scholarships can be continuously granted to those who are passionate for anything regardless of whether they have an outstanding GPA or not.”

“I was an entrepreneur in China when I was working as a member of the KU RPP, negotiating with one of the top 4 global companies in China. The KU RPP Scholarship gave me something greater than just money.”
- Seon-ju Lee (Korea University Business School ‘14)


“I went to Shanghai as one of the first members of the KU Real Project Program (RPP). During our stay in Shanghai, we, the KU RPP participants, were expected to run a project together with our mentors who were working for the top 4 global companies in China: Alibaba, Tencent, Ctrip and Fesco-Adecco. Our team was assigned to a project that aimed to encourage Tencent to introduce its mobile payment platform, WeChat Pay, to the Korean market. All of our team members in the program received financial support from the university under the Truth Scholarship, which covered our expenses such as airfare and living costs.”
“Unlike other scholarships under the Truth Scholarship, the KU RPP Scholarship was granted to a team not an individual. Our team members did not know each other before but were able to become close quickly as we shared a similar interest. Of course, there were difficulties in mediating different opinions among us. Narrowing down one specific topic was not easy either as each one of us had a specific interest in different issues. The whole process of mediation, coordination, and compromise allowed us to learn more about the real business world.”
“Before participating in the program, I was not an organized person and often failed to find a basis for my argument. Working on a team project with new people in a new place made me think in a more logical way. Above all, the biggest benefit for me was to witness the decision-making processes done inside a global company. Thanks to this experience, I can now draw a realistic picture of my dream to become a CEO of my own company.”
“Some of you may wonder if it is necessary to go to the actual places in foreign countries despite the numerous internships or project opportunities offered in Korea. Being in the actual place while working on a project gives you a special advantage. In China, for instance, searching information on the Internet was extremely difficult as a large amount of information is censored or controlled by the government. We had to visit a company and had a face-to-face meeting with the person in charge to receive practical advice. In doing so, we had a chance to live and do business like a real Chinese person. Of course, all of these things would have been impossible without our mentors who helped us with everything from living in China to setting the right direction for the project. If I am lucky enough to have another chance, I will definitely apply for a team project without any hesitation.”

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