Lee Yun-hee is the commerce officer in charge of cultural and educational cooperation at the Quebec Government Office in Seoul. The office provides programs for Quebec organizations and corporations entering the Korean market and connects them to related institutions.
After studying French Language and Literature at Ewha, Lee went to France and the United Kingdom, hoping to engage in trade and commerce.
“I thought that being fluent solely in French was not enough to stand out among other job seekers,” she said. “That’s why I decided to learn business English in the U.K. as well.”
Lee noted that she was fortunate to meet an exposition manager in Daejeon, where she worked for three months right after returning to Korea. While helping out at the exposition, she became acquainted with a French businessman and had a chance to work in a French trade company for two years.
“I was able to learn about the overall export and import system while working in the sales department. The business language that I learned previously while studying abroad came in handy,” Lee said.
After building her career, she was employed by the Quebec Government Office in Seoul, where she had been working for 23 years. There, Lee’s main task was connecting groups in Korea and Quebec related to culture and education.
“I usually promote or invite the performing groups from Quebec and help them prepare the performance,” Lee added. “Quebec is especially renowned for art circus like the ‘Circus of the Sun,’ so we invited some famous art circus teams this year. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, most performances scheduled for September and October were cancelled.”
She commented that Quebec also has pride in their exceptional sense of style.
“Fashion and color developed specifically through their French background made it easy to distinguish Quebecois with their outstanding taste in fashion.”
Other than culture, Lee puts effort in supporting educational exchange between the two states as well.
“In terms of education, I promote active exchange among university organizations in Quebec and Korea by signing MOU, a memorandum of understanding,” she said. “The parties can then exchange research work and invite lecturers every year.”
Lee also said that the Korean drama ‘Goblin’ played a major role in making the country known to Quebec and drawing their interest.
“Previously, people in Quebec didn’t know a lot about Korea, so we had a hard time arranging a place to shoot the drama. As the drama gained popularity in many countries, the number of people visiting Quebec increased. Not long after, we got a call from the Relations Internationales et Francophonie where they expressed their surprise about the drama’s popularity.”
When asked about the preparation needed to work in the Quebec Government Office, she emphasized the importance of tolerance. Since dealing with people living in other countries requires understanding of the cultural differences, she believes the ability to embrace those differences is one of the biggest challenges given to people engaging in international affairs.
“Dealing with people of other countries requires understanding of the cultural differences. Language is important as well, but most people find it more difficult to accept others’ cultures as they are,” she said.
Lee further explained that she believes the ability to embrace differences is one of the biggest challenges given to those engaging in international affairs.
“There are some difficulties because we need to fulfill the needs of both sides to successfully promote the events,” she concluded. “Nevertheless, I think of myself as a bridge between the two sides and feel proud when an event I host turns out to be a success.”