Chu Yi-young is an Ewha graduate who majored in the Department of International Office Administration and International Development Cooperation (IDC). She was selected to work for the Mission of the Republic of Korea to Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Indonesia as a youth representative for six months in 2019 before COVID-19 broke out. Anyone with Korean citizenship aged below 29 and has completed over four semesters in university are eligible to apply to this program.
Chu was born and raised in Indonesia and is fluent in English and Indonesian.
“I grew up in an environment where Korean and Indonesian cultures were constantly interacting with each other and it made me dream of becoming a diplomat one day,” Chu said. “I wanted to be a bridge between the two countries.”
Initially, like many undergraduates who aspire to work for international organizations or ministries dealing with foreign affairs, Chu could not make up her mind on which field she wanted to specialize in.
“Double majoring in IDC has helped me get to know more about myself as the major is designed for students to explore diverse courses and create their own curriculum.”
IDC offers courses from majors such as Political Science & International Relations, Public Administration, International Studies, Social Welfare, and more, and even a chance to visit international organizations abroad each vacation. However, due to COVID-19, currently all overseas trips are temporarily cancelled. Above all, Chu mentioned that being able to meet and create connections with people that have similar interests is the biggest advantage of majoring in IDC.
“Youth representatives usually participate in various events held by the social and cultural department. You can also conduct and participate in various events depending on the situation. Especially in 2019, events such as Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) photo exhibitions and Korea-ASEAN quiz contest were held to celebrate the 30 years of Korea-ASEAN relations.”
However, the most memorable event Chu recalled was the 30th anniversary reception where 1,000 guests from all 10 ASEAN countries were invited to commemorate the relations.
Planning the event from A to Z in person, Chu was able to adapt to the local culture and learn about the importance of public diplomacy and soft power.
Another unforgettable moment for Chu was inviting the Korean ambassador to her alma mater, Jakarta Korean International School, for a career lecture.
“I had a strange feeling returning back to my high school one step closer to my dream job and possibly enlarge students’ scope of international diplomacy.”
Chu highly recommends students interested in public diplomacy to visit the country they are interested in rather than merely collect information through online platforms like YouTube.
“There are certain things you can only learn when you actually live in that country. If you’re sure which country you want to work in the future, you must learn the language to become an expert of that country.”
Unfortunately, the youth representative program is temporarily closed due to the pandemic. However, Chu encouraged to keep visiting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Career site and stay informed of recent news for opportunities to come in the future.
Lastly, Chu shared her future plans with Ewha Voice.
“My ultimate goal has always been striving to make a better world. There are so many areas I am currently interested in like education and poverty eradication. But for now, I wish to become an expert in ASEAN and Indonesia.”