The end of students’ spring semester was the beginning of a momentous journey for some people. Kim Jeong-yoon (Politics & Diplomacy, 4) and Sun Ju-yearn (’03, International Studies) were greeted with the notice of their success in passing the diplomat state exam, which is held annually selecting only 35 people nationwide. After having a vacuum period for the last two years of no Ewha student passing the diplomat exam, this year, Ewha was granted with two new diplomats this year. With the sudden but delight news, the Ewha Voice got to interview the two who overcame the trial of the goshi (a Korean word that indicates the nationwide state exam) and who are about to take on the onerous job of career diplomat.
For both Kim and Sun to ultimately pass the diplomat state exam, there were some hidden direct and indirect assistance that they got from Ewha. Related school courses, academic club activities at school and advice from several teachers and professors all nurtured their knowledge, enabling them to strategically pass the exam. Kim said that she attended various subjects including law, economics, and politics and confessed that taking these courses helped her to build up a legal, economic and political mindset. “I was especially aided by the economics class I took at school since economics is felt to be the most difficult subject by many goshi students , said Kim.
For Sun, all the courses she took since her freshman year helped in some way for the exam. Sun said that the unique curriculum of Ewha’s Division of International Studies (DIS) facilitated her to be more at ease in preparing for the exam. “The state exam tests various fields of knowledge. In fact, diplomat state exam is reputed as being the most wide-ranging among major government exams. So interdisciplinary learning emphasized in DIS was a definite advantage,” said Sun.
In addition, club activities in which they participated also fostered their knowledge and spurred their acute sense of resolution in preparing for the exam. Kim worked as a member of Ewha Society of International Politics (ESIP), a club that belongs to her department, for two years. “In the ESIP, members have weekly debates and presentations on their reading of classical politics books. This regular practice allowed me to broaden my political mind,” Kim said. She added that annual academic seminars helped her to broaden her political capacity to the real issue areas, not just remaining focused merely on the theories.
For Sun, playing a part as a debater in the club and joining several debate tournaments helped her a lot in developing a logical mind. “The time I spent as a parliamentary debater in EDiS, a debating club in my department, helped me tremendously,” said Sun. “There is nothing like engaging in a day-to-day debate training to stimulate your mind and hone your argumentative skills. Quite unexpectedly, it also proved to be a great asset when I studied for my first-phase exam which tests, among other things, logical thinking,” said Sun.
Before having an official interview for the third-phase exam, both Kim and Sun said that they received a lot of help from Ewha Career Development Center (ECDC). “To me, the advice from teacher Yoon Mi-ja at ECDC helped me a lot,” said Kim. Yoon provided her with an overall guidance ranging from costume, attitude, and presentation skills to countenance, voice and etiquette. Furthermore, Yoon gave her the actual interview exam questions given in the administrative exam and also possible answers which aided her in the real interview.
“ECDC provided me with useful tips and guidance on how to present oneself for an important interview. Being evaluated by an expert helped me gain objectivity and a sense of composure in an interview,” said Sun.
Although both Ewha graduates passed the same exam, the direction of their career path is expected to be different from one another. “I have an ambition to work as a trade negotiator I am good at this and this is the area I can truly exhibit my real potential,” said Kim. Kim added that she was highly inspired by Professor Choi Won-mog (Law), who is one an expert in trade negotiations. “While studying for the exam, I got to refer to a lot of book works and research articles by Professor Choi. And by this process, I have come to have such a rightful ambition for myself,” said Kim.
760wkun.e best of my abilities,wha but also the ECC, Sun is, for now, undecided. “I am interested in many fields – in region-specific diplomacy as well as trade issues and also security issues. I have so many diverging interests,” Sun said. “I would continue to learn and to contribute to the best of my abilities. This is only the beginning.”
To cheer up and give positive spirits to students who are in the midst of preparing for numerous state exams, the recently turned diplomats gave some heartfelt advisory remarks. “You need to start with a firm determination that you would be far away from parents and leave everything else except studying. By that, you can quickly recover from slumps and spend time faithfully,” Kim said. “If I can do it, so can you,” said Sun.