Studying Abroad and Leadership

One SAF Student Global Leadership grant recipient reveals how studying abroad has shaped her as a future leader.

​In my opinion, leadership is not an innate ability just for a gifted person. Instead, it is open to everyone who puts effort to find their potentiality and strengths. Therefore, I think that a key to be a leader comes from a personal endeavour such as searching for one’s identity. Successful leaders, as far as I understand, are not the people who decide matters wholly on their own judgement. However, they should have an ability to empathise with others and be ready to accept others’ opinions, since we live in a community where an individual and others are seldom detachable. To sum up, I believe that good leaders need to mature not only their particular talents, but also communicative skills, in order to yield a result which benefits the whole society. In a study abroad year, this perception of leadership of mine has been strengthened, rather than radically altered.​

From a young age, I have been lucky to be able to travel around the world, meeting various people and interacting with different cultures.This experience has shaped me to become a more tolerant and empathetic person than I could have been without it. Therefore, studying the society people live in naturally became my interest, which is one of the basic and thrilling ideas of Sociology. To develop my interest in Sociology in a research-based environment, I decided to study abroad in the United Kingdom. It was worthwhile, for example, to participate in ‘empirical research on patriarchy’ there. Based on interviews with groups of families including mine, I could examine the limited role of gender under traditional stereotypes. Since then, I have started to face inequality and discrimination in society, which made think that experiences and studies at school should be practically linked and ultimately contribute to real-world problems.

Besides academic studies, I have been a part of the school’s musical and drama societies as an actorand a production assistantin ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Morir O No’. From this experience, I learned not only how to harmonise and communicate with a variety of people, but also to express humanity in a form of art. To me, theatre performance is more than just an entertainment, but a microcosm of society which gives significant messages to the audience. Additionally, as a human being, I always seek to improve myself and adapt in new environments. Learning, especially being able to communicate in foreign languages, has been my top priority since I was little. I have been interested in learning Japanese, French, German as well as English. Since my time in the UK, my English skills have improved consistently, especially in writing and speaking, as I needed these skills for social interactions. I hope to continue my study in the UK, to perfect my English skills which would allow me to communicate effortlessly with people in the world.

After getting the bachelor’s degree in sociology, I plan to continue my study at graduate school. I am open to new opportunities in life, but right now I hope to find an internship in broadcasting during this time in the future. It is my passion and interest to eventually get involved in creative media industry, and produce public media programs like TV shows, films and podcasts. In my opinion, media production should be based on an understanding of both people and communities, to help build a better society. I strongly believe that my experience at ‘FIE Student Global Leadership Conference’ will help me to develop my own specialties as well as social interaction skills, which are essential to reach this goal.

Sobin Lee
Host: University of Edinburgh
Home: Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
Major: English Interpretation and Translation