Minsang Eom, B.Sc. Business Administration, class of 2022, has received the DAAD Prize for outstanding achievements of foreign students studying at German universities. Minsang impressed the jury with his excellent grades, his intercultural background and extracurricular commitment both at and outside KLU, e.g. babysitting, teaching Korean at a language school and helping an elderly lady with her everyday tasks. In this interview, Minsang shares more of his story and activities at KLU.
What activities and projects have you been involved in at KLU?
My first activity at KLU was playing football with the KLU Football Club in 2019. Sweating together with the boys on the football pitch was a great feeling and made me feel like I belonged to the group. Later in the same year, I gave a speech at the Think Big Event on the recommendation of my two lovely friends, Magdalena and Nathalie. I wouldn’t have done it if they hadn’t encouraged me. After the speech, the KLU Marketing Department asked me to shoot a 73-question video promoting KLU life on YouTube. Afterwards, I continued to support KLU’s Marketing Department in several SNS projects, including the Hygiene Concept Video. Not only shooting videos as an actor, but also working as a student assistant for Prof. Alexander Himme, was sometimes challenging, but I gained a lot of practical skills that I wouldn’t have learned in classes. This means much more than “just” being an assistant.
Is there one activity that you would call your favorite?
All the projects and activities were entertaining and educational for me, but I would choose the speech at the Think Big Event as my favorite. Giving a speech in front of roughly 200 people is a unique experience that doesn’t happen often in life in my opinion. I was also happy to share personal stories from my own military service, which was the hardest time of my life.
What did you like most about these activities?
I liked the activities mostly because of their uniqueness. These are things you can’t pay to experience. These activities are experiences that you can only have when you’re a student at KLU. The support from all the staff, professors, and fellow students from around the globe gives you confidence and unforgettable memories.
How did you manage to settle in so quickly and easily at KLU and in Germany? Did your social activities help you?
It’s now my 5th year living abroad alone, and my 2nd country. From my personal experience, I strongly recommend that foreign students make plenty of friends from the country they are living in and accept their culture and way of life. If you do this, you’ll feel you belong to the community, and you’ll automatically gain the confidence to participate in various activities around you. Social activities help you to settle in Germany, too, but the reverse is actually more important. First, be open to learning and accept the differences between different people. Then, the opportunities to take part in social activities will follow – just like when my friends Magdalena and Nathalie recommended that I give a speech at the Think Big Event. Opportunities are always there – you just need to seize them.
You were also awarded a “Deutschlandstipendium” scholarship to study at KLU – did this influence your activities?
Yes, absolutely – especially in terms of encouragement and the feeling of belonging to the community. When I received the “Deutschlandstipendium,” I felt the difficulties I had to go through alone abroad were recognized and rewarded. I felt welcomed by Hamburg, people in the community and the country. Often students from abroad have difficulties adjusting to the new environment, with different people from various backgrounds. The scholarship essentially told me: “Minsang, we know how difficult the steps you had to go through were. We support you, and are cheering you on in what you are doing in our society.” With this support, I wasn’t afraid to try out many different activities. This was the greatest effect of holding a “Deutschlandstipendium.”
You are completing your bachelor’s degree next year – do you already have plans for the future after that?
My current goal is to work at a global logistics and trade company and to be responsible for supply chains and international trade. I’ve just completed an internship at a defense company in South Korea. Initially, I wanted to complete an internship at a logistics company in Hamburg, but COVID-19 unexpectedly made that impossible. From this experience, I learned that you often can’t live according to a plan. Therefore, I do plan for the future but don’t make it too specific, as I want to be open to any opportunities that come my way by the time I graduate, regardless of where they are, and in what field. Plans can change and be modified flexibly. One thing is clear – I want to learn from my work, see the global logistics market from a company’s perspective and how competitive the market is, and overcome the barriers to the company’s growth.
The DAAD Prize
The DAAD Prize for outstanding achievements of foreign students studying at German universities was awarded for the third time at KLU. It is endowed with 1,000 euros and aims to give faces to the many international students at German universities and link them with their stories.