Sae Won Chung
'I really enjoyed the world-class experience with lots of different international key figures...'
Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics and Russian
Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Russian
PhD in European Studies
Research Professor, KU-KIEP-SBS EU Centre, Korea University, Seoul, Korea
As a result of his research in European Studies at UC, Sae Won is a Research Professor and general manager at Korea University’s EU Centre, managing events and research projects.
His role involves teaching EU studies courses to students, and he is also currently managing a project researching Asia-Europe relations in partnership with four other universities in the Pacific region, including UC, with a research grant from the European Commission (Jean Monnet Networks).
‘My career goal is to become a knowledgeable tertiary educator and researcher, in academia or the research industry,’ he says.
Sae Won had initially chosen to complete undergraduate studies in New Zealand for its quality of education and affordable fees. UC was the first university he applied to that gave him an enrolment offer, and looking back now, Sae Won says that UC was also the better choice because it ‘provided lots of opportunities’.
‘Foundation Studies was my first encounter at UC,’ he says. ‘Teachers from this programme helped me a lot and taught me how to adjust my studies at the University. I also enjoyed significantly the clean and green campus environment and research-oriented atmosphere.’
His Arts degree had a language focus, with Sae Won completing courses in French, German and his major Russian, along with Linguistics.
‘During my bachelor years, I had a passion towards learning European languages and cultures,’ he says. ‘I enjoyed everything – every course I studied, each lecture, was stimulating and exciting. I enjoyed diverse lectures about the different areas of Linguistics—sociolinguistics, historical linguistics and theoretical linguistics (syntax, phonology and lexical theory). For modern languages, the lecturers and tutors led me to learn and improve my language knowledge.’
With Russian being his particular interest, Sae Won went onto Honours study learning advanced Russian language, semiotic studies and lexical theory, with his research comparing the novel and film versions of Oblomov.
When it came to his PhD, Sae Won investigated the EU’s representation in South Korea’s media. His areas of interest looked into the EU’s global perceptions (particularly in Korea), soft powers and critical discourse analysis.
Sae Won was able to study his PhD with UC’s National Centre for Research on Europe (NCRE), with the help of an EUCN Course Fee Scholarship.
‘I wanted to learn more about Europe as a region and NCRE fosters students with lots of opportunities (internships, course fee scholarships and travel grants). Also, as an international student, the NZ government allowed me to study with a domestic rate, so I believed this was a great chance for me.
‘The most valuable part of my time at NCRE was networking and seminars conducted by EU experts and elites. I really enjoyed the world-class experience with lots of different international key figures related with the European Union (EU and its Member States diplomats to NZ, renowned scholars in that field) and students from many other countries (from China, Russia, Latin America and Europe). Your classmates will become one of the valuable connections worldwide.’
Throughout his studies, Sae Won was a student mentor to help international students settle at UC, and also tutored a Korean language summer course.
‘The summer course was the most valuable experience for me during my PhD years. Summer courses are intense but it is worth taking in order to get your degree on the fast track.’
He had also stayed in UC accommodation while he was here, in both University Hall and later Ilam Apartments, which he ‘especially enjoyed’ about life at UC. ‘I felt like the room in Ilam flat was a home away from home,’ he says.
All in all, Sae Won looks back fondly on his time here in New Zealand and at UC.
‘The nine years of my life as an international student was really one of my most valuable experiences,’ he says. ‘It was really precious for me to look back on my years in NZ. I definitely recommend others to study in NZ.’