“Never give up on yourself and never give up on your dreams”
• • • Kamilah Dreux, a graduate student of Korea University majoring in Korean history • • •
Q: How long have you been in Korea? What brought you to Korea?
A: Thank you for inviting me to do this interview. I have been in Korea for about 6 months now. I originally came to Korea in June to work for a Korean history organization, the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK). But in July I realized I’d been accepted into the Korea University graduate program for history. So, I chose to stay and do my graduate studies in Korea.
Q: You speak Korean so fluently as if you were Korean. How did you learn Korean and why?
A: I originally learned Korean by myself because I wanted to study Korean history. When I was really young, my grandmother taught me about some aspects of world history in which Korea was the center of the conversation. I was very interested in expanding my knowledge beyond the western sphere of historical research. So, I started to teach myself Korean and I could read Korean research sources as well.
Q: I hear you study at Graduate School of Korea University majoring in Korean history. How did you decide to study Korean history?
A: I have loved to learn about Korean history from a young age. When I was young, I used to read novels about first person experiences from the Korean independence movement and other aspects of Korean history. As that interest stayed with me as I grew, I naturally wanted to major in Korean studies and history.
Q: Which part of Korean history are you most interested in? Why?
A: The Korean independence movement is my favorite aspect of Korean history. That’s why I began studying Korean history in the first place. I thought that the history was not only rich and vast, but I also deeply respected the bravery and overall philosophy of many famous Korean independence fighters. I am currently studying the Korean independence movement for my graduate thesis. I’m also planning to get my doctorate in Korean history with a specialty on the independence movement as well.
Q: I know you have already done some activities or work regarding Korean history and culture. Please tell me about it.
A: During the summer, I worked for VANK. While I was working there, I did research on the Korean history and the independence movement. I was able to make videos for them on their YouTube channel and write articles on their website about independence fighters during the Japanese occupation. I worked for them when I was a senior at the University of Hawaii at Manoa for Korean history. I did an internship for them during my capstone year.
In high school, I was able to work with a Korean history institute based in the US as well. During my time working for the institute, I wrote several articles on the Korean independence movement and I studied ancient Korean history as well.
Q: What is your plan in the future? What are you going to do after you finish your study at the graduate school?
A: When I finish graduate school at Korea University, I want to apply to get a doctorate in Korean history as well. I’m planning to apply to Korea University and the University of Hawaii. I also want to stay in Korea long-term and start my career out here. I plan to research Korean history continuously in my career and go for other paths like music entertainment. However, one of my biggest dreams is to work for an institute or organization such as the Independence Hall of Korea as a researcher.
Q: What do you think most important in life or what is your motto?
A: I feel like one of my biggest mottos in this life is to never give up on myself and never give up on my dreams. It’s really hard to stay focused on what we want to do because the world is filled with different opinions. Personally, I’ve always had to struggle with having doubts about myself because of other factors and opinions. However, I feel the best medicine for that is to just never give up and keep striving for what I really want to do even if it’s difficult. I definitely know it’s not easy, but I feel like it’s very valuable to never give up on what I really want to do
Q: What would you like to tell young Korean people?
A: I would tell young people not to give up on their true dreams and what they want to do in their life. I would also tell them to take other people’s opinions with a grain of salt because sometimes other people just don’t get the vision. No matter what that vision is, if they have confidence in it and make a game plan to achieve it, I feel like it is infinitely possible. A lot of times we are forced to think within a box or a formula of success; even though there are infinite plans and realities that lead to success beyond what we’re taught in school or what other people can teach us. So never give up on your personal dreams no matter what they are.
I want to tell all of the readers of this newspaper, listeners, and fans of Korean culture pop culture that it is 100% all right to do differently than what they were taught in terms of a career or something that they want to do.
Finally, I’d like to tell this. There are infinite opportunities for what you can do. Please look out for my name in the future and I’ll make sure to say hi in videos and articles about Korean culture and history.
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