Freshman Profile: Jinsol Kim, CMU-Q

Like many other local school students in South Korea, when Jinsol Kim graduated from high school, he was unable to speak or write English, let alone think of studying in an all-English American school. Today, he is a student at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, studying Information Systems.

“I really wanted to get accepted into this school,” said Kim. “I contacted students in Education City through Facebook, who were Korean, and asked them to help me prepare my transfer application.”

Kim, now 25, is a transfer student from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in South Korea, and started school at CMU-Q this August. At his former university, he studied English Linguistics, where he started learning the English language.

Kim is still not comfortable with conversing in English and is finding it hard to adjust to an American education, but he is adamant on not letting it affect his college experience.

“I don’t want to hide myself […] I know my English is not so good, so I come to my friends [and say] that okay, my English is not so good. I really want [them] to help me.”

Kim said he knows his lack of proficiency in English will be a hindrance during his time at CMU-Q, but he is hopeful after having met the faculty and fellow students.

“The faculty members are ready to help me. Whenever I visited their office, they try to understand and help me [get] accustomed to the surroundings,” he added.

 The open dialogue with the professors is one of the things Kim really likes about Education City.

“I experienced two years of college life in Korea, but this is very different. Professors [at CMU-Q] try to communicate with the students and students [are] also eager to give their opinions,” he said. “In Korea, nobody speaks. Instructors say something and they [students] just note [it] down.”

Kim also served two years in military camps in South Korea, as part of a mandatory national service required of all South Korean males. According to Kim, the restricted nature of military camps makes him value the freedom students have at Education City.

 “There is no freedom in the military camps. We sleep together; eat together. It is not the place which forges creativity or something like that,” said Kim. “But I think those experiences forges the ability to conform to the community [and teaches us to] follow the rules.”

 Kim said he is committed to making the most out of his university experience. He plans to join the football team, start a bowling club and learn about Middle Eastern culture as much as he can.

 “During my college life, I want to know what I really like and what I really want,” he added.

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