07 Aug 2017
Younghee’s Lasting Memories Built on Friendships
MS KIM YOUNGHEE
Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)
The University of Newcastle Australia
Graduated in 2011
After she graduated, Younghee had a 2-year work stint in an accounting firm in Singapore. It was good work experience for her. Now, back in Korea, she holds the position of Accounts Executive in a company handling accounts and related services such as GST filing and payroll.
Younghee started with the foundation programme in PSB Academy when she arrived in Singapore in 2008. The reason she gave for coming to Singapore to study was what other international students similarly expressed.
“Singapore is well known for its safety whereby parents are less worried for their children, and it is one of the nearest countries to go to which has a highly recognised education system.”
One aspect about studying at PSB Academy is the notable presence of an international conglomerate enrolled in the various academic programmes. These students hail mainly from neighbouring countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, India and China. Korean students make up a small portion and have been steadily increasing over the years.
Younghee was from one of the early batches of Korean students at PSB Academy. She may be soft-spoken and have a small build but she was not abashed just because the other students spoke differently. Nor was she afraid to approach them. An international campus was the right environment for her as she was curious to interact with and learn from students of different nationalities.
“I joined school activities and tried to group myself with students of different nationalities when doing assignments. I still remember that my friends helped me in maths during the foundation year so that I could pass with good grades. My friends were great listeners. We shared problems and helped each other because we did not want our families to be unduly worried about us studying overseas.”
To make friendly conversation with international students was one thing, but it was another when it came to working with them. As a member of Student Council 2009/10, Younghee was expected to work closely with council members from different backgrounds and nationalities. Frustration often set in when trying to understand each other. Perhaps, this was part of the culture shock she was going through and it was unavoidable. Despite the challenges, she considers the time spent as a student councillor to be one of her most memorable.
“I would say that the main challenge was thinking from different perspectives due to differences in religions, cultures or family background. At times, during Student Council meetings, things were restricted from being implemented due to differences across cultures. It could be difficult to compromise when I had to make a decision. You just need to be more open and try to understand where they come from. But that was how we learnt about each other. I still remember that the best part was when we went and tried out the different country cuisines after the meetings!”
Like many new international students, Younghee experienced the loneliness of being away from home in the beginning. She thought that there must be a better way to get over the loneliness, not just for her but for her fellow Korean students too. This led to the formation of the Korean Student Association which she cited as one of her major achievements.
“As a minority group in PSB Academy we needed each other for support and to share our problems. I took it upon myself, with the support of other Korean students, to establish the Korean Student Association in February 2010 and became the first President of KSA. The formation was partly inspired by the other International Student Associations which organised activities to allow students from their respective nationalities to get to know each other better. Through KSA, we built the bond among the Korean students and had the chance to share Korean culture with other students.”
“We organised workshops to teach other students basic Korean language and culture. KSA also visited the Singapore Children’s Society to share about Korean culture, food and language to the children.”
The few years that Younghee spent at PSB Academy were very fulfilling for her.
“The school has more meaning than just studying and getting good grades. I made many good friends whom I still keep in touch with. With their support and encouragement, I was able to do more than what I could do alone during my studies at PSB Academy.”
She could not help but be reminded about a particular student whom she befriended. Younghee found a special friend in Suzanne, a Malaysian and a fellow student leader.
“Suzanne is a great friend whom I can learn from. She is always sincere towards people. When she wants to help you, she really means it and cares for people like her own family. I really enjoyed school with a friend like her. And she was the proudest person when I finally graduated!”
It is said that one of the best parts of a person’s growing years is when you are a student. Judging from Younghee’s experience at PSB Academy, she can certainly attest to that!
Article by Jeffrey Yap (Student Affairs & Industry Engagement)