- [Student Interview] Overcoming Challenges and Cultivating Career Dreams at Yonsei December 07, 2023
Underwood International College CDM & CLC Student Yuki Otoshi from Japan
Name: Yuki Otoshi
College: Underwood International College (UIC)
Major: Culture and Design Management (CDM)/ Comparative Literature and Culture (CLC) (entering class of 20’)
I made the decision to study at Yonsei because I felt that the majors offered at UIC best fit my desired career path. I have been attracted to the arts since a young age, experimenting with various forms such as orchestra, choir, theater, and fine arts in my early years. In college, I wanted to pursue a field related to my passion for the arts while obtaining a practical degree at the same time. When I stumbled upon UIC’s Culture and Design Management major, I knew immediately that this was exactly what I was looking for — a degree that allowed me to improve my artistic skills in a way that is useful to the corporate world. While I was also accepted to a well-known university with a similar all-English liberal arts program, it was ultimately UIC’s unique major selection that prompted me to embark on a journey here.
Additionally, I was enticed to study in South Korea because of my Japanese background. Having spent my earlier years in the States, I finished my high school education at an International Japanese high school where I studied amongst other students who lived abroad. This experience pushed me to learn a third language to further become a global citizen. I chose Korea in particular because of my interest in the political tension between Japan and Korea. This is a topic that many Japanese citizens are reluctant to confront, so I decided to make the most of my personal interest by living in Korea to understand the root of such tensions.
For the first year and a half of my life at Yonsei, I lived on the Songdo Campus. Living in the dormitory helped me bond with many friends whom I hope to keep in touch with even after graduation. I remember sharing a lot of memories with them, from simple things like having dinner together all the way to planning larger trips outside of the Incheon area. All of these experiences have shaped the person I am today, and I owe Yonsei for helping me grow. I learned a lot about who I am and who I want to become as time goes on.
Nevertheless, there were challenges as well. During my first semester at Yonsei, I had a difficult time coping with the new environment, especially because I did not have a solid support system yet. For the first time in my life, I let my grades slip - I was struggling mentally and found it difficult to catch up to the workload assigned to me because I lacked motivation and time management skills. At times I also struggled because of the different working styles of international and Korean students. This was particularly a problem since many of my courses involved semester-long group projects. But, through experience, hard work, and patience, I was able to learn how to better cooperate with students of many different nationalities and was even able to pull my grades high up enough to receive Honor Roll.
I am currently involved in two student clubs at Yonsei, the Global Career Society (GCS) and the International Business Initiation (IBI). At GCS, I am the acting Vice President and PR Director, where I help operate the club activities and manage the club’s social media channels. Having been a member of the club for nearly two years, I have gained insightful knowledge on how to prepare for my future career and had the opportunity to work on my management skills by overseeing different teams within the club. At IBI, I am a member of the Product Management/Marketing team, and throughout the semester, we have been researching various marketing strategies implemented by leading companies across industries. Being part of IBI has provided me with the opportunity to enhance my foundational knowledge of marketing — a skill set I believe will accelerate my career.
While these two clubs may not necessarily be “fun” clubs, I have made many meaningful connections, which has made my life at Yonsei one of the best times of my life so far.
After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in design or marketing — ideally both. I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to intern at two different companies throughout my senior year, which has helped immensely with my career preparation. I am currently interning at a startup company where I have been working as a design/market research intern. Hopefully, this experience will help me land a job in Korea.
For foreign students looking to study in Korea, networking will be key to career preparation, especially if you plan to work here. Yonsei offers numerous resources to assist you, so don't hesitate to take the initiative by signing up for events or reaching out to your academic advisor. Many professors are eager to help, and even if they are unable to assist immediately, sending an email expressing your interest never hurts. It may be challenging to find the right people initially, but they are definitely out there, so don’t hesitate to start searching!
Yonsei is a university that can provide you with many unique opportunities. There is a wide variety of majors/courses and even social activities you can choose from to live the university life that you envision for yourself. The students here, especially at UIC, are also all very interesting people that come from many cultural/social backgrounds from which you can learn a lot. It is a great place for personal and academic growth, as long as you make use of the opportunities provided to you.
Interview by student reporter Jo Beomsu
* Yonsei University's Underwood International College (UIC) is a highly selective, English-language, four-year liberal arts institution, which combines the intimate, elite learning environment of an American-style liberal arts college with the faculty and resources of Korea's top private research university. UIC students choose from an extensive list of classes conducted entirely in English and taught by a distinguished group of international and Korean scholars. With a student body drawn from around the world, UIC focuses on ensuring that its outstanding students have the intellectual foundation to become exceptional leaders capable of changing the world for the better.