From Sai Gon Junior Activist to Top SKY University

Running an Autism Awareness Club since Grade 5, Jee Won Kim has grown up as a strong and constructive leader in social justice activities and will officially step into one of the top SKY Universities (YONSEI University) in Korea next September.

Jee Won nurtures her passion and worthy experience of social activities during her 12 years of study at the Canadian International School.

We will look back at her learning journey at the Canadian International School (CIS) where Jee Won naturally gained more interest in society and global issues, beyond academic excellence. Next year, she will be majoring in Political Science and International Studies at Yonsei University in Seoul.

How did you explore your interest in social activities?

My school (CIS) definitely has a wide variety of platforms for students to learn and to explore, ranging from academic competitions, sports teams, and volunteering opportunities. During my time at CIS, I was a big part of the Global Issues Network (GIN) program. I have participated in GIN since Grade 5 by running a GIN Club called the Global Autism Awareness (GAA) Club. As time passed by, I naturally gained more interest in our society and global issues, which led me to join the GIN Council for 5 years in which I was the President for 3 years. Joining the GIN Council at CIS gave me bigger opportunities to participate in GIN events, such as hosting the Saigon GIN Conference 2017 and 2018 with over 400 participants from all over Southeast Asia, the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Fair, the Christmas Fun Fair, and the Spring Fair. 

What particular event inspired you the most? 

My favorite activity out of everything throughout my GIN experiences were the Saigon GIN Conference 2017 and 2018 and attending other GIN Conferences in Vietnam. By having the opportunity to host a great event with over 400 participants from all around Southeast Asia, I had the chance to meet such amazing and talented people from all around the world who had the same passion as me, and it was amazing to put our ideas together to come up with solutions for different global issues.

The process of planning this event was very tiring and difficult, but I have definitely learned a lot of things from this event, the mindset of always being prepared and learning to communicate with adults and businesses. 

What do you learn from that experience?

With a chance to interact with new people in a new environment, I have also learned that the world outside of CIS is also much bigger than what I am in right now. To create a change in this world, things have to be approached from different perspectives because different cultures have different interpretations and values in their lives.

When did you start to plan your university applications? 

CIS really support all students when it comes to university because they truly care for us and encourage us to pursue further education in the field that we are passionate about, rather than trying to fit it in terms of our academic abilities.

During my application, the CIS Guidance Counselors were my biggest support. To submit an application in Korea from CIS, it required me to get documents from both CIS and the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) for my Grade 12 year. As I was a student here since Grade 1, the counselors helped me gather all the important documents, certificates, volunteer hours from the TDSB in Canada. They also helped me by writing letters to the university any time there was any personal issue. University applications for Korea can be very confusing, but if you and CIS work together with all the deadlines, I promise you, it will not be that difficult.

Political Science and International Studies is the top major in Yonsei University, how did you prepare for this?  

CIS has a lot of courses that relate to social studies and as a student, that loves studying social studies, I really enjoyed all of my course selections throughout high school. Some of the courses that I enjoyed and really sparked my interest in this field were Civics and Careers, Business, History, English, and Challenge and Change in Society. All of these courses really focus on the world around us and our society, which I feel is great preparation for my program next year. 

Not only that, but CIS is a very diverse community with students from all over the world. CIS teachers are always trying to relate Canadian education to our own culture which allows students to not only focus on Canada, or Vietnam, or Korea, but also open themselves to the variety of cultures that exists in this world. Despite the COVID pandemic, the students always get the best supporting from CIS to obtain impressive results for graduation

To be outstanding in a Korean university

Sang Hee Kim - CIS alumni studying at one of the top SKY universities in Korea - confidently shared: “I had the opportunity to do many presentations, debates, and write essays, which came in very handy during my first semester in university. Students in Korea are not required to write essays or do presentations, but they are required to study from textbooks. Therefore, the experiences in CIS helped me especially during my mid and final exam season”.


University Prep Club for IB Students

Getting an offer from the University of Washington, Ju Eun Lim is pursuing Psychology shares:

“The real preparations began when I was in Grade 11 (IB year 1). At the start of this school year, our guidance counselor required all graduating students to attend University Prep Club. Each week, we practiced something that would help us prepare for this upcoming new chapter in our lives, such as checking up on our personal conditions (both mentally and physically) and making sure we had all the support we needed in meeting application deadlines, giving us lessons about the important aspects of university life, like alcohol consumption, budgeting, and finding balance for the mind and body.     

Moving forward, I hope to use the skills I’ve honed over the past few years to be involved in studies involving life and social sciences”.


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