The Chosun Daily interviewed our freshmen Matthew Mandell, an American student majoring in Conflict Analysis and Resolution, and Ilya Kim, an international student from Russia, on their reasons for choosing Mason Korea, the learning environment, and their future aspirations.
“George Mason University Korea has the unique advantage of providing more opportunities for each student.”
Matthew: I was admitted to George Washington University, American University, Georgetown, and the University of Texas at Austin. However, I decided against those schools because when I toured those campuses and talked to the students, I felt that the atmosphere and culture didn’t fit me well. I wanted to create my own educational path and have my voice matter in the classroom setting. When I met the professors and administration at George Mason University Korea, I knew that I had found an educational environment that met my needs.
Ilya: I was accepted to the elite Moscow State Institute of International Affairs (MGIMO) and the Communications program at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands. However, I chose the university that is likely to give more opportunities to proactive students.
“George Mason University Korea challenges the status quo and offers endless opportunities.”
Matthew: The Incheon Global Campus in Songdo, Incheon is a global economic city that houses various international organizations, foreign companies, and IT startups, which filled me with anticipation that I could do new things. As a Conflict Analysis and Resolution major, I receive a lot of guidance and support from relevant experts and professors and research centers on campus. I get two to three hours of feedback on my assignments from my professors outside of class, which are basically private tutoring sessions. Last year, with the help of my advisor, I presented the Gandhi Legacy as a student representative at the “150 Years of Gandhi” Symposium co-hosted by George Mason University, Yonsei University, the East-West Theological Forum, and the Indian Embassy in Korea.
Ilya: I wanted to choose a major related to global issues and decided that Mason Korea’s location is geographically strategic. Many scholars from all over the world conduct research in Korea and I felt that I made the right choice when I saw that many professors visit Mason Korea to give lectures. Even freshmen can have heated discussions with professors if they choose to. I constantly challenge myself because I believe I can do better if I try my best.
What are your career goals after graduating?
Matthew: While I’m not exactly sure what I want to do, I am certain that I will use the information I have gathered in my conflict analysis and resolution classes to help address community-level violence and trauma. There are a lot of very real issues around the world that get overlooked because they aren’t the big conflicts or wars we typically focus on. I want to help those communities that are suffering in silence and provide them with the expertise and empathy they need to heal. Everyone deserves help.
Ilya: I always thought that one day I would return to Russia to begin my service at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I am not entirely sure about this path just yet, but I want to keep growing in the meantime and am willing to answer if the Government calls for me one day. In the short run, I hope to pursue a master’s degree in International Development or pursue a career in a non-governmental organization that works with developing nations or conducts extensive research in security studies.
Who would you recommend Mason Korea to?
Matthew: I would recommend applying to George Mason University Korea to students who want to create their own path in life. If you are passionate and are willing to cooperate with those around you, I sincerely believe that George Mason University Korea will do everything it can to ensure that you graduate successfully.
Ilya: If you want to be challenged and constantly interact with professors, Mason Korea is for you. Once you are admitted, you have the chance to study in the U.S. campus for a year. You will be blown away by the amount of research done behind the walls here. As soon as you enroll at Mason Korea, you become a Patriot and have unlimited opportunities to pursue your passion in a friendly, enriching environment of fellow scholars.