Hailing from Yongin, South Korea, Seongsu Kim realized his goal of studying in the United States when he decided to attend the University of Iowa. The economics major is heavily involved in campus activities and is appreciative of the “strong bond” of Hawkeyes. Learn more about his experiences on campus below.
How did you choose to attend the University of Iowa?
Studying in the United States has always been my goal ever since I was in high school. I have done lots of research about colleges in the United States and realized that I didn't want to be in a crowded city for my education. I also had to be realistic about the tuition and living expenses - and I found the University of Iowa! Having our campus in a college town is one of the best things - I don't have to worry about campus safety compared to other schools located in big cities. It's easy to get involved in classes I'm taking and extracurricular activities such as clubs and student organizations. We do have a strong bond as Hawkeyes, I can feel it during the football game season with all the people wearing Hawkeye gear, cars with Hawkeye flags and stickers, and so on. (Yes, I do have a Hawkeye sticker and number plate holders on my car as well.) We do have so many excellent academic programs and courses as well. As a pre-business and economics major student, I can feel it every day when I walk into the classroom. Each course is highly connected to each other - you can have a broad idea about a certain subject and then gain a deep understanding by taking intermediate and advanced courses. The studying environment is also awesome, you can literally study anywhere on campus. So many studying hubs with sofas and desks in every building. If I want to feel refreshed, I can also get to so many parks around campus and enjoy the nature with academics. Everything is better in person than pictures and videos about our school!
Can you tell us about your job at the Multicultural & International Student Support & Engagement (MISSE) office?
Yes, I work as a programming assistant at International Student Support and Engagement (ISSE), which is one of the departments under MISSE. MISSE aims to promote diversity around campus by creating and supporting events for international students, minorities, and LGBTQ communities. We also work with lots of multicultural student organizations as well as multicultural houses around campus. I have been trying to participate in lots of events and clubs even though my first semester at Iowa was on Zoom due to Covid. With that experience, I am in charge of the iPeer mentoring program for now and planning on making more events with my awesome supervisor, Lin, and co-workers, Hari and Sydney. We usually talk freely about what we can do for the international students, and start working on projects when the idea becomes more specific and clear. If anyone has any event that they want on campus or if there is anything we can do to support you, please reach out to our team at 152 IMU or via social media and email.
From left to right: ISSE colleagues Hari, Lin, Sydney, and Seongsu
What is your involvement with the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB)?
The International Student Advisory Board (ISAB) works with other student governments on campus. We always think about what to improve regarding our direct and indirect experiences as international students. At our regular meeting, we come up with lots of topics and share our genuine thoughts to work on what we can do to fix any problems, how we should approach it, and who we should work with.
What other student organizations are you involved with on campus?
I am the treasurer for the Organization for the Active Support of International Students (OASIS), a multicultural social club at the University of Iowa. We aim to become a bridge between domestic and international students. Until the last semester, we met on Zoom every Thursday to get to know each other, do small activities, and be ready for the in-person semester. As treasurer, I manage our fund and all the finance-related issues. It's our tradition to have a multicultural showcase every year and we are beginning to work on it.
I am also joining HawkTrade as marketing director. HawkTrade is one of the biggest clubs at the Tippie College of Business. We share information, thoughts, and opinions about the market. With a presentation every week, we tend to find creative point of views to analyze about stock trading and have a deeper understanding altogether.
Do you have any favorite professors or classes that you’ve taken?
I have loved every course I've taken so far, but I would pick Principles of Microeconomics from professor Ben Solow if I have to. He is such a genius, the course might seem too hard in the beginning with low grades but as it goes on, you get to realize that you did learn more than you thought and end up with a good grade!
What are some of your favorite things about the University of Iowa campus?
I love the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) the most. Not only being my workplace, they also have awesome food in the basement floor. It is a bit pricey to eat every day, but I go there during my busiest day of the week to grab my favorite dish.
Seongsu Kim in Yongin, South Korea
Would you recommend the University of Iowa to other international students? Why or why not?
Definitely! The University of Iowa is such an underrated school considering all the environments and opportunities you can obtain. If there is an international student who is debating which school they should apply for and they do value a nice studying environment, community, and nature, the University of Iowa will be one of the best choices they can make. I don't think college should not be the ultimate goal of one's life - it should be another step for a new chapter of their life. You can have lots of experiences - either can be good or bad - but I do know everyone will become more mature after the unique experience they will have at our school. New York City or Los Angeles can't represent the whole United States. If you try to learn from your everyday life at Iowa, you will have such a great understanding about this country and their people. Ultimately, you will be able to find yourself.