International Student Parent Spotlight: Soon Dohkgoh and Jeongsik Ko (South Korea)

Soon Dohkgoh (mother) Jeongsik Ko (father)
Jeongsik Ko and Soon Dohkgoh 

It isn’t being taught how to study that’s important, it’s being directed to understand why. This is a virtue that goes undiscovered by many, but it’s apparent in University of Iowa international student Hyun Jin Ko of South Korea. Ko describes the many virtues of her parents and they are quite impressive.  

Ko’s father, Jeongsik Ko, is a professor at Pai Chai University in South Korea and a former visiting research scientist at the University of Iowa. Her mother, Soon Dohkgoh, is a senior research engineer for the Korean Institute of Defense Analysis (KIDA). Leaders in their church and recipients of multiple government awards for service, these University of Iowa international parents have bestowed much more than academic philosophy upon Ko.  

“Both of my parents are fascinating as individuals,” she wrote. “They have integrity, strong self-awareness, and great intuition. However, the best and most unique qualities emerge from my mom and dad’s partnership. I learned persistence from my father and the goals to pursue with persistence from my mother.”

Ko wrote that her father has varied interests outside of his work. He is active in many sports and finds pleasure in learning new endeavors.  

“His sport activity not only enriches his life but also activates other family members,” Ko wrote.  

On the other side, her mother has helped her to understand why studying is important as she described a day she asked for a pen as a reward for a good test score. “Next day, a fountain pen arrived at my house,” she recalls.  “I was bewildered by the present. I have not yet taken the exam. My mom told me that motivation for studying should not be dependent on material goods or services I earn from studying.”

Pride seems to shine out as a common feeling as well as motivator amongthose parents and children who illustrate the excellence of our international families.

“I love my parents and am proud of them,” Ko explained. “I will study harder, experience more, and become more social [at] the University of Iowa to make them proud of me, too.”

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