Yonsei's Diversity Appealing for Interdisciplinary Student
Kate Lessard (American/Tufts University)
In the STEM fields, it is all too common that students and researchers focus so intensively on their research, digging deeper and deeper into their increasingly specific lab work, their lab easily becomes an island set aside from other STEM topics and a world apart from the social sciences. Yonsei’s recent initiatives aspire to curb these tendencies and encourage otherwise disparate faculties to mingle and create a virtuous cycle of synergy and “extelligence.”
Kate Lessard is a chemical engineering student from Tufts University in Massachusetts, USA. From an early stage in her academics, she recognized the need for diversity in study and thought. In her primary school years, she dedicated time to extracurricular activities, such as gymnastics, all the while excelling in her schooling. In university, she sees merit in interdisciplinarity, and decided to major in mentally stimulating chemical engineering while perusing her interests in the fine arts as a minor.
Kate’s decision to come to Yonsei was based on the same reasoning that diversity yields greater depth and understanding. After having heard of k-dramas like Boys Over Flowers, Kate’s curiosity drove her to investigate why the Korean wave is garnering so much interest. Watching the fantastical story line, she wondered, “Is this be a realistic representation of life in Korea?” She decided to come and find out for herself.
Researching Yonsei’s programs, she found that the Sinchon campus offered all of the courses she needed for her major with the added perks of an open and comprehensive selection of electives from across faculties. She was attracted by the level of interaction between Korean and international students during off-campus cultural tours and that the YISS summer program encourages students to be involved in extracurricular activities like k-pop dance to perform at the annual President’s dinner.
Kate decided to spend her summer break at Yonsei to learn as much Korean language as possible before going back to Tufts, where Korean classes have yet to be offered on the course catalog. Describing the difference between studying by herself in America versus in practical use in Seoul, “The availability of practice material is overwhelming,” she says. With excitement, she described how meeting average people on a daily basis and practicing her speaking is more engaging than her experience learning French in high school. She only worries that she might unwittingly offend the other party with a boorish gesture.
Multiculturalism and broadening one’s knowledge of other ways of thinking, albeit through language or through other fields of study, are keys to success in today’s globalized society. It enables creative thinking and collaboration—skills and experiences which Kate hopes to bring back to Tufts in the spring.