02/13/2017 Interview > Staff
Foreign Student Ambassador to HYU
Rick Punt (Office of International Affairs)
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Living in a foreign country requires a lot more than being just curious. As Punt put it, “you must get ready to get out of your comfort zone”. From being a student to an employee at Hanyang University (HYU), Rick Punt (Business, Master's Program, '17) has accumulated numerous experiences here, having been an exchange student at HYU and now working for the school in taking care of the exchange students himself.
Career at Hanyang
Rick Punt first came to HYU in 2011 as an exchange student from the Netherlands. He discovered the Hanyang International Summer School (HISS) before the regular semester started. All Punt knew about Korea before he came to the country was North Korea, their nuclear weapons and other negative preconceptions. “I thought South Korea would be no different than third-world countries. I was shocked to see that it wasn’t.”
Before he came to Korea, Punt read and analyzed the reports that other students had written on Asian countries. “I wanted to feel the Eastern Asian society for myself, and Seoul seemed to be the best,” he said. As his exchange student period ended, Punt grabbed the chance to work as an intern at HYU's Office of International Affairs.
After his internship was over, Punt went back to the Netherlands to graduate. He came back to Korea in 2013 and wrote papers on Hanyang University international promotion strategy. He is now in charge of HISS, the largest school program in Korea. Last year, 1,700 international students have participated and Punt currently promotes the program to universities overseas. Punt also deals with the winter school as well which goes on for one month. Having finished his MBA course and graduating this month, he is now a full-time employee at HYU.
A multitude of experiences
From an exchange student to an alumnus of HYU, and furthermore being a member of International Affairs office, Punt acquired diverse experiences during his stay in Korea. There have been special cases during his MBA program being the only foreigner. “I was always the center of attention and since the classes were in Korean, I didn’t have confidence presenting. Chinese letters were the most difficult part,” added Punt. During his exchange student years, he says that there were only positive memories of his friends from different countries, who have all been cordial. Through a lot of club activities, Punt was able to get along with people and learn Korean at the same time.
Some of the work culture that Punt has experienced in Korea is quite different from the Netherlands. Other than the office hours, he says that there are times when his whole team works overtime. “If it was just me working alone, I wouldn’t have done it. The whole team gathering and eating food, talking- that’s the motivation that keeps me going,” added Punt. He says that the merits in working at HYU is that there are a lot more opportunities compared to other universities. “HYU provides a lot more events that shows the Korean culture. Some of my other friends that used to study in other countries later moved to HYU,” said Punt.
Having experienced the hardship of being an international exchange student firsthand at HYU, he knows the best about those students. Punt even takes care of practical things such as applying for insurance, getting a phone and doing online-shopping for international students who haven't quite adjusted to the Korean life. Punt wishes to open up all-in-one services that could make the lives of international students easier in Korea. There are no concrete future plans for him just yet, but Punt lives in the moment. "The work is good, the people are amiable, and I'm having a great time here- I don't know how long I'm to stay, but right now I'm enjoying myself enough."
Kim Seung-jun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Moon Hana
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