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07/30/2018 Interview > Student


Samer Samhoun, a Young "Korean" Entrepreneur and Consultant

From an innocent 17-year-old to a talented expert in a foreign land


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All those who watched the Korean TV show, ‘Abnormal Summit’ might remember the handsome fellow Samer Samhoun from Beirut, Lebanon. After eight long years, Samhoun (Division of Mechanical Engineering, ’13) also graduated with a Hanyang Global Startup MBA in 2015 and took his big leap forward into the Korean society. His life-changing journey started upon his arrival at the Incheon airport.

Prior to his rather abrupt decision to come to Korea to study, Samhoun had no knowledge of the language or culture of the country whatsoever. When he received a scholarship from the Korean Government Scholarship Program (known as the NIIED), he took it without really knowing what to expect. Samhoun first began his life as a Hanyangian at the Hanyang University (HYU) language school. There were about 220 foreign students with scholarships in Korea, and they all had to take both Korean and English exams. Their exam scores would decide which university they were to attend. “I know for a fact that I ranked low on the Korean test, but the HYU Office of International Cooperation (OIC) team still picked me to be one of their students,” said Samhoun.
Samhoun with his friends on graduation day
(Photo courtesy of Samhoun)
Of course, as it is a challenge for many foreign students, Samhoun also went through some difficulties in the beginning. “Although my university life was a blast, I did have some hard time getting along with some Korean students, given the language barrier, but the foreign community was quite nice. It was a whole new system and I even ended up becoming one of the first batch of Global Saranghandae, the school’s honorary ambassador group,” said Samhoun.

Samhoun’s career in Korea started during his senior year at HYU. After being recruited by Samsung S1 to be part of their Task Force Team, he began to expand his work scope as a consultant for startups, Middle-east related businesses, and also the medical tourism industry between the U.A.E. and South Korea. He is also an entrepreneur as he runs his own translation and interpretation service company. “I am the only foreigner that is a part of the policy forum for foreigners that initiates research and debates, while including various professors and officials from the Ministry of Justice where the effort to make foreigners’ stays in Korea more simple and easy.”
Samhoun on the Abnormal Summit
(Photo courtesy of jtbc)
As for his experience on Abnormal Summit, Samhoun noted that when he was first recommended to be featured on the show, he refused as he wanted to focus on his work and MBA. However, he ended up giving it a try, and left impressed. He recalled his experience of the first few years in Korea 10 years ago, and noted how the TV program seemed to have brought a positive effect on Koreans. “The TV program addressed culture and diversity with deep conversations. 10 years ago, a lot of things such as immigration laws and the banking system were difficult. Even just getting a phone was a hassle and doing anything on your own was impossible. But at the end of the day, I still did enjoy sleepless, safe and convenient Seoul.”
Samhoun as a successful and growing consultant and entrepreneur 
(Photo courtesy of Samhoun)

Samhoun is now an active member of the Korean society, waiting for his Korean citizenship to be announced within a year. After that, he plans to expand his business and have the chance to just talk to students, passing on his experiences and stories as a foreign student making his way up in Korea. “I am still at a young age but financials are behind me at this point and want to strive to give back and build a stronger youth in Korea, the one main power Korea has for its future.”
He ended with a note for fellow HYU students - “Be proud of your university and of being a Hanyang student. Know that every experience you had and will have is priceless and will never come back again. Our university is not only educating us, but it’s helping us grow and form a strong society, and it’s a fact that the person buying a coffee at HYU plaza or asking you for help today might be on Forbes tomorrow. So always stay active within your community and stay connected. Study hard, party harder, be grateful, and love truly.”

Park Joo-hyun
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