The First to Pass the National Diplomat Candidate Test
The first to pass the test from Hanyang, Kim Shin-bi
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The National Diplomat Candidate Test records a notorious competition rate of 33.6:1. Since the first recruitment in 2013, Hanyang University has not been able to announce any joyous news. However, this September, Kim Shin-bi (Department of Political Science and International Studies, '18) passed the final test and named herself as the first to pass the National Diplomat Test at Hanyang.
Q: First and foremost, congratulations on passing the test! How does it feel to become the first Hanyang student who pass the Diplomat Candidate Test?
A: Happy and truly grateful for all the support I received! I also feel a lot of responsibility as the first Hanyangian for how well I perform, which could influence the perception of the next Hanyang applicants.
Q: Why did you want to become a diplomat?
A: I started having a vague dream of becoming a diplomat in high school when I was studying Korean-fusion music composition. I became interested in making Korea known to the world through music, then naturally, in the broader field of diplomacy. I wanted to become a person who could introduce Korea to the rest of the world.
The applicants of the diplomat test need to pass four stages of various assessments. Because of the sheer amount of requirements one needs to be outstanding in, it takes on average about four years to pass the test. Kim said she started from knowing "literally nothing" in 2016, when she entered Hanyang University's Korea National Diplomatic Academy Class. She spent three years at Hanyang and other academies before achieving her goal.
Q: What was your daily routine like during those three years?
A: Students of the Hanyang class spend the majority of their time at the study room in the College of Social Sciences. At the time, I woke up at 8am and came back to sleep past 12am. This year, I tried to maintain the schedule of waking up at 6:40am and coming back at around 12 to 1am to sleep at 2am.
Q: You passed the test after three years of studying, achieving a relatively early success. Are there any test tips you could share?
A: There are three tests. First of all, you need a high score in English, a second language, and Korean history to be qualified to take the test. The first test is a written test on the constitution and Public Service Aptitude Test. Even if you are not fully ready, I recommend you to have a go at the first test and see how it goes.
The second stage consists of five essay exams, which may seem overwhelming at first because they require ten pages of writing within two hours. Following the academy curriculum, and their years of know-hows, helped me get a sense of how to prepare for the test. The last test is a series of interviews, consisting of English group discussion, a situational interview, an individual presentation and interview. As for the third round, there is not much to worry about. It is known that, generally, the score from the second round determines the outcome, unless you were exceptionally good or bad.
Kim said she gained much help from the Diplomatic Academy Class. The class was formed in 2013 and recruits new members every semester. Students need to submit a letter of self-introduction, meet certain qualification requirements, and take a trial examination and interview to become a member. Kim advised that, if you are new to the diplomat test, start from the Hanyang Diplomatic Academy Class where you will be able to gain the necessary information.
Q: There are many benefits offered to students in the Diplomatic Academy Class. What were some of the most helpful benefits?
A: It is not an exaggeration to say that I would not have passed the test without help from the class. One of the biggest concerns in enduring long-term study is the cost. The class offers expensive lectures, monthly trial tests, and study rooms for free. They even offer dormitory scholarships for dormitory residents and a food expense scholarship. Moreover, the passionate atmosphere played a crucial role in keeping up with the harsh schedule. For instance, everybody gets up early in the morning, so I couldn’t be the only one left behind.
Kim will be entering the Korea National Diplomatic Academy at the end of the year. After a 52-week training course, she will become a formal diplomat, making her dream come true on a wider and more global stage.
Q: What kind of diplomat do you wish to become in the future?
A: I’m interested in the protocol, which is related to being in charge of providing for the state guests. It will provide an excellent chance to promote Korea. I’m also interested in economic diplomacy because it is one of the most influential and crucial aspects for people.
Q: Lastly, any word of encouragement to future Hanyang diplomats?
A: It really is a battle with yourself. The worst part is knowing that hard work does not always bare a fruit, and the anxiety that all those years could become nothing in the end torments you. Although I have also seen many people who have changed their course of life after a few trials at the test, every one of them was able to find the right route for themselves, and they say the study does become useful somewhere. So I wish you could study believing that it will never be in vain. It’s a pain that nobody else can understand. Cheer up! You can make it!
Lim Ji-woo firstname.lastname@example.org Photos by Lee Hyeon-seon