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JiWoon Kim

JiWoon Kim laughs during her art class.

JiWoon Kim had a goal set firmly in her mind when she began looking for colleges.

“My dream was to become an accountant and work in the same company as my dad,” she said.

Kim, whose father works for Samsung, could have easily followed her older sister’s path and gone to school in her native South Korea.

But Kim had other plans.

“I actually wanted to make some changes around me, like the environment.”

For Kim, that change of environment was Penn State Beaver.  Although she considered attending Penn State University Park, Kim wanted a campus where she could transition to life in the United States.

“They told me it was quiet,” she said in describing Beaver campus.

In addition, Kim said she wanted an environment where she could more easily concentrate on her studies as an economics major while making friends at the same time. Beaver, she said, provided both, and it was more affordable than Penn State University Park.

That affordability helped, because in addition to having an older sister in college, Kim also has a younger sister. Despite the costs, Kim said her family has been supportive of her decision to come to the United States. Even her older sister, who had to get a part-time job when Kim started school, encouraged her to study abroad.

Adjusting to life in the United States was difficult, Kim said. In addition to speaking a different language, she also had to adjust to the time difference and get used to eating different foods. But those differences were worth it because she has direction in her life.

“I have clear goals, well, much clearer than them,” she said of her friends in South Korea.

And despite leaving her family in South Korea, she said the environment at Penn State Beaver is family-like. Her experience in the United States has been so good, she’s not even sure she would go back to South Korea.

“If I ever got a chance to get a job and stay here, I would definitely do that.”

Originally written by Matt Jones '10 for the Penn State Beaver Nittany News alumni magazine, Spring 2011.