As a member of the South Korean Army, Hyung Seok Lee learned to toe the line. When commanding officers asked him questions, he snapped to attention, raised his hand, and offered an answer. He learned to listen to his superiors. So when one officer encouraged him to continue his eduction after his service was complete, he heeded that advice.Lee was encouraged by his commanding officers to continue his education after his service was complete.
“But, my high school GPA wasn’t very high,” Lee said.
Growing up in Seoul, Lee wasn’t concerned with his education. He didn’t see the necessity to complete a bachelor’s degree, and he didn’t enjoy school or learning.
“The Army changed my mind,” he said. “It had a huge impact on me.”
Lee realized that higher education could not only teach him knowledge, but could also better himself as a person and help him contribute to a global society.
Lee came to Oregon State as part of INTO OSU, a program that brings international students to Oregon States and helps them succeed. Students are given access to intensive English classes as well as advisors and mentors to help them navigate the American university system.
Lee is one of 75 INTO OSU students graduating this year in the very first class of the program, which started four years ago.
Lee decided to major in finance. He believes business skills will be useful no matter what kind of job he finds himself working in the future. His ideal position is one that utilizes his English and Korean skills in some way.
And, in his business classes, Lee was happy to raise his hand in class and ask his professors questions when he needed to.
“I learned to do that in the Army,” he said. “It’s important to ask questions and set yourself apart.”
Lindy Osborne, International Marketing and Engagement Coordinator said Lee has done that since the beginning of his time at Oregon State.
“We are so proud of him,” Osborne said. “We are sad to see him go as he’s been such a presence here at INTO OSU.”
Lee worked as a member of the front desk staff in the International Living and Learning Community building, always doing his best to help other students and improve his own English language skills.
“I tell them that once they get used to being here, there are so many good things to experience,” Lee said.
Lee served as president of the Korean Student Association his sophomore year.
In that position, Lee tapped into a network of Oregon State alumni in Seoul to fundraise for events like Korean Student Night, which he counts as one of his fondest Oregon State memories.
Lee is currently interviewing for several business positions in the United States, where he hopes to continue living and working for the next several years.
After a transformative Oregon State experience, Lee said he is ready for the next step.
“I know I can get some great experience working here in the United States,” he said. “I’m excited about the possibilities.”