Anthony Kim is an international student from South Korea who is currently studying History at Green River College. His academic goal is to transfer to the UW Department of History to complete both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. His long term professional goal is to work for the international community at the United Nations Economic and and Social Council.
Anthony took 2019-20 Asian Studies Fellow Michelle Marshman‘s revised course, HS 231 Modern Asia in Fall 2020. In his interview with the East Asia Center, he explained how the experience has helped affirm his interest in studying history, and the new perspectives he has developed about his own and other Asian nations.
Why did you decide to take this course? How does it relate to your program of study and professional goals?
It has been a little over a year since I studied at Green River College, and I realized that history is the area that best suits my aptitude. While studying this field, I became interested not only in history but also in geopolitics, politics and economics. I chose this course because it was related to my goal of working for an agency under the UN, and also to study the overall flow of Asian history and national relations as an Asian.
How does the course differ to others you have taken before?
I really enjoyed this course. I thought it was well planned and laid out, easy for me to follow. The workload was just enough, so I could finish everything with enough time, learn about the topics and not feel overloaded and rushed. On every Monday, the professor uploaded a summary of the given country and history to learn that week, which was different to other classes. For me, this part helped me organize and understand overall Asian historical trends.
Are there any particular assignments or projects you can tell us about? In what way were they valuable learning experiences?
Before applying for the course, I was worried that the content would be overwhelming, given that the focus on modern Asian history seemed all-encompassing. But by focusing on the main features and historical relationships of the countries with materials and movies without going too deep into the history of any particular country, the course was easier to follow.
Especially in the case of Chinese history, the content seemed vast and complicated, but our discussion about the Chinese movie To Live provided a great introduction. Furthermore, almost all the materials for the assignment were things that allowed us to learn about different countries from various angles, including in terms of culture, situations during different periods, and the way people lived during those times.
Why do you think it is important for students at Green River College to be given more opportunities to develop competencies in Asian Studies, Global Learning and international exchange?
I have once heard that history is a constant conversation between the past and the future. Now, if there is a problem with our current situation, our generation is obliged to analyze our past history and create a better world for the future. In order for the global community to join forces, there must be people with an excellent ability to understand the diverse working principles and members of the international community. I think the starting point is to provide an opportunity to study history and global exchange.
What impact will this course have your ongoing learning and/or professional development?
This course was a starting point for me to study the field of history, and gave me the chance to apply for another history class next quarter. My attention and understanding can therefore be extended not only to Asia, but also to the history of Europe and North America. Most of all, I became interested not only in history but also in global, political and environmental issues, which made me realize that my view of the world has become wider than before.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experience in this course?
When I submitted my assignment for the Korean War, I briefly mentioned my experience in the DMZ when I served in the South Korean Army. Then a few days later, when Dr. Marshman discussed the assignment, she surprised me by thanking me for my service and asked students to remember and thank all veterans. As a Korean, I was obliged to serve in the military for two years, so I never received this kind of response when I was in Korea. It was a special experience to feel a pride in serving in the military that I had barely felt in Korea.
Interview conducted December 2020.