Planting the seeds of courage- the road to SNU

Following last time's Alumni Series article, let us introduce more of our alumni to you. Here is Alice O from Class of 2017 presenting her story about "Planting the seeds of courage-the road to SNU".

Let us see how they are making a difference to the world.    

Q1: Can you introduce yourself and what you are doing now? Where are you located and what is your job?

Hi, I am Alice and I am currently working at PwC, but have been moving to Standard Chartered Bank in September. I came back to Korea to study Business Administration (and Chinese as a double major) at Seoul National University, before starting my career in Seoul as well.


Q2: When did you attend DCSZ and can you tell us about your special interests or areas of passion (such as the club you established) when you studied in DCSZ? Is there anything you want to share with us about your experience in DCSZ, such as something you were really proud of, or really happy with, such as a project or an activity?

I joined DCSZ in 2010 (year 6) and graduated in 2017. At Dulwich, I participated in many clubs, including Green Gardeners, which I created with my friends. To speak frankly, I think we were not interested in gardening from the beginning, but we started to put in a lot of effort as we saw the unused space with weeds turning into a beautiful garden with herbs and tomatoes. We pulled out all the weeds, planted various herbs, and even did the composting with our own hands!

Thinking back, I think it was a great opportunity for me to get a picture of how a business works in the real world. We did similar things like researching about gardening through surveys and asking people outside of our school (we even contacted the local high school students and took care of their indoor garden for a year), pitched our project plans to the headmaster and ACAMIS for funding and of course made some profit as well (by selling carrots!). It was my first time creating something from zero, and this unique gardening experience became my must-tell story when I applied to university, and even during the interview when I was looking for internships and full-time jobs! I did not expect this club to become one of my key achievements in high school, but I am proud that I was able to leave something for Dulwich. I would love to go back and visit the garden again one day.

Other than the Green Gardeners club, I enjoyed doing various after-school activities, so much so that I barely took the normal school bus. For example, I played flute in the SIP Orchestra led by Mr Sun and Mr Tymstra for six years, participated in several MUN debates, and also attended Eco-council meetings along with the Green Gardeners club as a “gardening” prefect. There are so many more clubs that I participated in with my friends at Dulwich for 8 years, and I think most of my funniest and most memorable moments came from doing club activities with my friends. I was able to explore a bigger world outside of the classroom and simply just have fun! Really, I even enjoyed going to the math club and solving math questions!


Q3: How did your experience in DCSZ support you or prepare you for later life ? 

Rich outdoor experiences (i.e. China Week, Sports Day, ACAMIS, etc.) allowed me to become a risk-taker. This mindset helped me a lot to continue to try different things in university, like applying to various internships and programs. It filled my resume with various activities, and this really helped in shaping my career.


Q4: Let us talk about transition. Do you have any advice about transition from DCSZ to a university? Is there any advice or suggestions that you want to offer to our fellow students about how to better prepare for university life?


Be ready to see differences as a Third Culture Kid in a new environment. The transition from Alice to Yoon Hee was quite tough. Although I am Korean, I still struggled to speak Korean with Korean friends and professors at the university. The culture, the curriculum, and the society were all difficult to get used to. To overcome this, I spent a lot of time sharing these difficulties with friends from Dulwich. We all had similar challenges in this respect, and we were all able to understand each other.

Gradually, I was able to find my position and identity in a new environment, while still maintaining the international mindset that I learned from Dulwich. I therefore strongly recommend keeping in touch with your friends, and the Dulwich community.


Q5: If we invite you to talk about one thing you really miss about DCSZ, what would that be?

There are so many things that I miss, but I mostly miss the casual talks that I had with my friends on the way back to the school bus with our heavy school bags. That 10-minute talk was so precious and funny that there were many times that I almost missed the bus. I don’t know how we were able to talk endlessly, every single day! And of course, I miss everything else like attending various after-school activities, playing "capture-the-flag" game in the gym, lining up in the cafeteria for brownies, playing flute on International Day, running on Sports Day, and just sitting on the red couch with my friends.


Q6: What is your next goal in life? What would you like to do to prepare for that?

As I have finally gained the confidence and knowledge to say that I am Korean now, I would like to move abroad and continue to build bridges with the world. By working at a multinational company, I hope to keep meeting new people from different backgrounds. And after a few years, I am planning to study abroad for my Master's. At the same time, I want to stay part of the Dulwich community and make our global alumni network strong and to keep in touch with my friends and teachers.