Wonsuk Um “Koreans like to talk about their ideals and what they’re thinking. But when we’re just learning English, we are also very shy.”

Wonsuk Um from Seoul may be a little shy about expressing himself in a new language. But he also likes a good laugh. “Sometimes people ask my name and I’ll say, ‘Um…’ And then they say, ‘What… is… your… name?’ And I say ‘Um…’ This can go on for a long time,” he says with a laugh. But Wonsuk is very serious about preparing at SMC for the field of advertising. “I’ve been to a couple of colleges in Michigan, but everybody works much harder at SMC. I have great instructors and I feel I am learning much more deeply here. I need to be here because, in Korea, there is no major in advertising,” continues Wonsuk. “I’m pretty artistic, and I’ve always dreamed about creating advertising for TV. What I plan to do is go back to Korea and make it in TV there. If I can mix American ideas with Korean culture, I think this will help me deliver some messages. I’d like to educate people about the earth and nature. And to do that well means using TV: It’s the medium of power.”

Wonsuk has obviously had success in his ESL classes with P.T. Coffey, who “always makes the English language very, very clear to us,” he says. “I have only good things to say about the instructors here.” And though he loves the LA sunshine, he admits to missing his homeland badly.

“It’s the nighttime sky in Korea that makes it such a beautiful country,” says Wonsuk. “Any time of year, you can walk outside and see the stars. And I miss the four seasons,” he adds. “When you see the world changing around you, it always brings you closer to nature. That is something very important to be aware of in life.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.