My name is Daniel Jung and I am one of the 2015 Summer CAPAL scholars. I was recently asked to share why I am excited to be part of this year’s program, so I would like to start off with a short story about my father.
When my father first came to the United States, he had nothing. He was a seminary student with no money, no job, and three adorable sons. This required my family to live at a cheap apartment two hours away from the school and my father could only come home for the weekends. During the week, he attended school while working three part-time jobs to support the family. My parents still tell me, this was the most difficult time of their entire lives.
This changed completely when one day a pastor came up to my father and said that he would like to invest in my father’s future. My father wasn’t sure what he meant at first. But, long story short, the pastor believed in my father’s passions and he would sponsor my father’s education for the next seven years until he received his Ph.D. When my father was asked to become a pastor in South Korea later that year, he paid for the air fare for my entire family to go back.
My father recently contacted the pastor wanting to invite him and his family to Korea. But the pastor told him, “Take the money to bring my family to Korea and invest in the lives of other younger students.” So, my father did. And he is now investing in 4 seminary students in Korea by mentoring them regularly and providing scholarship for their tuition. Without that pastor, my father would not be where he is today.
So, why am I excited about CAPAL? It is because I am grateful for CAPAL’s investment in my future. My passion is to study the shifting dynamics of international relations in East Asia, primarily U.S. foreign policy in South Korea, China, and Japan. CAPAL’s scholarship is allowing me to take the next step in pursuing this passion in East Asian foreign policy at the US-Korea Institute this summer. Without CAPAL’s financial assistance, I would not have been able to take this opportunity. However, it’s not just the financial assistance that makes CAPAL special. I am more than excited to be building relationships with all of my mentors in CAPAL that will guide me throughout the summer. I look forward to learning valuable skills through the Washington Leadership Program, Community Action Project, and other numerous networking opportunities. I have no doubt that all of these opportunities will be critical in my future development as a leader.
Thank you CAPAL for all of your hard work in making this opportunity possible for me. Whether you know it or not, your investment and your support has far greater impact to individuals in our AAPI communities. When it is my time, I hope to continue this legacy of investing in, fostering, and empowering the future generations to come.
Hamin “Daniel” Jung is a rising senior at American University double majoring in International Studies and Asian Studies and minoring in Chinese. During his years at American University, Daniel has pursued studies related to U.S. foreign policy in East Asia, focusing primarily on South Korea, China, and Japan. Passionate about the topic, Daniel co-founded the student organization, Peace of East Asia in Creative Engagement (PEACE) in which students from these three countries came together to learn about one another, build relationships, and discuss key regional issues. This summer Daniel is interning with the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS as a Program and Research Intern. He is grateful and excited to be part of the CAPAL community this year.