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I am intrigued by human condition that has me ask myself questions such as who am I and who are we as a species. While Humanities has not been an easy area to explore on my own, I am compelled to indulge in the field. From the questions I could pose to myself, I recognized that the traits of human language is closely linked to the understanding the nature of humans. This motivated me to take "Introduction to Linguistics," with my first exposures being on Wilhelm von Humboldt's view on the differences between languages, and Benjamin Whorf's Linguistic Relativity Hypothesis. With these, I realized that language is closely related to the way people think and its affects touches our frame of reference and worldview; such notions fascinated me reinforcing my decision to pursue graduate studies and learn more about the important roles of language in society.
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The graduate program at Yonsei offered me a number of courses in the fields of sociolinguistics, pragmatics, and discourse analysis. These courses emphasized that language constructs society and thought patterns. Such notions were closely related to my previous hypothesis about the effects and power of language. With the course fascination me, I enjoyed my Master's courses and wrote my M.A. thesis on a generic change of sermon with the view that discourse varies depending on the situations which are defined by social constructions. During the research and preparation for my thesis, my knowledge about the nature of language deepened not to mention my technical skills for corpus linguistics improved.
In my future doctorate studies, I am interested in broadening my understanding of the connection between language and society. Particularly, I would like to focus on analyzing racism in Korean discourse. Korean society has long been a racially homogeneous nation and placed heavy emphasis on a national bond. In the past, due to a small immigrant population, racism never arose as a social issue until recently when a large number of Southeast Asian immigrants have moved to Korea for work and arranged marriages.
With increasing number of immigrants, racism has become a significant social issue in current Korean society. Despite damaging incidents and its aftermath, racism has not been perceived by the public to be a concerning matter since there are some minorities and have the least access to public discourse. This raises concern regarding racism in Korean discourse. As a result of this, I am eager to analyze the public discourse in politics, media, and education, thus identifying how Koreans perceive immigrants and how inequality is enacted. Ultimately, I am hopeful that my research will contribute to the enhancement of racial equity.
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My ultimate goal is to teach and do research in underdeveloped countries and commit to enriching their education. In doing so, I am anxious to reciprocate the dedication Horace Grant Underwood and other American missionaries showed to Korea centuries ago particularly in building schools and hospitals in Korea, one of which is Yonsei University, the school I am attending now. My goal of teaching served to motivate me into studying linguistics at Yonsei University. With a master degree, I see myself serving in an underdeveloped country in order to recompense the efforts of other.
University of Michigan is the best place for me to pursue my research and its optimal curriculum compels me to seek admission to the university. With a clear focus on my primary focus on racism and discourse analysis, I am confident that the curriculum will expose me to interdisciplinary research with sociology, anthropology and education. More importantly, University of Michigan will provide me opportunity to study with the distinguished professors like Marlyse Baptista, Deborah Keller-Cohen, Carmel O'shannessy, and Robin Queen who will without doubt broaden my knowledge on discourse analysis. With racism in Korea remaining an unexplored field, I am hopeful that I will bring University of Michigan to several research domains and thus contribute to the global flavor. As I wait for a positive consideration, I can looking forward to be part of the universities community in order to contribute my towards its objective an my goal as well.