Thirty flags line the walls of Mackay Dining Hall, only a fraction of the countries represented in the Princeton Seminary community. We sat down with some of our international students to hear their stories.
Jieun Yoon plans to use the exegetical skills she has cultivated as a ThM student focusing on the Old Testament to engage in critical peacemaking work on the Korean peninsula.
Q: Where is home?
A: I’m from South Korea. I spent my childhood in Iksan, a small city in a southern province of Korea where a 1,380-year-old temple is located. My all-time favorite thing about Korea is Korean food! I would call it Seoul (soul) food. Everybody should experience the variety of rich flavors especially if they have never tried it before. These days, many people are getting to know Korean food through “Mukbang” (“eating broadcast”) on YouTube. I highly recommend Korean BBQ, Korean chicken, and samgyeopsal for meat lovers. If you are a vegetarian, you should try bibimbab which is a rice bowl with a variety of namul or vegetable toppings seasoned with a traditional sauce. You cannot forget street food, like eomuk, tteokbokki, and hodduk, which are great to have as snacks. With the weather getting chilly, they are perfect to warm your body and soul.
Q: What drew you to Princeton Seminary? What has your experience here been like?
A: PTS is known as one of the best theological institutions, well known for its great faculty, alumni, and resources. Many people said great things and recommended PTS, so I knew I wanted to come here. Thankfully, I am here and enjoying this fantastic opportunity. My time here has been amazing thanks to all the wonderful people here. It has truly been a blessing to learn under outstanding professors, especially those in the Old Testament department, and to make friends from diverse backgrounds from across the country and all over the world. I am truly thankful for friends who are always willing to help out, especially with rides to get around town. Everyone’s love and encouragement mean so much to me.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: I am always thinking of how to share what I have learned with others, particularly for the people from my home country when I get back. I have a special interest in building communal solidarity regarding North Korean defectors. I think theology has the power to influence people to collaborate with to change the reality. When I finish my education related to peace and reconciliation grounded in the Old Testament text, I plan to teach young Christian leaders about this peace-building project. Several years before coming to the States, I worked at a church in youth ministry, so I hope to serve the local community in a church. I believe churches and Christians in Korea can start a movement for the process of peace that extends beyond individuals, denominations, political interest, and social status. I hope to contribute to the reunification of Korea.