In this edition of The Chungdae Post, Alumni, we met up with François Alonso, who studied at Chungnam National University for his master’s degree and is currently working in Korea.
We asked François how he felt about where he is now as well as about what he wants to do in the future. Already working in Seoul for a publishing company, François is independent and has established himself as a part of society. What does he have to tell us? Let’s find out:
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Hello guys, I am Francois Alonso from Tours, France. I just turned 27 the other day (December 22, 2020)! I came to Korea in 2014 as an exchange student, and I’m still here, haha.
What did you major in at CNU, and how was your experience in the department and at CNU in general?
I majored in International Trade (master’s degree). This department had a relatively low number of students attending graduate school, so we were all quite close, I think. It was probably because 80 percent of the students were foreigners. I met one of my best friends there!
In terms of studying and learning, what I hadn’t realized was that in this particular department, you don’t learn skills or knowledge needed for later jobs, but rather the skills to give presentations and write a thesis (which is also beneficial, don’t get me wrong).
In terms of CNU, how can I not like the place? Makdong, Ilhak (Student Hall I), Gung-dong, and the campus, in general, made my stay at CNU a very pleasant experience. I must mention university clubs as well. AFKN will be a part of my life forever!
Do you currently have a job? What was the employment process like? Do you like your current job?
Yes, I currently work as an overseas marketer and business planner for a Korean publishing company that makes English textbooks. I applied for the job through Saramin, a recruiting platform in Korea, and was invited to two interviews. In the end, I got the job. I still think I got lucky. The job is good, and I like the creative process involved.
However, adapting myself to the Korean workstyle was much harder than expected, or should I say, I don’t feel inspired by or compelled to follow this work culture. There are some good points, obviously, from which I learn, but it seems you work with people first. If you don’t click with the mindset of others, it can be very challenging.
Do you think that your time at CNU has helped you to develop your career? If so, how did your experiences at CNU help? If not, why do you think that CNU was not helpful?
I will say that being a student in that particular department probably did not help more than being in another department, but my time at CNU definitely helped. I got extremely lucky to meet certain people at the right time, get some opportunities, and broaden my perspectives.
I think what always prevails is one’s field of vision. If you can see more things at once, your analysis will always be more accurate, and the people I met and the opportunities I got helped me achieve that (even though I am still far from being the person I want to become).
What is your goal in life? Do you plan to stay in Korea, or do you want to travel elsewhere? Are you going to continue your job, or do you want to venture out into other specialties?
That’s a hard question to answer. Regardless of country, my goal is, and will always be, to help people achieve their own goals. I believe that by doing that, I not merely make myself a better person but also make others a better version of themselves. This allows me to just have more fun living my life. Besides that, my other goals are to own a Porsche, run a restaurant, try to have a (small) racing career, and build a YouTube channel.
I think my goals are an indication as to whether I will stay in Korea: No, I don’t plan on staying in Korea – I want to do other things!
Do you have anything to tell future CNU graduates? What advice would you give them, or what do you want to warn them about? Do you have a word of encouragement?
I will quote Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time F1 World Champion said this when he won his seventh title, “This is for everyone out there who wishes to live their dreams. You can do it, I believe in you!”
Whatever drives you, just do it. When we are young, we have nothing to lose, so it’s the right time to try many things and see what works best. It’s harder to do than say. I am certainly not an example, but do not let the fear of failure guide you.
Failure is growth! The only failure is not to try. Warning: it’s hard. Second warning: When you start work, focus on your attitude and try to have great interpersonal skills (i.e., communication), because you cannot learn that from someone else. No one will teach you who to become, and you don’t learn that with experience either. Skills will come later with experience and with the help of others. Then it’s away we go!
Do you have anything more to say about your time at CNU or to the alumni that you studied with?
Thanks, AFKN and CNU Institute of International Language Education for all your help. Thank you to everyone who contributed to making me a better person.
A special thanks to François for agreeing to be interviewed! Happy belated birthday from all of us at The Chungdae Post. Merci beaucoup!
by Quedahm Chin email@example.com
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