Like Moses, Yoon searched for a way out of the desert. However, Yoon's exodus did not involve a burning bush or the parting of the Red Sea. Instead a google search on academic programs abroad, and the booking of a plane ticket led him to his promised land - Sweden.
But Yoon's story first begins in a very different location - Korea. He grew up in Ulsan, where his next/ door neighbour was a World Cup football stadium. Funnily enough, a passion for football did not rub off on him; instead he is a diehard tennis fanatic!
Having worked at a nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi, Yoon has returned to student life and is now studying a masters degree in Human-Computer Interaction and Design at KTH. He is also one of Inicio's mentors. We sat down with Yoon to discover what makes him tick.
Where did you grow up, and what are some of the interesting sites in your city?
I was born in Busan, Korea but I grew up in Ulsan, just a next city to Busan. Ulsan was famous for whale catching in old days, but not now. There is not much there except two cinemas. Oh, there is a World Cup football stadium next to my house. I’m not a football fan, but it was so awesome during 2002 World Cup.
I just studied hard when I was in middle and high school. I was diligent in weekdays because I went to school before 7:30 and came home after midnight during high school years.
What area did you study for your undergraduate degree, and what are you currently exploring in the masters program?
I studied electronics engineering in my bachelor in Korea. Now, I’m studying Human-Computer Interaction and Design in KTH, Sweden. In my bachelor, I focused more on hardware than software. After graduation, I worked in Nuclear Power Plant for 4 years, but I didn't find the job very fun, so I wanted to change my career.
What would you say to any high school students who are interested in technology, but feel a little intimidated about studying in this field?
I would say, “Start with the easy things first”. Because if it is interesting and fun to you, the next step will be even more interesting, and you will never get scared. One of the good things about learning technology is that you can check your progress in learning process because you can see the results when you perform something. For example, if you are in a chemistry lab, you can actually observe all the chemical mixtures and reactions with your eyes. If you learn computer programming, you can see your code and its result visually. You don’t need to be the ‘best’ to get a certain results. Science doesn’t show its result to only best students. All you need to do is, try to understand the logic and find your own joy of learning. It is very fun. In addition, technology can impact so much in society in various ways. Our lifestyle changes depending on the development of technology. To be part of this innovation is such an exciting thing!
Who is a person close to you that inspired you the most in life?
Roger Federer. I’ve never met him but I feel really close to him because I’ve been watching him on Youtube for more than 10 years now :D His consistent performance in such a high level of tennis and his humble personality guide me in which life path I need to pursue.
If you had to invite three-five famous people to dinner who would they be and why?
It’s Roger again! And the rest two would be Yuna Kim, Korean, an Olympic gold medalist in Figure skating and best figure skater in history, and G-dragon, one of the members in boy band group (BIGBANG) in South Korea. Omg, they are all legends! I hope Roger likes Korean foods because the rest are Korean, so we will have Korean dinner :D
Activities you like to do outside of your study?
Tennis, tennis, and tennis. I’m a huge fan of tennis :) Without it, I have no idea how I can relieve my stress. It was the only exit when I was really depressed of my life in desert, when I was working in Nuclear Power Plant in Abu Dhabi.
What excites you the most about the future of technology?
I hope that each individual becomes better person and we can empathise each other better with a help of future technology.
What do you wish you had known before entering the tech field?
I wish I had known how to read books really fast and understand everything really fast because there’re so many things to learn and I’m very curious! I want to know more about everything before I get too old!
When did you first realise you wanted to mentor others?
My first mentor experience was in 2012. I was a mentor for 14 year-old middles school students in Daegu, Korea for 6 months and I taught math and English. In the same year, in August, I also participated in the Samsung Dream Class where I taught Mathematics and English to 13 year-old students for 2 weeks. This time the students were from all around the nation.
Why do you think being a mentor is important?
I think it is important because it enables to communicate between older and younger generations. Those two different mentoring experiences made me think of how to have a conversation with young students, and how I should approach them.
Also, it is important because it has made me study more, and further develop myself. I have to prepare before I teach, think about how I am supposed to explain the concepts, the correct way to share information, how to help students if they don’t understand something, and so on. I learned how to plan a class, how to understand the thought process of younger students, and how to react to their behaviour. All of these things have made me reflect about myself, and made me more mature.