Korean Professor Expresses Love to Vietnam's People
Professor Sim Sang Joon is director of Vietnam - Korea Cultural Exchange Center and honorary vice-chancellor cum dean of the Korean Language Department, Viet Bac university.
|Ph.D. Sim Sang Joon considers Vietnam as his second home.|
Why did you choose Vietnam to develop your career?
At the time I graduated from the Vietnamese Department, Korea University of Foreign Languages, Vietnam and Korea were to establish diplomatic relations at the highest level. That’s why I really wanted to go to Vietnam to apply what I’d learned and realize my dreams. In 1993, I was one of the few Koreans who came to Vietnam as a Ph.D. student. In 2001, I defended my Ph.D. thesis in Ethnology at the Faculty of History, University of Social Sciences and Humanities - Hanoi National University, and later taught at the school.
The funded projects that I carried out across Vietnam have been the opportunity for me to get closer and more connected with different Vietnamese communities. Even though their languages and customs might be different, the common things they share are their hard-working spirit, creativity, and hospitality.
During the last 30 years living in Vietnam, I have had many interesting explorations and been more attracted to the country and its people. I love Vietnam. I’ve been constantly doing comparative research on the history, culture, and so on of the two countries. I’ve gradually grown to believe Vietnam is my second home country.
How do you feel about Vietnam’s changes in the last 30 years?
From my point of view, Vietnam has changed drastically. The country is open, dynamic, and developing. Its position and voice is influential both regionally and globally. More and more foreign businesses are investing in Vietnam, including Korean ones.
Apart from economic growth, Vietnam’s health, education, culture, and entertainment have also developed rapidly. Equality, democracy, and freedom have gradually been championed, especially the women’s role in social life has been better recognized. Another impression is the fact that many foreigners, including me, can take over key positions such as principals or vice-principal at major universities in Vietnam. Such authorization is unprecedented in Korea.
However, what makes me love Vietnam the most is the Vietnamese people. Vietnamese people in my eyes possess a high community spirit, friendly, approachable, and adorable. All neighbors in the apartment complex where I live in Hanoi’s My Dinh district are like a family. Even the cleaning staff or security guards greet me as they see me, which is very heart-warming.
|Ph.D. Sim Sang Joon at an event in Hanoi in November 2021.|
How will you continue your journey with Vietnam?
I’ve had many beautiful memories and experiences in Vietnam. Why would I want to leave the country? I’m not just a visitor in Vietnam. In my heart and mind, the love for Vietnam is no different than the love for Korea. I vow to forever be the one to introduce Vietnamese culture to Korean people and build a more stable relationship between the two nations.
Dr. Sim Sang Joon has long been a household name to many Vietnamese people. Currently, he is director of Vietnam - Korea Cultural Exchange Center and honorary vice-chancellor cum dean of the Korean Language Department, Viet Bac University, Thai Nguyen.
He earned credits for raising funds worth millions of USD to help Vietnam develop communities, alleviate poverty in remote areas, and is also a passionate researcher about Vietnam.
His research articles are published in Vietnamese and Korean newspapers. His lectures at Korean companies have made people better understand the culture, customs and habits of the company. Therefore, he has been evaluated as a scholar on Vietnam studies who bridges the relationship between Vietnam and Korea. Vietnam has always been the key theme of his stories. He expressed his affection for Vietnam with a special sincerity as if it were an inseparable part of his mind.
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