Statesman Scholar Mike Ahn
The drive Kwangsub “Mike” Ahn has in the classroom is one he developed while serving in the military in his native South Korea.
“I am not a very physically fit person, but even with such barriers I think I was able to go through the entire service because I learned a lesson of mental strength and perseverance,” explains Ahn.
He found Richard Bland College of William & Mary through an agency connecting international students with opportunities for higher learning in the United States. Ahn considered several options, but RBC was the frontrunner for several reasons.
“They have a transfer agreement to William & Mary as well as other prestigious universities in Virginia. Richard Bland College was a perfect setting for me to adapt to the whole American culture as well as the academics required in a four-year school.”
The small professor-student ratio was a draw along with the foundation he could build at RBC to complete a degree focusing on accounting and finance. Ahn is a member of the RBC Class of 2020. He plans to transfer to William & Mary and major in accounting.
“The United States is an influential country in the global economy,” Ahn says. “I think pursuing a career and working here would offer me a better insight of what’s going on in the global economy and a more holistic view.”
Ahn is active on the RBC campus as a member of the International Club and is a math tutor.
As he prepares for employment in the business world, Ahn finds inspiration in many areas, including his Western Civilization class taught by Professor Daniel Franks.
“His way of lecturing offers multiple perspectives viewing historical issues. It’s not just for history but for everything that happens in life,” Ahn reflects. “Later in my career, having that ability to view the issue in multiple ways can really mold me into a more open-minded individual.”
At 25, Ahn expects he would have faced discrimination in South Korea for beginning a university program years older than most freshmen. It is why he applauds America and RBC for embracing non-traditional students.
“In Korea they might judge you and think he is not good at studying. Maybe he wasted all the time in between when he could have been much younger,” Ahn says. “The culture here is more open-minded. They listen to the story in between the age gap, and I think it’s a really good thing.”
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