Meet our students

Current Undergraduate Students

Anna Giang

Anna Giang

“My name is Anna Giang, and I am studying Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts, specializing in Software Engineering, and majoring in Korean Studies and Chinese Studies.

In my university years so far, I have had the opportunity to work closely with the amazing professors in the Monash Korean Studies department, and have had the honour of winning in the Monash Korean Studies Speech Contest in 2018, as well as receiving the Academy of Korean Studies prize in 2020. Currently, I am interning at the Korean Society of Victoria, and pursuing a career in software engineering, but I am sure that having Korean language skills will open up many more doors of opportunity for me in the future.

I originally wanted to study Korean because of my love for K-Pop and K-Drama. Hallyu and Korean entertainment have been an extremely large part of my life, and I really wanted to understand the language, and therefore the meaning behind the lyrics of the songs and the messages behind the dramas that have had such a great influence on me growing up.

Now in 2020, as I’m about to complete proficient level Korean, I have to say that I cannot be more glad to have chosen to study Korean. An interest in Korean pop culture did motivate me to start my studies - but over the past 3 years of studying, I have come to realise how interesting the language is itself, and have discovered more about Korean culture and history that goes beyond the well-known pop culture. I highly recommend Korean Studies to all who are considering studying a language, especially those and have an interest in Korean culture.”

Andrew Guan

Andrew Guan

My name is Andrew Guan and I am currently studying a double degree of Bachelors of Business/Arts. I major in Banking and Finance and Chinese Studies respectively, with a minor in Korean studies.

At first, I simply decided to take a few Korean language elective units since I was interested in learning new languages, and thought it would be a good skill to have. After my first year though, I decided to pursue a minor in Korean. The reason was simple: the Korean professors. Not only were they extremely encouraging and supportive, they also managed to spark a genuine interest in me for the Korean language and culture. As a complete beginner, my only knowledge of Korea was limited to what my Korean friends taught me and in classes filled with people of all different backgrounds, experiences, and levels of knowledge about Korea, the teachers were able to pace the class in a way that allowed each person to grow and learn at their own pace, and made learning a real pleasure. I have taken 4 language units and 2 culture units, and surprisingly, the ones I enjoyed the most were the culture units which I didn't even have the intention to take in the beginning! All of them have been well-designed, with interesting yet meaningful topics, and teachers who obviously have a passion for sharing their love of Korea with the students.

As I move forward, I plan to continue learning the language and involving myself within Korean culture. Going into my master’s I hope to be able to take an exchange semester to South Korea and connect deeper with the culture by experiencing it first-hand, an opportunity I haven’t been able to take advantage of yet due to the pandemic.

Taehee Kim (Ben)

My name is Taehee Kim (Ben), I am in my third and final year of studying Bachelor of Science majoring in Environmental Science. I was born in Busan, South Korea and have lived in Australia between 2005 - 2006 and from 2011 onwards. I enjoy making creative content on my website and volunteering when I have time.

Not having studied Korean as a subject before in Australia, I enrolled into a Korean language unit at Monash University to improve my fluency in my mother tongue. Since getting involved with Monash University's Korean Studies, I've been encouraged and supported by teaching staff to take part in different opportunities related to my studies into translation and Korean culture. Through this, I was able to be a part of meaningful work such as collaborative translation projects with peers who shared similar interests and was able to further develop my interest in Korean Studies. I also got to work on my problem solving skills and individual skill sets related to translation and interpreting as well. I personally enjoyed ATS2160 - Language, culture and society on the Korean Peninsula and ATS3805 - Korean studies advanced: Literature and writing the most. I enjoyed the meaningful discussions with my peers in ATS2160 on topics such as regionalism and multiculturalism in modern Korea. In ATS3805, I was able to challenge myself as the entire unit was run in Korean, looking at Korean literature works.

This learning experience led me to a newfound interest in teaching Korean. I plan on seeking opportunities in teaching Korean and upskilling my knowledge on Korea by engaging in meaningful opportunities.

Bowie Lei

Bowie Lei

"I am a third-year student majoring in Korean studies and civil engineering. Although I have been learning Korean for a while, I have never got a chance to apply the skill practically. This year I have got an excellent opportunity to become a translation intern for a digital collaboration project titled ‘the Story of Ari’.

In this project, I have assisted with the translation work from Chinese to Korean and from Korean to Chinese/English, which offered me a chance to look back at what I lack and seek possible improvement. I realised translation does not always have a fixed answer but requires more consideration before finalising. Furthermore, the processing of communication with the supervisors (weekly meeting) helps me know how to effectively interact with others. This internship experience builds and steadies the foundation skills that I need for exploring future work opportunities.

This internship has been approved by the Faculty of Arts as Work Integrated Learning (WIL) experiences which allows me enrolled in an Arts WIL (Work Integrated Learning) unit, ATS3935 professional practice where I get credit towards my degree."

Bowie’s creative writing pieces, which she produced as part of the final creative writing task for ATS3805 Korean Advanced: Literature and Writing, were featured in Melbourne Journal, the weekly Korean community magazine this week. She wrote a prose poem about melancholia during the Japanese colonial period. The works of Yi Sang (이 상), such as ‘mirror (거울)’ and 'The Wings (날개)’ gave Bowie inspiration to write this piece. See her work here.

Bonnie Pilgrim

I first tried studying Korean when I was 13 with a tutor outside of school because I was interested in the language itself. I had already begun learning Japanese at high school and the similarity in the grammar structures really gave me that extra push to try learning Korean. I initially loved the sound of the language and thought that one day I wanted to be able to speak such a beautiful language. I was also intrigued by how unique and stylish the Hanguel script was. Although I attempted this, the extra study  on top of schooling became too much for me so I stopped.

Fast forward a few years and I ended up living in Tokyo, Japan doing a technical degree. During this time I became good friends with a Chinese-Korean girl and watching her command of multiple languages and speaking Korean so smoothly made me regret giving it up. I booked a trip to South Korea shortly after and decided to immerse myself for a few weeks. Upon returning I decided that I wanted to study about the culture and language of Korea and applied for the Monash Global Studies degree.

I have thoroughly enjoyed learning Korean at Monash. Although my entire experience has been online, the staff have tried strenuously to make classes fun and interactive for students. I have particularly enjoyed the cultural units and have been able to use the knowledge learnt in these classes to aid my language learning. These classes have also made me realise just how unique of a player Korea is within East Asia.

Indiah Smith

Indiah Smith

My name is Indiah Smith, I am a third-year student at Monash studying a Bachelor of Arts. I am double majoring in International Relations and International Studies and have chosen Korean Studies as my minor.

My decision to minor in Korean Studies as part of my degree came after I had spent time in Korea during my gap year. I enjoyed my time there however I did not know a word of Korean. As I began my studies, I was considering doing Japanese as I studied it in High School but saw that Monash offered Korean studies and thought it would be a great opportunity to learn not only the language but more about Korea in general.

As part of my Korean Studies I have had the opportunity not only to learn the Korean language up to an intermediate level, but also to take units that explore the history of Korea, the pop-culture of South and North Korea and my personal favourite, a Korean linguistics unit. These units have been so enjoyable and worthwhile, the professors throughout all the units have been incredibly engaging and use up-to-date references and content that would appeal to anyone having prior knowledge of Korea or none at all!  Korean Studies have really solidified my interest in working overseas and contributed positively to my degree giving me a minor that pairs well with my majors. I hope to use the knowledge I have attained from Korean Studies in future either working for an International company within Korea or teaching English over there.

For anyone that is studying International Relations, International Studies or Global Studies, you should really look into Korean Studies as the cultural knowledge and language skills that you will gain from it will be invaluable for travelling or working overseas and enable more opportunities post-university.

Former students

Jeongin Hur

“My name is Jeongin Hur and I am currently doing a Bachelor/ Master Program offered at Monash University. I have majored in Korean studies and currently studying International Sustainable Tourism Management for my master’s degree.

My original decision to study Korean Studies stemmed from my deep connection to my Korean heritage. During my time at Monash, I have completed numerous Korean Units ranging from Language, History, Culture and even a hands-on Internship! At Monash University, Korean Studies not only offers academic units but also offers tremendous amount of opportunities and support. I have built great connections through the wide range of seminars and programs offered within the course.

I have worked with Professors from various Korean Units as a Teaching Assistant, worked as an Interpreter for Korean Concerts held in Australia and completed a scholarship program: Historical and Cultural Expedition to China to learn about Modern Korean History. Throughout my journey, I have gained invaluable experience and aptitude for the real work force. From my experience above, I was able to work as a Service Advisor at National Australia Bank (NAB).”

Anusha Thirumalavan

"My name is Anusha Thirumalavan and I’m a second-year student doing Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Environmental Engineering and doing an extended major in Korean Studies.

"I wanted to do Korean studies as I was originally interested in K-pop and k-dramas and really wanted to learn more Korean both in terms of language and the culture. Seeing as Monash offered a degree catered to just that, I decided to join in. I’m very glad I did so as it’s kept my Uni life and studies fun and entertaining. In teaching the language they incorporate the culture as well, including utilising popular k-pop songs and k-drama dialogues to teach, which keeps the class entertaining and makes learning the language easy and fun. I am planning to do an extended major in Korean, which will include overseas study in Korea which is one of the highlights of this program. I highly recommend taking Korean as either an elective or a major/minor as you will not only learn another language but it also gives you an advantage in terms of job opportunities as more and more workplaces are looking for bi/multilingual employees."

Kazuki Ly

Kazuki Ly is in his third year at Monash (Clayton) University - majoring in both Japanese and Korean (B.A).  He has taken Introductory, and also Intermediate Korean and plans to study the final level, proficient in his final year. Running Man, a famous Korean variety show piqued his interest in Korean Language, and culture over many tals ago. The best thing about studying Korean at Monash, is the atmosphere – the seonsaengnims make learning fun, and that is a big feat to accomplish. After graduating, he wishes to advance further with his many languages, and become a translator.

Liling Sam

Liling Sam is a 4th year student at Monash and chose Korean Studies because she enjoys K-Pop, K-dramas, and Korean variety shows. She especially likes the textbooks which are nicely made and easy to understand. When she graduates she plans to take a Master of Interpreting and Translation Studies.

Danae Smith


“My name is Danae Smith. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Korean in 2016. I originally became interested in learning Korean because of my involvement with the Monash Taekwondo Club, and this interest was consolidated by a month-long training trip to Korea through this club where we trained with a number of high school and university students across the country. Upon graduating from my undergraduate degree, I spent 10 months in Seoul studying at Yonsei University’s Korean Language Institute through the Victorian Government’s Hamer Scholarship program.

I am currently working as the PA to the CEO of Lotte Duty Free Oceania as I study my Masters of Applied Linguistics. My knowledge of Korean language and culture was invaluable in securing this position and, in addition to the perk of being able to experience Korean business culture while studying here in Melbourne, I am able to use the language and culture skills I have learned so far in a very practical way.”

Shona Smith

Shona Smith

Learning online with Monash University’s Korean Studies department has been fantastic. My tutors and lecturers have been amazingly supportive and motivating, and have really helped me achieve my full potential in this degree. In addition to my regular classes, I have also thoroughly enjoyed being able to join the Korean Studies department’s conferences and lectures from global experts.

Niha Sathasivam


My name is Niha Sathasivam and I graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Economics, double majoring in Finance and Economics with minors in Accounting and Korean. After graduating, I began working as a trade consultant with the Korean Trade Commission (KOTRA) in Sydney. In my line of work, I assist Korean SMEs and am required to use my Korean skills on a daily basis. I chose to study Korean at Monash to solidify my knowledge in the language and further my understanding of the culture. This has opened up the opportunity to work in a Korean organisation. During my time at Monash, I enjoyed all the programs and events that allow you to experience university life to its fullest.”

Michael Lossi

My name is Michael and I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2016, double majoring in History and Korean Studies. I will be returning to do postgraduate study in the same areas next year.

My original decision to study Korean came on a whim when I realised I had quite a few free electives in my Arts Degree. Originally I decided to use those electives to study Korean just because I liked K-pop. However, my interest in Korea very quickly grew beyond its pop culture as I encountered topics relevant to this region in subjects from my history major as well. My study of Korean alongside my growing interest in the history of the region seemed perfect compliments to each other and so I chose to double major.

You'll find this course appeals to you no matter your initial level of interest in Korea. The instructors regularly incorporate snippets from the dramas and music you all know and love as as practice dialogues. They also explore contemporary issues in Korea through the use of opinion pieces and articles written in Korean at higher levels. Anyone from people with a passing interest in K-pop or K-dramas to those who enjoy academic study of history or foreign cultures, or even those hoping to teach English overseas in Korea like myself will find the instruction on language and culture in the Korean studies subjects to be invaluable.

Current Doctoral (Research) Students

Hyein (Ellen) Cho

Hyein Cho is a PhD candidate at Monash University. She received both her BA in International Studies (International Relations, Middle Eastern Studies and History) and MA in International Relations. Prior to commencement of her PhD journey here at Monash, she worked as a project manager (Cultural and Economic Affairs Section) at the Consulate-General of the Republic of Korea in Melbourne. Hyein’s current research project is entitled ‘An intersectional approach to the lived experience of DFV in South Korean Australian diasporic communities’. Her research interests include the Korean diaspora in Australia, violence against women, domestic and family violence (DFV), and North Korean migration.

Soyeon Kim

Soyeon third photo

Soyeon Kim commenced her doctoral program in early 2019 under the joint supervision of Dr Lucien Brown and Dr Naomi Kurata. Before she joined Monash University, her background is Early Childhood Education (BEd) as well as Educational Studies (MEd), and she has been working in the education field for the last 15 years. Soyeon’s current research project is entitled ‘Family Language Policy (FLP) of Korean-English speaking cross-cultural families in Australia and South Korea’. This study aims to investigate the current FLPs of these Korean and English speaking families in two different countries and factors that possibly affect their FLPs. She is also gaining other valuable academic experiences at Monash University including co-authoring other academic research, teaching and working as a research assistant. She feels lucky that she is part of the Korean Studies at Monash University.