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Sunkung Choi

Sunkung Choi
Sunkung Choi

Sunkung Choi is assistant professor at the Faculty of Economics and Business. She has recently been awarded a grant by the Korea Foundation and will continue working at the University of Groningen in a tenure track position. Dr Choi has a research affiliation with the Centre for East Asian Studies Groningen (CEASG).

Dr Choi’s research focuses on risk perception and risk attitude from a cross-cultural behavioural and economic perspective. How do individual risk perception and risk attitude influence the choices people make? That is one of the questions Dr Choi seeks to answer.

Great atmosphere

I studied in Singapore as an exchange student, and then completed my PhD in Germany. After that, I wanted to expand my international working experience even further. When I came to Groningen for my job interview, it was the beginning of summer. The city was really shining. The day I arrived, Holland had to play an important football match in the World Cup in Brazil . I was having dinner in a café when suddenly the entire place was invaded by football fans dressed in orange. The atmosphere was great and I immediately knew that I wanted to live in this city. Fortunately, I landed the job.

Open and flexible

I arrived at the right moment. The University of Groningen was looking to expand its interests in Asian Studies. In Germany, I had already worked at an East Asian Centre with an interdisciplinary approach. Groningen was relatively new in the field, so I felt that I really had something to contribute. And I am decisive and competitive, two qualities that are appreciated at the University.

What struck me as I started working here is how open people are. Also, the University of Groningen is much less hierarchical than universities in Asia or even in Germany. People move to a first name basis very quickly. Another thing I like is how flexible people are here. Plans can easily be changed if a better opportunity comes along.

Korea Corner

Since I started working here, I have been involved in many interesting developments. One example is the Korea Corner in the University Library, the first of its kind in the Netherlands. Here you can find literature on Korea and in Korean, together with audio-visual materials. It is a great place to start for anyone who wants to know more about Korea or who wishes to learn the language. The Korea Corner was funded by the Korea Foundation and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the Netherlands. There are Korea Corners in universities all over the world. In 50 years’ time, Korea has developed from one of the poorest countries in the world to one of the top 20 economies. Korea’s experience can be an example to other developing countries. There are many interesting topics for study in Korean politics, as well as in the social and economic aspects of Korea.

The PNU-Groningen Research Centre

Two years ago, I discovered that Pusan National University had approached the University of Groningen with a proposal for cooperation. I knew the professor who came to sign the agreement, so I was able to act as an intermediary. Now we have founded a PNU-Groningen Research Centre at Pusan National University. There are already similar institutes in China and Japan . The Centre is hosted by the Social Sciences Institute in Pusan. In Groningen, the activities developed by the PNU-Groningen Research Centre are coordinated by Globalisation Studies Groningen (GSG) and the Centre for East Asian Studies Groningen (CEASG). As a result, exchange students and staff travel back and forth between Groningen and the PNU. Anyone who would like to work with Korean scholars can apply.

Knowledge exchange

The University offers a great working environment with excellent facilities. You can meet both young researchers and senior academics who are leaders in their field. And one thing you will hardly ever hear is: ‘It cannot be done’. Instead, people will say: ‘How can we make this happen?’ A fine example of this attitude is the summer school I am currently organizing. In April 2015 , we came up with the idea of organizing a summer school. The immediate response was: ‘Let’s do it!’ This year, we are hosting our second summer school. There are two different programmes and the school will be attended by a total of 52 Korean students . In my opinion, Dutch people are not risk-averse and they embrace change. Perhaps it is in their nature: when you’ve managed to tame the waters and turn the sea from enemy to opportunity, there is not much you cannot do!

The University of Groningen is also a great place to start your career as a lecturer. Dutch students are less reserved than Asian students, which guarantees an interactive exchange of knowledge in the classroom between teacher and students . To anyone thinking about looking for a job in Groningen, I would say: ‘Don’t hesitate, just do it!’

Last modified:13 March 2020 12.51 a.m.