A Zambian student attending a provincial high school has received early admission from Seoul National University (SNU).
Kent Kamasumba was accepted to the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development at the state-run university, Friday. He is the first student to enter SNU from the high school, which opened five years ago.
The 20-year-old graduated high school in Zambia in February and transferred to the Jirisan High School in Sancheong, South Gyeongsang Province, in April. Jirisan High was an “alternative” school for underprivileged students and is turned into a regular high school.
Kamasumba’s father died early and he almost gave up studying. A missionary in Zambia recommended Kamasumba to the school. Upon arriving in Korea, he had to adapt to new circumstances and studied for more than 15 hours a day learning Korean. As the school is a boarding institution, he continued practicing Korean with his friends.
He was amazed by Korea’s economic growth in the 1970s and wants to apply what he learned to his country. “I want to be an agronomist and contribute to the development of Zambia,” he was quoted as saying. “If Zambia establishes policies based on the Korean model, it can develop as well.”
SNU’s public relations team visited the local school in May and Kamasumba decided to aim for the top university here. ¡°I heard there is a Kenyan student in SNU and thought I should study at the best university in Korea. I chose to study agricultural economics and rural development because Zambia needs to reform agriculture, as a key industry,” the student said.
The Zambian said SNU not only accepted him based on his high school grades, but had a high regard for his aspiration to return what he had learned to his homeland.
The Jirisan school started as an alternative school in 2004 and was later approved as a general high school. There are 53 students in attendance now, including three from overseas, and 10 teachers.
The school aims to teach students who wants to study but do not have money. It supports all educational expenses as it receives financial aid from some 500 supporters. It started to bring students from underdeveloped countries to offer them opportunities to study
Park Hae-sung, 54, principal of the school, expects foreign students to help their own country and even poorer countries after studying in Korea.
“Talented students such as Kamasumba will be a bridge between Africa and Korea when they return to their countries,” Park said.