Sehyeon Kim

Sehyeon is studying on the LEAP programme in Humanitarian Practice whilst also working as a programme co-ordinator at the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

Based in South Korea, Sehyeon has a degree in Nursing Science and has worked in global health for the past six years.

Below she blogs about her experience on the LEAP programme and how it has influenced her work as a humanitarian practitioner.

Can you tell us a bit about your education and career background?

Since I was very young, I dreamed about working for those neglected in the world. I wanted to help them directly, so I studied Nursing Science at university. After graduation, I started my job at a regional emergency centre. That experience changed my mind. Even though I was in South Korea, I observed a significant healthcare access gap between the high-and low-income groups. It made me think about the most vulnerable in the world and population-wide approach. I applied for a volunteer role at an NGO and flew to Tanzania. From that moment, my career started as a humanitarian practitioner. I have worked for Korean-based global health NGOs for about six years and, currently, I am working as a program coordinator at the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

What attracted you to the MSc in Humanitarian Practice?

After a few years working at an NGO, I needed philosophy on my practice. I thought there is something different between international development and humanitarian approach, and even between global health. Nobody near me could explain it exactly, so I decided to study for it!

How have you found the online learning?

It’s not easy. But there are some good parts of online learning as well. The thing I like the most is I can juggle work and study. Finding the balance was not easy; however, it is excited applying what I learnt for my project.

What has been the highlight of this course so far?

Well, being in the course itself is the highlight! But I like the core modules, especially Critical Approaches to the Management of Humanitarian Operations. The module made me think about philosophy as a humanitarian and a future leader in this field. Having discussion, group work, and reflective writing essays, I have learnt many issues to consider in humanitarian operations.

Has the programme influenced your work in the humanitarian sector?

Of course! The programme widened my view and deepened my insight. I want to explore more to have my own perspective in humanitarian practice. For example, before, I thought giving direct assistance was not sustainable. However, I found its value and necessities after joining the programme. I would like to experience all sectors in humanitarian-development-peace nexus to find better ways to approach those in need.

What has been the most challenging part of the course so far?

Since I’m a part-time student, balancing work and study was difficult at first, even now. Also, since the course deal with the philosophical issue, we need to think a lot. I believe I have never thought as much before in my life.

What are your future plans after you graduate?

I want to experience the organisations I have never worked for, including MSF and UN agencies. I think integrating is the most vital capacity in the humanitarian field. By experiencing all different sectors, I wish to have my own answer and philosophy on my practice.

What advice would you give to those thinking of applying?

If you want to know about the humanitarian practice, just give it a try! You will learn more than you expected. But be sure that it’s not a beautiful story. You need to think, debate, discuss and analyse intensively. Your experience in the humanitarian field would be a good asset for studying the course.