Jamie Kim

From Tehama Hall to Seoul, South Korea

by Jamie Kim

I’m writing this as a bullet train takes me from Tokyo to Kyoto at a speed of 300 kph. Out my window is a passing stream of scenery: clusters of traditional Japanese homes, patches of green fields, mountainsides and oceanfronts.

As the train continues its path, I reflect on how I got here. If someone had told me two years ago that I would be living, working and traveling in Asia, I’m not sure I would have believed them.

At that time I was practically living in Tehama Hall, going back and forth between classes and the Tehama Group Communications office. It was there that I learned what public relations is, the difference between hard news and feature stories, Web basics, media ethics and PR strategy.

I remember staying up until 4 a.m. with my group from PR strategy class to manually number the pages of our plan book. I remember Monday morning business meetings at the Tehama Group Communications office, building my first online portfolio, and wishing the AP Stylebook came in pill form so I could swallow and internalize every rule.

Now I find myself living in Seoul, working onsite with clients on the corporate communications team at a global consumer electronics company based in South Korea. I have a dynamic role with a heavy focus on client relations and providing counsel. Of course there are obvious challenges such as acclimating to the corporate culture and learning the language, though my fluency in conversational Korean has certainly helped. Nevertheless, it’s fascinating, and every day I learn something new.

The conductor announces that Kyoto will be the next stop. I look out the window again, thinking how far away I am from Tehama Hall but how the lessons and experiences will stay close to me regardless of where I am on my PR career path.

Photo by Jamie Kim.