Senior biology and pre-med major Hyung-Koo Kim isn't one to compromise his convictions - not even when class credit is on the line. A native Korean, Kim spent three of his undergrad years studying at a Korean university where the curriculum included mandatory Saturday exams. When Kim explained his commitment to honoring the biblical Sabbath, his professors refused to make an allowance. Soon, otherwise-studious Kim faced a frustrating realization: without exam credit, he simply couldn't earn excellent scores. After three years of struggling with such a dogmatic administration, Kim heard about Andrews University's outstanding pre-med program and decided to transfer - even if only for a year.
That's a decision he's never regretted. Not to mention the privilege of religious tolerance and accommodating professors dedicated to his academic and spiritual success, Kim appreciates the general environment at Andrews. "I've learned so much here," he says. "I've been touched by the kindness and smiles [of students and professors]. The people are so friendly and everyone says 'hello.'" Kim also welcomes the spiritual emphasis at Andrews. "I am spiritually enriched [by] chapels and other worship programs," he reiterates. Plus, "I can really get involved."
Hardly a sideliner or spectator, involvement is exactly what Kim is interested in. Ever since reading Ben Carson's affecting autobiography, Gifted Hands, in the eighth grade, Kim has single-mindedly pursued that change-the-world, make-a-difference involvement in people's lives. "[The book] really inspired me, and I knew that was what I wanted to do."
After Kim graduates in May, he'll head to Loma Linda University to complete his medical degree. Currently, Kim's parents serve as missionaries in the Philippines, where he plans to join them upon completion of his medical degree. "I'll take care of the people's physical needs," Kim says, while his parents continue to focus on the spiritual facet of their lives. Eventually, Kim's missionary doctor career may take him to either Africa or India. The notion might sound daunting, but for a guy who spent three undergrad years battling unbelievably unobliging professors, it seems Kim packs plenty enough determination to fulfill his dream with God's blessing.