Graduation: A "Wish" Come True for BVU International Student

Graduation: A "Wish" Come True for BVU International Student

Graduation: A
Left: Euna ''Amy'' Yong and Carol Williams, director of international student services at BVU. Right: the padlock with their wishes.

There is a very special place in Korea to go to if you want to make a wish or express love for a companion.

Euna “Amy” Yong made a wish in 2010 with visiting Buena Vista University’s Director of International Student Services Carol Williams that she would someday be able to attend BVU.

Amy graduates from BVU with a distributive major combined Computer Science and Management Information Systems.

The tradition of writing a message on a padlock, locking it to the fence at the North Seoul Tower on Mt. Namsan in central Seoul, then throwing the key away so no one can unlock the wish, began in the 1980s. Amy, who grew up in Korea, had never left a padlock at the site previously.

Amy has always had a strong desire to learn. One of her Korean friends had attended BVU and when she came back to her home country, told Amy of the great experience she had at the “small, friendly college.”

At the time, Amy was attending Sungkyul in Anyang, Korea but was interested in learning more about BVU.

In the summer of 2010, she had the opportunity to visit with Keith Betts who at the time was the vice president of student services/dean of students at BVU and was there visiting with former students and then in the fall she met Williams.

“I tried to picture BVU,” she said. “My friends told me it was a really good place,” she said.

Her desire was so great that she felt declaring that wish at the Tower would surely bring her to Storm Lake. She and Williams wrote wishes on the lock they attached to the fence.

It was in January of 2011 that she arrived at BVU and her experience there is even better than she imagined it could be.

Being at a school, she said, where she could focus on her studies and her own success is what she has found at BVU. She was even allowed to help “design” her own program of studies which includes computer science and management of information systems.

Being here also has helped her improve her English speaking. Her first semester, she was placed in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class, where the students are matched up with a native English speaker. The classes give the students the opportunity to practice their conversation speaking.

She was partnered with Austin Baker (a junior criminology/criminal justice and psychology double major from Blue Grass). With his help her English began to blossom and so did love! He plans to travel back to Korea with her to be an exchange student for the next semester - she has taught him the Korean language - and after he returns to finish up at BVU, the two plan to attend graduate school together. 

Amy has had the opportunity to be involved in many organizations at BVU and while in America, has had the chance to visit several areas.

Her brother, who has been serving in the Korean military, will be out the same day Amy graduates from BVU. He wants to further his education, actually in the same computer field Amy selected. She hopes to convince him to come to BVU; if he does, it will be one more reason why she can come back to visit her alma mater!

Amy hopes to eventually be a professor of computer sciences. “I knew from the day I met her, she was driven,” concluded Williams, who has a special relationship with Amy. “She never gives up.”