For me, Sophia was the first exposure to an international academic environment. I was overwhelmed at first because of the language gap and classroom atmosphere where students were expected to participate and contribute. I enjoyed meeting people from diverse backgrounds. I was particularly inspired by the other female students – they were independent, motivated, and clear about what they want to do in the future.
My experience at Sophia impacted my life in many ways. I was determined to major in political science when I entered Sophia but I ended up graduating as a philosophy major. I took a philosophy class as part of the requirements. This class turned out to be fascinating – What is truth? What is virtue? What is justice? How do you know that you know? These kinds of philosophical questions and examination of humanities and the world were an eye-opener for me. So I changed my major from political science to philosophy/religion. I am glad that I was given the freedom to make that choice. Studying philosophy at Sophia helped me build a foundation for graduate school and later for my work at the UN.
If I had not taken that one philosophy course, my life would have been very different, not just in terms of career, but more holistically – what I prioritize in life, how I relate myself to society, and how I raise my children. I value human rights, equality, and social justice. Aspirations for these values are the driving force for everything I do in my life. Learning about humanities gives you a wider perspective and it enriches your life.
I have the following message for current and prospective students: Take advantage of the liberal arts curriculum that Sophia offers. Take one or two classes you might think may be irrelevant to your future profession. You could have an amazing learning experience, which might transform the way you look at the world and yourself. That, I think, is the real meaning of college education.