Senior from Mason Korea’s PPP Program breaks Korean norms


Yoonsung Shin took a gap year after high school and worked to get a higher score on the Korean national college entrance exam. While considering his options for the next step on his educational journey, he looked at the possibility of taking his college education in the United States after his mom introduced him to Mason Korea.

Younsung Shin
Yoonsung Shin. Photo provided

“At first, I was honestly skeptical of the whole idea of studying abroad, since I had no exposure to it beforehand,” said Shin. “However, what attracted me was the fact that I could freely follow my interests without any hesitation.

Committed to learning all he could through Mason Korea, he started with something familiar, broadcasting, an interest he held since high school. He enjoyed making new friends with people in the student media, such as the large student organizations, Incheon Global Campus (IGC) Broadcasting Studio (IBS) and Asian Boss Next. However, as he started to realize that machines could replace human labor in the segments of broadcasting he enjoyed, he recognized the importance of becoming proficient in these rising automated technologies.

In response to this revelation, Shin changed his major from a broad concentration in management to a more specific concentration in management information systems (MIS) in his junior year. Although Shin thought the only skill sets that could effectively be applied to all fields were information technology (IT) and coding, he never stopped pursuing diverse experiences.

From interning at a law firm to serving as a resident advisor and helping international students as a teaching assistant learn Korean, Shin made sure that he took advantage of many varied opportunities.

As Shin nears his graduation in December 2024 on George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus, he reflected on the value of the Patriot Plus Program (PPP), which requires students from Mason Korea to take a set of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses to reinforce their ability to learn in English. He said he understands why students might be hesitant in an unfamiliar cultural environment but also encourages them to break away from their comfort zone.

“Take the chance not to follow the life set by Korean social norms, but rather take responsibility to learn and experience as much as one can,” he said. “Being a Patriot has taught me that success is an equation of the freedom of choice and responsibility.”