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Professor and YouTuber: Asst. Prof. Hannah Jun of DARI TV

Have you ever imagined that your professor would one day turn into a cheerful YouTuber? A kind of real YouTuber, not a moderator or a panelist in a serious academic seminar. That would not be too surprising if the professor we are talking about is Assistant Professor Hannah Jun. Since her always-energetic yet professional look has never failed to brighten Ewha GSIS students’ days, being a YouTuber is not too far from her daily personality.  

I am one of the people who watch DARI TV, Prof.Jun’s channel on YouTube that features stories related to graduate students’ life and career path in international studies. So, I am very delighted to present this interview with Prof.Jun. In this interview, you will learn more about the beginning of DARI TV, the production, and the recommended episodes to the new audiences.

From Zoom meeting
What motivated you to start doing DARI TV? 

There are a lot of reasons, actually. I was thinking about starting a YouTube channel for a while. And it was really only until COVID-19, the pandemic hit and I realized that we wouldn’t have a lot of face-to-face time, in general. So, I thought that that was the best time to start. What I wanted to do was to find a platform that would help better connect me with current students, and also former students who really care about what’s going on in the school, and maybe even reach out to prospective students who are interested in Ewha GSIS or studying in Korea. 

I think YouTube is really ideal because it has a great archiving function. So all the old videos are there, the old information and insights are there. I’m having a lot of fun with it. 

Of course, I do have a day job, so I can’t focus as much on the channel as much as I would like, but I do want to keep it very vibrant and hopefully, it does help connect. Initially, the concept would be like office hours where students would come and you would chat with professors. I think for university students, especially graduate students, office hours is really the time where you get a chance to get much more intimate with your other faculty members, not only to get to know them better but also for them to get to know you better. So, I searched the different channel names and there were quite a bit of office hours already. So I thought that maybe I would make it a little less formal, a bit more approachable. 

Why was it named DARI?

In Korean, DARI means bridge. There are a lot of meanings for DARI, but the one that I was thinking of was a bridge and I really liked the name because it’s actually pure Korean. The word is not based on Hanja or Chinese characters. It also does what I was thinking about doing, which is connecting me with other students and also other students with the school. 

The reason that I didn’t do my name. I don’t know. it might have actually made more sense to do my name, but I think it’s not just the school and the students or me as a professor, but there are so many vibrant things going on in Korea right now that I think I would love to introduce to the broader global audience. In that way, that’s another connection as well.

What is the main theme of this channel?

If you look at the design art, which is courtesy of ‘Haha.Hanoi’, who was the mastermind behind the artwork and I work with her as well. I wanted to introduce the elements of my profession being teaching at a university. I want that to be the overarching theme but not so much everything having to come from me. I think that the great thing is when I do the videos, especially with ‘DARI connect,’ is I get to meet with those in the industry, including Ewha GSIS alumni. So, the idea is that the channel was served as a platform for that in the channel art. You’ll also see Korea in the background. There is the Korean flag, and in the window, you will see Namsan tower and all of those lovely sight-seeing destinations, connecting the classroom with the world. That’s my main theme for the channel.

From DARI TV
How does making the channel support your main role as an international business professor?

I wanted to make sure that if I did the channel, that it wouldn’t be too much of a distraction from my main job, which is to be an international business professor at Ewha GSIS. So, in fact, all of the contents I’m thinking of so far have been really complementary. For example, it is a great platform for students to study with me because that’s what I do, believe it or not, outside of teaching hours or when students normally interact with their professors. So, I can actually be productive for what I do while doing YouTube at the same time. And I think a lot of the materials are targeted specifically at students. The theme is something like grad school life.

From DARI TV

In some ways, I wanted to provide an archive of information that I think students tend to ask very regularly. So, it’s like an FAQ section, such as thesis writing or research paper writing. I talk about reaching out to professors and getting letters of recommendation that would all be helpful for students. I think it would help them kind of navigate the waters because it tends not to be something that’s talked about very explicitly. 

When I meet students for office hours, I find that they tend to have similar questions, which is fine and I try to do my best to give a proper explanation. But I was thinking there must be a way to be a bit more efficient and maybe better for students who are too shy to ask those questions. It might help them in their graduate school life, which in turn, will actually make graduate school life for me as a professor much smoother. When it comes to things like research, I think students might be a bit more prepared. And it’s very helpful for me in teaching, and hopefully, it gives them inspiration as well.

Prof. Jun in classroom
The channel looks professional. Have you had any related experiences before starting this YouTube channel? 

I’ve never started a YouTube channel before, so this is my first attempt. It’s a great way for me to test out the theory and see what happens in the marketplace because YouTube is a very cold, cold world. 

I have been part of YouTube videos in the past. I can only think of one that I knew. It is a video about soft power in North Korea and K-beauty, from refinery 29. I only come out for like 30 seconds, but those are like my precious 30 seconds.

You mentioned that my channel looks professional and not amateurish. And 99% of that I think is thanks to my editor. I actually don’t edit my videos. I have a fantastic editor, William. 

In terms of the subtitles, I actually write all of my subtitles and that actually takes the most time. I think that that would be the distinguishing feature of the channel instead of just the automatically created ones. But that takes time. And when I talk with my editor, I actually provide concept notes. And I think we make a great team.

But every now and then I really do ask for feedback, especially from students and those in the industry, because I’m not creating the channel just for my consumption. It has to be interesting and relevant to those who are watching. 

What are the challenges of doing this YouTube channel?

There are a lot but I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible. If I was really ambitious and I wanted to make this my life’s purpose, then I think that there would be a lot more homework and preparation. There is a lot of challenge initially because I’ve never created a YouTube channel. Sometimes it’s actually nice to have a benchmark. But I couldn’t really find one. It was kind of trial and error. 

It hasn’t been so much a challenge in terms of not finding content. In fact, there’s probably so much that I could do and I would like to do that. It’s a matter of finding the time to record and to partially script or layout. It has been actually really joyful so far and it hasn’t been challenging in the negative aspect.

Please recommend three episodes that you think the Ewha GSIS students should watch and why

If I’m thinking of content that I made specifically for students at Ewha GSIS or those studying in Korea, I actually really liked “🤫 5 Secrets Your Professor Won’t Tell You [but I Will]”. It gives you a little bit of insight as to how profs might think. I might just be the odd one out and no one might think the way that I do, but that was fun for me to share. And I often don’t share that with students, um, explicitly. So that was quite fun.

Recently, I’ve been getting several recommendation requests. So the second video is “☑️ 3 Steps to Getting a Great Recommendation [from your Professor]” The key for all of that is trying to think from the counterpart’s perspective. Oftentimes it’s natural for us to think from our perspective: what we knew, what we want. But especially if we’re in a position to be asking something, I think it might be helpful to be able to delve into that. 

The third one is everything from DARI connect. I love it because I am linking current students and alumni or those in the industry. 

I’m actually curious if people actually watched the study with me because there are some people who are fans of the concept and there are some who just don’t understand the concept at all. I’m trying to do something with study with me a little bit down the road, but I also want to be careful because it’s easy to give a really kind of glamorous impression about being a professor or engaging in research. 

What are the courses you offer next semester? Could you give just a teaser of what to expect from the courses?

This will be like a spoiler as well. I’ll be teaching two courses at Ewha GSIS for spring 2021. Normally I teach Sustainability Reporting and Analysis (IS555). So that’s one course that I will be teaching. The other one is Special Topics in International Business (IS527). It’s the first time in a while that I’ve opened this course because oftentimes the subjects themselves might change. That’s an interesting one and hopefully a fun one for students. 

The course itself is going to be looking at contents creation and international business strategy. It will ask students to create digital content for platforms such as YouTube. If you’re looking to create a platform for the GSIS office or something like that, then what are some strategies that you could employ? It forces you to create, receive feedback, and engage with the audience. We find that a lot of businesses, universities, and other institutions and organizations, are looking at these platforms to see how they can market and also to share information insight. So, it’ll be a really nice practical course that we could try to explore.

For both courses, there are no academic prerequisites. The most important thing for the second course is, you have to be willing to receive constructive feedback, especially when it comes to content creation, the feedback given that might not be 100% positive. There will always be ways for us to improve. If it’s very difficult to receive that type of feedback, then it might not be a course that you would enjoy. 

Do you have anything to say to the GSIS students?

I was just going to say… (suddenly make a heart sign and then laugh)

I really do love the school and I love our program. The students who are here are the best students.  I have the biggest pride and maybe I’m a little biased because I’m also a graduate of the program.

I would like to continue to encourage our students, especially during these really difficult times when we’re not able to meet so much in person as you would like. Hopefully, there will be avenues, not just DARI TV, but other avenues that can help to encourage that type of connection. 

In terms of career advice, I’ll have more sessions going forward about different types of career paths. We have great courses like the Distinguished Global Lecture Series, where we have very distinguished professionals, ambassadors, and CEOs. Those who’ve made it in their fields. 

They’re wonderful role models to look up to. But I think often when we are graduate students, it feels very far away. It feels very uncertain how to get from point A to point B when point B feels like… Z (laugh). It is like another planet. I love that my channel doesn’t just focus on those who’ve made it, but those who are on their way. Hopefully, that can give some sort of encouragement as well. 

I want everyone to feel encouraged during these difficult times. We’re working very hard behind the scenes to make sure that your time here is rewarding and you can make the most of graduate life. 

Assistant Professor Hannah Jun specializes in the intersection between international business/finance and business ethics, with a focus on socially responsible investing and corporate governance/social responsibility. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Ewha Womans University and her B.A. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has previously worked as an equity research analyst covering the semiconductor and IT industries at Lehman Brothers and Nomura Securities. (Follow her on LinkedIn)

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Published by Khing Amatyakul

Thai, Working at SuperPlanet, IR grad from Ewha GSIS | @khingamat

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