A small seed bears fruit of love for Ewha
Falling in love with German literature
“Since I was a child, I’ve been interested in German literature and music. My uncle gave me two works of German literature when I was in elementary school, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Faust. I chose to study German Language and Literature in university because of my longstanding interest in German language.” This is how Director Kim started her unique life as a German literature student.
After graduating from German Language and Literature at Ewha, Kim went on to study abroad at the University of Göttingen, a center of early Romanticism in Germany. After returning to Korea, she worked for 20 years as a professor of German Language and Literature at Konkuk University. She noted, “It was a time when I found delight putting on German plays and poring over German literature.” However, she also felt sad about changes in the reality of students, who seemed increasingly focused only on getting a job.
A sower is needed for even a single kernel of wheat.
Director Kim established the Kim Hee-Kyung Scholarship Foundation for European Humanities after she retired from academia to take care of her mother, who had been left alone after the passing of her father, a former professor at Seoul National University. She started the foundation to honor her mother’s wish to donate her remaining wealth to society and named the foundation after her.
She managed the foundation with great passion and, as a result, it has grown from only three beneficiaries in 2006 to offer scholarships worth a total of one billion won to 100 students since its foundation. “I thought someone must play the role of the sower if even a single kernel of wheat is to bear fruit. It would be deeply meaningful if I could lay a foundation for passing a better spiritual heritage on to future generations.”
Sophisticated cultural awareness and warm-heartedness can change the world.
Director Kim hosted the scholarship agreement ceremony between Ewha Womans University and the University of Göttingen, and agreed to provide 48 million won every year over the next 10 years for student exchanges between the two universities. She has also been sponsoring the “Kim Chung-Ok Scholarship” for more than ten years to help students majoring in German Language and Literature to study in the country of its origin.
“If you go to Europe to study, do more than study at a library. Travel, socialize, and experience a larger world. Then, when you enter the real world, be a talented individual with a warm heart and contribute to society through your ability and gifts.” Kim hopes that Korean society can be elevated spiritually through her efforts at nurturing leaders with sophisticated cultural awareness and warm hearts. Hopefully, Kim’s wish will go beyond the Ewha campus to society as a whole.