ANNOUNCEMENTS
  • [K-12] NJHS Women's Health Access Dress Down Day on May 29th.
  • SKAC HS Soccer 7's @ISB on May 23rd.
  • SKAC MS Basketball Finals @ISB/BFS on May 22nd.
  • KISAC MS Girls Basketball Tournament @DIS on May 17th-18th.
  • KISAC MS Boys Basketball Tournament @KISJ on May 16th-18th.
  • Don't forget your spirit shirts on Friday.
The Student News Site of Daegu International School

Jets Flyover

Daegu International School's student news site
ANNOUNCEMENTS
  • [K-12] NJHS Women's Health Access Dress Down Day on May 29th.
  • SKAC HS Soccer 7's @ISB on May 23rd.
  • SKAC MS Basketball Finals @ISB/BFS on May 22nd.
  • KISAC MS Girls Basketball Tournament @DIS on May 17th-18th.
  • KISAC MS Boys Basketball Tournament @KISJ on May 16th-18th.
  • Don't forget your spirit shirts on Friday.
The Student News Site of Daegu International School

Jets Flyover

The Student News Site of Daegu International School

Jets Flyover

Alumni Connection: Pawan Kim

2016 Graduate chats about Spain, advice for seniors, and his DIS memories
Pawan basks in the sunlight on his first family trip in Spain. Photo courtesy of Pawan Kim.

An old face with a kind soul, Pawan Kim reconnected with DIS in a lengthy back and forth. Through a 2 hour long interview with the Flyover, Pawan reminisced on his formative experiences that led up to his current job and residence in Barcelona.

What schools did you go to before DIS? How did they compare to DIS?

I went to Yongsan International School Seoul (YISS), and then left for an international school in Dubai for 8 years. It was called the International School of Choueifat, and it’s really different from DIS. First, it was a lot bigger — we had 300 students per grade. We had a full field-size football pitch and 2 full-scale basketball courts. The facilities in DIS were much cleaner and newer, though. And at DIS, you had more one-on-one interaction with teachers because there were more of you staying in the classroom and teachers coming to you, rather than you going to a teacher’s classroom.

When did you start your journey in DIS? Why did you choose DIS?

I started going to DIS in August 2012 as a freshman, and I was there until my graduation. I was living in Dubai before DIS, and my parents wanted me to have an education outside of the school where I was. They were also thinking of moving back to Korea for my dad’s business, so it just made sense to move to Korea. Rather than having me far away and go to another school, my dad thought it would be good if we stayed all together.

Pawan, at age 4, was already a fashionista ahead of his time. Photo courtesy of Pawan Kim.

How would you describe your experience in DIS? 

As a whole, it was really positive. My old school was so regulated. We had these teachers just be there to make sure you are not doing anything wrong, which made me feel like I was doing things wrong. DIS has fences, but my old school had walls, and they were high. But at DIS, all the teachers were very friendly. I don’t know if it was typical American friendliness, but I had a very good relationship with the teachers when I was there. I met some teachers that really changed my life. 

With my friends, we were the 3rd graduating class of DIS and also the largest, but I also felt like we were one of the tightest groups at the time. I got to enjoy stuff that I never really enjoyed – sports, especially, because it is not as hot as in Dubai. Growing up, I wasn’t close to that many Korean people, but then at DIS, most people were Korean. When you get to talk to them and understand more, you get to understand not just the Koreans in DIS but Koreans elsewhere as well.

Do you have any specific teachers you remember and like to thank?

Yeah, I remember every teacher who taught me in DIS. But, of course, the most special one would have to be Mr. Hutchings. I learned how to play the violin, and I got some really nice years out of it. Outside of that, because he is also half-Korean, I could kind of relate to him. I would often ask for guidance outside of music. I could really talk to him about career guidance and feel comfortable, knowing that he wouldn’t ignore my problems. He also provided career coaching to me. When you are in school, I think teachers are a good source of information because they come from that field.

There are a couple of shout-outs: Mr. Hinkle, for instance, who taught me English for three years. We had the same type of humor, so I felt very relaxed in his class. Ms. Gillette was a very special teacher to me. Ms. Scala was also a really really important teacher to me. She taught statistics, economics, and natural science in middle school; she actually set me on the path to where I’m at today. She was also a teacher who respected you and treated you well if she saw that you were trying, but if she thought that you weren’t she was very strict. 

Do you miss anything from DIS?

I miss my time there a bit. I miss hanging out with friends every day. Even though we weren’t doing something fun, like doing homework together or just doing a football match, those small moments built connections and memories. Honestly, I don’t know how the food there is now but I kind of miss the food, too. You could get a variety of food from the international and Korean sections with a healthy balance of food. 

Sometimes, if I feel like I’m not really sure where I’m going, I think of the person I was back then. I used to have different goals and desires, so I see if I could pull something from there. I haven’t visited since my last time in 2018, mainly because I didn’t have the chance to visit. Also, I thought there would be no one there anymore, but I was surprised to hear there are still a lot of people that I know still there. 

Pawan’s hard work put into prom in high school now ranks as one of his most enjoyable memories. Photo courtesy of Pawan Kim.

Do you remember the paper Flyover? 

We didn’t even have paper Flyover at my time. We had just Jet Stream videos. Jet Stream was the only way really to spread the news around unless it was through a teacher or the principal’s announcements. I was actually in one of the videos from 7 years ago. I used to direct them a lot, too. I briefly considered going into the media. I continued doing video work when I was at my old university, but they didn’t have something like that here. 

Would you consider yourself to be more Korean or Indian? What do you identify as? 

I identify as Korean. I grew up in Korea, grew up speaking Korean, and Korean is my mother tongue. I don’t speak it as well as I would speak English, but it is still a natural language for me. I grew up eating Korean food, the decorations in my house were Korean, and my entire family spoke Korean growing up. I don’t really feel that I’m so Indian until it comes to talking to actual Koreans. I guess then I feel a little cultural difference. I’m from India, I don’t deny that – but I don’t feel so much connection. 

Pawan stalls before going on an intense ride at a water park. “To be fair, I was cute then,” says Pawan in 2023. Photo courtesy of Pawan Kim.

Have you faced racism in Korea or Dubai?

Well, when I was young, I guess, from other Korean kids. It is hard to say because when you are young, I don’t think they do it out of malice. I think you do it because you don’t understand. And especially, when you grow up they don’t know how to express themselves properly. They want to be nice to you, but they don’t want to show that they are an easy person, so they would try to make fun of you. When I was younger, in Dubai, a group of Korean kids around my age would use Indian demeaning words against me. It wasn’t like they were trying to actively assault me. And afterwards, most of them said sorry. So I think I was pretty lucky on my side not to have experienced it. 

Do you go by Mansukhani or Kim? Was there a reason for changing your name?

I go by Kim now. All my documents were changed to Kim. I have not used my Indian last name for years — it’s very rare that I hear it. The reason for the name change was my passport change. I used to have dual citizenship, and I used the Indian passport to enter DIS because of the competitiveness of applying as a Korean. So, my parents found a loophole, putting me in as a foreigner. When we were applying to universities, we didn’t want there to be any document problems where they would be like, “Why are there two last names for a person?” So, I changed to the Korean passport on the DIS record as well. 

Pawan hung out with his brother during his first winter break after going to the University of Michigan. Photo courtesy of Pawan Kim.

What is your job?

I’m a business developer for a franchise logistics and multi-service company called Mail Boxes Etc. Basically, we have one center that does many things. My company came into place when the post office wasn’t as strong as today in a lot of countries. It was like a private post office, but it is changing to be something bigger. We do a lot more stuff for business now than individual people. My job is basically to try to bring the company to Korea, but now, the problem is that we have a business model that is very unique. We know how to apply it, but we don’t know the market. We don’t know what people in Korea want and need — especially companies. My job is to find entrepreneurs and CEOs to purchase from us the franchise license and trademark. 

Pawan at his first career fair at university. He had to explain that he was a student, not a recruiter. Photo courtesy of Pawan Kim.

Will you have to do military service in Korea? 

I’ve already done it. I went there as an office soldier, but later, I was in logistics for the entire base. It was a small base, but all the people I met were really nice and the conditions were good. Because I finished the army in February, I had another 6 months until I went back to school. I thought, rather than just be outside and do nothing, I’d rather do the job that I was doing and stay as an officer to make more money. They also pay for lounging and for good, and I get extra benefits. So I could just do it for 6 months while studying and preparing to go back to university. But then, COVID happened, so I had to leave Korea as soon as I could. 

Pawan met his parents for the first time after recruitment to the army. Photo courtesy of Pawan Kim.

How often do you visit Korea or India? 

I was in Korea earlier this year in March for work. My current work is in franchising, logistics, and many other things, so I went to Korea for the franchise show. Before that, I haven’t been in Korea since 2020. Before, I used to go to Korea every year more or less, but now it really depends. If I can go for my work it is great, but if I can’t, of course, trying to go on a personal trip is also a goal. 

India, I have never visited since I was one. Mainly because, as I mentioned, I grew up in a more Korean way, and I’m not really connected to the families I have in India. It is not my number one tourist destination, so it’s not really in the plans at the moment. 

Where did you go to college and what led to your decision? 

I went to the University of Michigan in Arbor. It was a bit different there. The University of Michigan is huge. The entire city is just a university. I think you can experience going from a small community to a big community because you go from seeing familiar faces everywhere to “I have no idea who these groups of people are.” The University of Michigan was one of my early action schools. But really it was also one of the highest ranking schools that I got accepted to. Honestly, I wouldn’t make the same decision now – not because of the school, but just because it wasn’t cheap. 

What is your advice to someone who wants to change their major in university?

Even if you choose your major, you have up to 2 years to change freely unless you go to some predesignated program. After that, it becomes a bit of a problem because you start taking courses that are only for your major. Think a bit carefully before the two years if that is really what you want to do. I would say you choose something that you like, but still, something you can have a future out of. 

Why did you go to Spain? Why did you decide to transfer to another university?

The first reason for transferring was the fee. It was just too much money to go for another two years. At that point, I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to continue my life in America. I just felt that it would make sense to go to university there if I really wanted to stay, but I didn’t really want to live in Arbor because it is like a college town. It was also a matter of timing. The transfer window had just closed for American universities, and again, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back to university in the US, so I was looking elsewhere. I remember I thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to move to Spain, and since I speak Spanish, having learned it in high school, I decided to go to Spain.

What hardships have you gone through to adapt to a new country like Spain?

Language is always a tricky thing. You learn official Spanish, but if you speak like that, people would look at you a bit weirdly. I think the number one thing is that everything is pretty much closed on Sunday. So now you have to do all your shopping the day before, on a Saturday. I think the biggest thing is also the food. Not that I don’t like that, but you know, sometimes you just want something like Kimbap Chungook, fried chicken, or Korean-style pizza. I picked up how to cook by myself over the two years, but you know I can’t cook Yangnyeom Fried Chicken or something like that. And Korean stores are not cheap here either, nor do they have the same thing you are looking for. 

Are your friends mostly Spanish, or are they Korean or Indian? 

My friends here are actually international. I don’t have any Korean friends here. I used to have one, but he went to the army, so good luck to him. Actually, I purposefully didn’t reach out to Korean people because I thought that if I came to a foreign country, I should try to assimilate with the local culture or at least with other types of people. If I moved abroad to meet Korean people, I should have just stayed in Korea. This is my mindset, and that is how I view things. So, I made sure to make friends with only international people. I don’t have many Spanish friends primarily because they like to stick with themselves, and that makes it hard for me to assimilate. 

My friends come from all over the world. Meet different types of people because really this is where you guys get to learn about other people, their cultures, and the differences in how you get what you call an international mindset. I think the best time to do it is when you are in university and high school because, in the workspace, you don’t really have the time to do that.  

Do you have a hobby or interest? What do you do in your free time?

Until last year, I was very much into sports. I played football, went to the gym, and did sports with friends. Barcelona is a very nice city to walk around — we have bicycle tracks everywhere, and everything is very accessible by walking. So sometimes just a nice walk to the city center is 30 minutes away. That would be an activity with a friend. I kind of took a break for a while because of school, internship, and work. But I am trying to get back into it. Apart from that, I like chess as well. I saw DIS had a chess club as well. I think Dylan was the one in the article which is funny because Dylan used to be this cute kid when I was going to DIS. I also really like reading webtoons. I like to find series and kind of binge-read the whole thing in like two days. 

What’s your favorite music lately? 

I guess it is hip-hop. Actually, it has always been my favorite genre of music. I don’t think you guys have it anymore, but we had something called the DIS Chpier. It was when Show Me the Money was really getting to grow, so we had our version at school. I was in one. I wish I wasn’t.

Do you have a favorite Netflix series?

Top three I would say are Lucifer, La Casa de Papel, and Lupang. I watched La Casa de Papel in Spanish. I watched it to learn and practice my Spanish so I watched it again with Spanish subtitles. 

To celebrate Pawan’s graduation, Pawan’s girlfriend surprised him with flowers. Photo courtesy of Pawan Kim.

Do you have anything you would like to tell the DIS community?

So many students have the thought that once you go to university, everything is, like, done. I mean, Korean Universities do kind of reward you for the pain you went through. But, if you are going to an American university, it is just the beginning. You have to do everything you have been doing until now without your mom doing 50% of the stuff in the house. You will know what I mean when you start cleaning everything, making all your food, and budgeting everything, knowing that it will take 3 days for international transfer if you get money from your parents. It is a learning process, so it is not like the end of the world. But, don’t take your foot off your gas just because you got there. You’ll find people from all around the world, and what you thought was smart is average for them. But while university is the beginning, it’s not everything. The key thing is, it doesn’t matter where you go. What matters is what you do. That is where you really learn who you are and what you want to do. And in the end, it is not a race. 

The Pawan of old lives on. He persists with optimism and perpetuates strong values. As a wise 선배 (predecessor), he offers up his expertise to help any of you who might struggle with the university application process. Reach out in the comments if you want to connect with Pawan. He can provide his contact details.

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About the Contributors
Serena Travers
Serena Travers, Writer
A rising senior, Serena Travers returns to continue her avid passion for journalism. This year, she aspires to share her thoughts, meet new people, and take the best of the best photos. She also plans to dabble in design to bring the yearbook to the next level as she leaves high school. She combines her love for psychology with her writing. Her excitement and dedication to the Flyover staff is evident by the fact that she takes two media classes at DIS.
Luna Kang
Luna Kang, Section Editor
Luna, after 13 long years, finally enters her last act as a senior at DIS. She vibes with illustration and photography, but also takes great interest in music and literature. Having been with the Flyover for over half her time here, Luna reads and spices up almost every article that gets published. So far, her own best articles are in the news categories - Go check them out!
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