Tell us about yourself, Sung.
Originally in from Busan, Sung Jo graduated with a BA from Dong A University in Korean Language and Literature.
After studying English in Vancouver, Canada, he began his career in Seoul working in the entertainment/film industry working with international film companies and distributors from around world. It was at this time that Sung Jo began working part-time with AsiaLearn, (helping to start the operation that would later become the ISA Office in Seoul).
Later Sung Jo returned to Canada to enhance his work experience by doing an advanced degree in international business. There he began working in the international education field and eventually returned to Seoul to head-up the ISA Seoul Office.
What is your favorite travel memory?
I really enjoy witnessing the day-to-day life of the people I meet when doing personal travel. One of my best memories is doing a road trip across Canada and spending Christmas with a typical Canadian family in rural Saskatchewan.
My favorite business travel was to attend the Cannes Film Festival in France and hobnobbed with the movers and shakers in the international film industry.
How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?
Since joining ISA I have had many opportunities to develop my management skills and experience. Starting from a part-time, at home, position in the early days when the program was operated under AsiaLearn, to now having a large program with three coworkers is quite an accomplishment and I am glad to have been part of that development.
What is the best story you've heard from a return student?
The most heartwarming stories are those I receive from students when they write to us saying how they miss Korea and really appreciated the extra effort the staff here made to ensure their time was enlightening and enjoyable.
If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?
I would love to do an internship program in the UK or Spain. When I was a student these programs were not well-known or popular, and I know how much work goes into making them useful for the company and worthwhile for the students. I believe internships have a bright future as a key component in the study abroad industry and I would love to participate in one as well.
What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?
I am especially proud of the Seoul Team because they always go the extra mile to ensure that every student is well taken care of and that they all go away with happy memories of their time in Korea.
ISA is unique because everyone is very supportive of each other and we all work together with one key goal in mind and that is to provide life-enhancing and mind-expanding experiences for our students.
What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?
I think there are two key factors that make a company successful. They are communication and caring. Communication between co-workers is essential to achieve a shared understanding of the company’s strategies and goals. In addition, effective communication can address any task or challenge successfully.
Caring is another important factor because, without a shared sense of empathy for those we work with, easy things can become difficult. In Korean, we have a word “정” which can loosely be translated as a shared sense of understanding and relationship. It is something that I think can transform co-workers into friends, a job into a career and a company into a second home.