Meet Ran Yoo
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is blessed by the presence, gifts, and experiences our international students bring to the seminary community. We recently sat down with Master of Divinity student Ran Yoo to hear about her exeperiences at Garrett-Evangelical.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am from Seoul, South Korea.I graduated from Methodist Theological University in Seoul with a major in theology. I am affiliated with the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple as a ministry intern, and my home church is Jesus-Love Korean United Methodist Church in Skokie. I came to Garrett-Evangelical in 2012 with the intention of becoming an ordained Elder in the UMC. I am currently a certified candidate of Northern Illinois Conference of the UMC.
What made you decide to come to seminary, and how did you choose Garrett-Evangelical as your school?
I was born and grew up in the Methodist Church. Thus, I searched all United Methodist affiliated schools when I decided to come to America to study abroad. Among the thirteen United Methodist seminaries, Garrett-Evangelical seemed to be well balanced academically and in practical application. Lake Michigan and the incredible city of Chicago are other benefits of attending Garrett-Evangelical.
What has it been like to attend school in the U.S. after growing up in a different country? How have you had to adjust culturally?
I moved to the U.S. as a 26-year-old. I wanted to start the second quarter of my life in America. Starting a new life in a foreign country was certainly a difficult journey. Language barriers and cultural differences presented significant challenges. Even after being here for two years, I am still learning new things. Debra Shutter, a Garrett-Evangelical student who graduated in May of 2014, became my conversation partner and helps me with many of these difficulties. I call her my American mother because of the friendship we have developed through our classes together and our conversations.
What has made you feel most at home and welcome at Garrett-Evangelical as a student who is not from the U.S.?
At Garrett-Evangelical there are several people who sincerely care and support international students. I really appreciate their hospitality throughout my time here at school.
What has been your biggest challenge you have faced in seminary, and how did you overcome it?
When I started my field education, I was really afraid of staring my ministry in a totally different setting. In my first year, I served in a Korean church before being placed somewhere new for my field education assignment. While I was nervous about serving in an unfamiliar context, I am completely satisfied with my current field site. I realize now that God’s plan is always better than mine, and I am learning a lot in my new assignment.
Do you have any advice for students who are currently considering enrolling in seminary and what they should look for in a school?
I think the most important part of choosing a seminary is knowing what they can provide you to prepare you for your future ministry. Do they provide good academics, internship programs, scholarship opportunities, and worship services? Decide what you need to build up for your specific calling and vision, and then you can search out what school will be the best for you as a bold leader of the church.