I was born in Daejeon, South Korea but spent much of my childhood and adolescent years in Singapore. I returned to South Korea to attend Yonsei University, where I majored in Political Science and International Relations at Underwood International College. I stayed on in Yonsei to enroll in a Master's program at the Graduate School of International Studies where I specialized in International Security and Foreign Policy. Growing up outside Korea for all my adolescent years influenced me greatly in thinking about my identity as a South Korean national. This became the basis for my academic interest in South Korea's identity and its projection in foreign policy, which culminated in my Master's thesis on South Korea's ontological (in)security vis-à-vis Japan.
While trying out for the foreign service exam during my college years, I took up odd jobs related to South Korea's foreign policy and diplomacy, allowing me to observe formal and informal diplomatic practice and performances. My experiences at these "world-performing" (cf. world-making) sites piqued my interest toward the end of my Master's program in pursuing a doctoral degree in Political Science abroad. While I always had some curiosity regarding summits after witnessing years of contestation and struggle among leaders from China, Japan, and South Korea over leadership in East Asia and history disputes, it was only when I watched the live streaming of the April 2018 inter-Korea summit on YouTube in my apartment in Columbus that made me start thinking seriously about theorizing summit diplomacy and thinking seriously about conflict de-escalation and trust-building between adversaries.
I spend much of my free time binge-watching food and travel shows on streaming services. Lately, I have been into mixology and concocting cocktails using my home-brewed makgeolli (Korean fermented rice wine).