Around the world (and campus) with Global Scholar TaeHoon Kim

The Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul, Turkey — a former basilica and mosque — towers behind Global Scholar TaeHoon Kim in 2013. (Photo courtesy of Kim)

By Kenna Caprio

A friend’s advice launched TaeHoon Kim’s global adventure.

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s reputation for “global awareness” and long-established United Nations connection first drew the Australian native to the Metropolitan Campus. Easy access to New York City also proved to be a selling point. The opportunity to study biochemistry added to the school’s appeal. But the real kicker actually happened after Kim enrolled, when he joined the elite Global Scholars Program as a freshman.

Global Scholars “become more culturally and globally aware of their surroundings,” says the 21-year-old junior, who attended an informational meeting about the program on the recommendation of the aforementioned friend. Now — involved in a multitude of groups, organizations and programs on campus — Kim’s learning to “apply global citizenship to life.”

The Global Scholars Program, established in 2003, supports the University mission of global education through cultural and academic activities. “The four-year program is considered one of the two honors programs on (the Metropolitan) campus,” says Samuel Raphalides, program director and political science and history professor. “Today, we have approximately 50 students participating.”

Global Scholars live on campus in the Global Scholars Court (part of the University Court residence halls); engage in international travel; attend classes emphasizing global themes; and participate in at least seven cultural, intellectual and social events each semester, including U.N. forums with ambassadors.

“When I came here (to FDU), I saw the benefits of traveling; it’s an eye-opening, joyful experience,” Kim says. With other Global Scholars, Kim visited Barcelona, Spain in 2012 and Istanbul, Turkey in 2013. The winter session trips, says Kim, are “affordable for students. You go for a week, with a bunch of friends and do something new every day.” Before traveling to Spain, Kim had never been to Europe. “Both trips are highlights of my life so far. I want to go back to those countries again!”

In Barcelona, students explored Sagrada Familia, a large Roman Catholic church; Casa Batllo, the Antoni Gaudí modern museum; and Camp Nou, the home field of Futbol Club Barcelona. Of special note was the food, which Kim calls “full of flavor and delicious.” Colder temperatures on the trip to Istanbul didn't stop the Global Scholars from “exploring, shopping at the Grand Bazaar and eating out at exquisite restaurants. Istanbul is full of rich history.” Students visited Hagia Sophia museum, Basilica Cistern and the Blue Mosque.

This year, Global Scholars head to Belize for a week on January 14. Some students also ventured to Wroxton College on January 12.

“Australia is very multicultural,” says Kim. But the Metropolitan Campus is even more diverse, he adds. And that atmosphere, enriched by multicultural groups and programs, “provides new insight on how people live their lives.”

TaeHoon Kim at home on the Metropolitan Campus in front of the Northpointe residence hall. (Photo courtesy of Kim)

Involvement in the University Honors Program, the Student Government Association, the International Student Association, the Korean Student Association, the Pre-Health Professional Club, plus additional commitments to Global Scholars, as co-chair of the steering committee and as a resident assistant in University Court 4, fills Kim’s days and nights. “I do stay up late, but something has to be sacrificed,” he jokes. “In high school, I thought I was involved, but what I do here — that’s really what being involved is like. What you put in is what you get out.”

From each commitment, Kim learns lessons in leadership. “When you listen to others, you get more perspective,” says Kim. “As a leader, I don’t separate myself; we’re a group together.”

“A good leader knows how to follow,” adds Raphalides. “What students learn is how to work with other people and how to develop a consensus,” in the Global Scholars Program. Kim, Raphalides continues, “knows how to hold a meeting and organize.”

That’s evident in the way Kim runs his RA programming. He encourages group activities like charades competitions, with ice cream sundae toppings as prizes, to facilitate bonding. And though he’s busy, he’s always available to his residents.

“If you build a global community, new partnerships open up,” says Kim.

For more details on the Global Scholars Program or to apply as an incoming freshman, email Raphalides at

Feature Story from the FDU Newsroom

FDU Office of Public Relations

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