Daniel Kim ’15 wasn’t prepared for the international expertise he found on the Calvin campus when he first settled into his residence hall room as a new student.
“I was surprised at the size of the population of MKs [missionary kids] and specifically of Korean MKs,” said Kim. “I was planning to major in international relations and found that Calvin is the perfect place for this since you could find Calvin friends from almost every city in the world.”
Kim said he was exposed to many cultures and engaged students in talking about their global experiences. Thus, he learned not only from professors about the world—which he fully expected—but also from classmates.
Semesters in South Korea and England were also helpful.
“I wanted to attend a Christian liberal arts college because I knew that every subject is connected to another and seeing the big picture is necessary for international work,” he said. “Calvin was very intentional about this.”
He is grateful for professors such as Scott Vander Linde in economics, Mary Vander Goot in psychology and Becca McBride in political science for their open doors and mentorship.
Kim took full advantage of Calvin’s many opportunities for faculty and student interaction, signing up for “lunch with a prof” sessions and becoming active in the international student organization and activities.
One of his student internships was at World Renew, where he worked to create a global volunteer internship program. He also helped resettle refugee families through Lutheran Social Services.
After Calvin, Kim was first employed by the Red Cross to help refugees in the U.S. connect with families and find loved ones. That work was followed by his current position as a Korean market specialist, employed by Compassion International in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“We have over 14,000 Korean sponsors and donors in the U.S.,” said Kim, “and I raise awareness about areas of need and steward them in support of humanitarian relief, especially for children in poverty.”
We can share our knowledge to help children and refugees. Using ‘Calvin power’ we can continue to grow together.Daniel Kim ’15
He sees this work as a natural outgrowth of his life and educational experiences.
“We have to share what we have been given by God,” he said. “Being Korean American makes me very aware of both cultures, and I feel called to share my knowledge and gifts with others.”
Kim has been very deliberate in building a strong network of Christian friends and colleagues who are engaged in similar work.
He developed social media groups and other communication connections that he calls his “Calvin power.”
His friends and coworkers stay in touch, pray for and support one another, share learnings and expertise, and stay engaged in one another’s lives.
He said, “We all grew up together as students and now as young professionals. We can share our knowledge to help children and refugees. Using ‘Calvin power’ we can continue to grow together.”
Kim said that “Calvin power” was also responsible for helping him get his bearings after Calvin in Grand Rapids and Colorado Springs. He uses the online “uKnight” alumni directory for networking purposes. An alumni couple in Colorado Springs meet and have dinner with him regularly to offer encouragement and counsel.
He recently began working on a graduate diploma in international relations through the London School of Economics.
“I want to prevent and alleviate human suffering and expand international capacity for that work,” Kim said. “I especially want to lift up refugees and poverty-stricken children.
“Maybe I won’t end up with a Nobel Peace Prize, but knowing that everything is from God, I also know that everyone belongs to him.”