Meet Jun Soo Ha: Fulbright scholar and award-winning film director. Today he spends his time traveling and shooting films around the world, but he credits the TOEFL® test as helping him to study abroad, improve his English skills and pursue his passion for filmmaking.
Preparing to study abroad
Before applying to a graduate program, Jun visited schools in the United States and met with professors. He found English communication skills to be a basic requirement: “I mainly practiced to speak English fluently, which was necessary for studying abroad, while simultaneously preparing for the TOEFL test.”
Earning his master’s degree
Jun’s hard work studying English and taking the TOEFL test paid off: He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to assist him in his study abroad journey. Jun eventually earned his Master’s in Film and Video at the California Institute of the Arts in the United States.
Career in film
One of Jun’s proudest accomplishments came after nearly 4 years of hard work on his documentary, “Coréen2495,” when he was awarded the grand prize for a Korean documentary in the 10th Busan International Film Festival. He says that directors must try to communicate directly with viewers: “When directors cannot explain their own work before the audience in person, they cannot perform well globally.”
Advice to other students
Jun encourages students who are interested in studying abroad to focus on their speaking and listening skills to achieve fluency. Many of the courses in his Master’s Program required him to discuss in-depth dialogues involving emotions and complex situations from films: “It is vital to have the capability to speak and explain one’s own work fluently.”
Interested in hearing more advice from top TOEFL® test-takers? See past scholarship winners and success stories >