School of International Liberal StudiesWaseda University


Youngbin Son’s Experiences

120525_YoungbinSonI was born and raised in Seoul, Korea, for most years of my life before college, but for the five years I spent in the East coast of the US spanning from elementary to junior high school. When I came back to Korea, I attended a boarding prep school that prepared its students to go to American Universities upon graduation. But as my senior year there approached, I did not know which area of studies I wanted to pursue in college, and I began to look for a different opportunity for myself rather than simply follow the path established by others.


I chose to come to Waseda SILS for my undergraduate education because of the unique advantage offered by its location and curriculum. I liked that I would be able to study American Liberal Arts curriculum while experiencing the East Asian culture at the heart of the largest and most prosperous city in the region. The idea of learning the Japanese language while living in the country for four years, an experience and skill I will not have the chance to gain easily in any other time of my life, was strongly attractive as well.


At SILS, I experimented with a variety of introductory courses ranging from architecture to business to law. Among those was the introductory legal studies class, in which I discovered myself having a number of questions after every class with desire to know more about the subject. I took many more law courses offered at SILS, including Business Law and Constitutional Law, enrolled in two semesters of advanced law seminar directed by Professor David Waters, and wrote my graduation thesis on a topic related to US Constitutional law. I would go to the office hours of the professor, and he would not only kindly answer all the questions I had brought, but also tell me stories of his experience as a practicing attorney in the states. Both the coursework and talks with Professor Waters gave me substantial exposure to the field and inspired me to apply to law schools in the US and seek a career in law thereafter.


I began to research about US law schools in my second year, but it was not until my senior year that I began to prepare for the Law School Admissions Test and other application components. I found law schools’ websites to be the most useful source of up-to-date and accurate information about the application process. Browsing the schools’ websites also gave me a good idea about each school’s strengths and characteristic. Some other useful online sources were and


Columbia Law School, where I will be attending from this fall, has been my top choice because of its prestigious reputation and location. In addition to having the strong reputation that is known to open up career opportunities that reach beyond the national boundaries for its graduates, Columbia boasts extensive network of centers, clinics, externships, and internships that takes advantage of the New York City resources. And last but not least, the city’s breadth and depth of culture, recreation, and dining unmatched by any other city in the world made Columbia the most desirable place to spend three critical years of my life.


I am currently spending my summer before law school at home in Korea, spending much time with my family and reading novels and other books for pleasure. I believe I will be able to say more about the actual law school life and job placement three years from now. Although I have yet to experience the studies and career in law, I am grateful that I was able to find my passion and more so that I have been given the opportunity to pursue that passion.

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