Volunteering at the 2012 Olympic Games while studying at BU has led Eunjung Kim to pursue an academic career which is shaping approaches to volunteering around the world.
Eunjung, from South Korea, completed her Master’s in Tourism Management at BU in 2012 and is now a lecturer and researcher in the School of Business and Law at Edith Cowan University in Joondalup, Australia.
It was while studying at BU that Eunjung was successful in her application to volunteer at the 2012 Olympic Games. She said: “This was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I helped to manage crowds in Weymouth where 500,000 people descended for sailing events. This experience determined my thesis topic on volunteering at mega sporting events. The experience and thesis then enabled me to study my Doctor of Philosophy in the same topic at Griffith University in Australia and ultimately to apply my knowledge and experiences through teaching and researching all over the world.”
Having since volunteered at other sporting events, including the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, Eunjung has gone on to publish research articles on volunteer management in events, as well as to better shape approaches to volunteer-led programs. She said: “My research is looking at how volunteering can lead to more diverse, equitable, informed, and productive communities, schools, and workplaces. These research outcomes will inform the development of university led volunteer programs; guide organisations to develop their own volunteer programs and contribute to the future recruitment of volunteers.”
Alongside her research, Eunjung has been teaching more than 1,800 university students in event and sport management, including organising and arranging a micro-placement involving volunteering at events. She said: “My aim is that this can contribute to the connections between students and their communities and ultimately improve society.”
Thinking back to her decision to study at BU, Eunjung says: “Bournemouth University has an excellent reputation for its education, research, enterprise and professional practice. While the MSc in Tourism Management was difficult, I gladly accepted the challenges and studied hard. I learned how to write a thesis and to bring in references throughout the process. I spent long hours in the university library but there was a great deal of support.”
Aside from the academic experiences, Eunjung also believes that studying in the UK gave her a new understanding of diversity. She said: “I could learn about different cultures as there were students and staff from diverse academic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds. This helped me to understand how to build harmonious relationships and has since helped me to create a classroom environment which can accommodate the needs of each individual student. Through studying at a UK university, I got a sense of how big the world is, and this helped me have much bigger dreams. Studying at my UK university helped me to reach my goals.”