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International art students overcome language barriers to pursue their passion

Students from Taiwan, Colombia and Korea come to the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts to pursue master's degrees

Hakyoung Kim's "Linked" exhibition at the Harry Wood Gallery on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017.

Hakyoung Kim's "Linked" exhibition at the Harry Wood Gallery on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017.

From Korea to Arizona, ceramics major Hakyoung Kim has successfully received her master’s degree from ASU.

Her exhibition “Linked” opened Feb. 27 at the Harry Wood Gallery and ended March 3. Hakyoung Kim is an international student from Seoul, Korea. Before coming to ASU, she majored in ceramics and glass at the Hongik University.

“I think Korea University and the university in the states are really similar,” Kim said. “But Arizona State University has more culture-based classes.”

Started taking photos of new pieces!

A post shared by Hakyoung Kim (@hakyoung_ceramics) on

Her decision to come to ASU is based upon what a professor told her:

“If you are happy when you create art, you don’t need to make money,” Kim said.

Being an international student, she had to be able to communicate with other students in English. The ASU writing center helped her and fellow MFA classmates.

Ceramics major Shane Lutzk, who has worked with Tom Franco and James Franco, had a studio space next to Kim during the three years in the MFA program. He helped her with her English and was a friend during the process of making “Linked.”

“There was significant language barrier, personally what I did was talk to her as much as possible in the studio,” Lutzk said.

There are about nine students in the ceramics MFA program, and Lutzk describes it as a very family-like community.

“If we have any issues or if we need a hand, we can always ask each other,” he said.

The opening reception for Lutzk's exhibition will be April 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Harry Wood Gallery. It will be open until April 14.

Another ceramics master's student, Elliott Kayser, knew Hakyoung Kim since the beginning of the program. They both took an art and science class in collaboration with the life and sciences department.

“I helped her read over artist statements or any time she was going to give a presentation,” Kayser said.

Kim was the only third-year international ceramics student of the MFA program. However, many international students are currently in and have been in the MFA program in the past.

Painting and drawing student Camila Galofre is from Colombia and is in her second year in the MFA program. International students from China, Taiwan and Japan have since graduated with their master's degree.

Kim plans on doing an arts residency program for one year. She will return to Korea to create art and get a teaching job at a university.

“Creating and making art makes me happy,” Kim said.

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Elliott Kayser's name. It has been updated to reflect the correct spelling. 

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