Solip Park – Be part of something brave.
It is never easy to move to a new country, but Korean born Solip Park did it twice. Moving first to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon and then – after hearing about Aalto’s vibrant remix of arts and business – she moved again to Finland to be part of the Nordic Visual Studies and Art Education (NoVA) program.
South Korean born Solip Park doesn't know what's next, and she's fine with it. The wunderkind educational game designer has spent much of her adult life dancing from curiosity to curiosity; from gaming to business, art to education.
Park, who has worked as a project manager, artist and designer in the video game and education field, was born in the rural area of South Korea. Her parents were educators and were interested in different cultures, but neither spoke English. "I learned English by watching Disney cartoons", Park laughs. "What was important was that my parents really pushed me to explore my interests. To leave the nest and see the world."
From there Park got a chance to be a real globetrotter and travel tens of thousands of kilometers. First, she found herself en route to Pennsylvania's prestigious Carnegie Mellon University, where she received her first Master's degree. Shortly thereafter, she moved to sunny California, where she worked in the California office of East Asian online gaming giant, Nexon. "Santa Monica, Silicon Valley, all of it was surreal. Like living in a weird movie," Park recalls.
On special assignment by Nexon, Park went back to South Korea to set up the Computer Museum and worked on exhibition, research and education programs about the history of digital technology. After the project finished she started to think of what she could do next. "The more you move, the more you get a taste for it. I wanted to see more of the world and had always been drawn to Nordic social values.”
She applied to Aalto University after having heard about the high level of Finnish education and reading online about the thriving Aalto Ventures Program (AVP). "Elsewhere in the world, if you visit the best schools, the best 1% of the students are the focus, and the remaining 99% get largely ignored. Here in Finland, its more equal. You are more than just a number, and all students are valued.” Furthermore, the system adapts, Finland and Aalto have been invested in making sure education stays current; constantly revising and being aware of emerging trends in business, art and technology.
Park says she does not know where she'll find herself next. However, she has a few things of interest: "Whatever I do, I want to combine learning, computers and art. I want to particularly try to lower the gap between different generations, which is a challenge everywhere." When asked where she gets the courage to move, she shrugs, "I never thought I was particularly brave. I've learned that in order to succeed in the world, you have to be a good listener, and if you have an open mind, you are at home anywhere."
See Park’s illustrated diary online at: http://www.parksolip.com/
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