The life and dreams of a dedicated seafarer

This is Jisoo's story

Jisoo Kim has been on a hugely successful journey, both academically and professionally, since he came to Plymouth to study BSc (Hons) Maritime Business and Maritime Law. Graduating in 2015, Jisoo is now a Merchant Marine Officer for lino Marine Service in Seoul.

Jisoo reflects on his hard work and dedication while studying at Plymouth and how he was able to swap early coursework struggles for award-winning dissertation success, which has led to a career travelling around the world and a dream to create opportunities for those less privileged in the maritime industry.

Multiple prize-winning success

"I graduated from Plymouth with the PYNDA 'Plymouth Nautical Degree Association Prize' for best dissertation in 2015. I then attended the International Academic Conference as the only graduate with a bachelor's degree, all the other competitors had a master's degree, and I was awarded the Excellence Award with a scholarship of three million South Korean Won. In 2016, I donated all of my scholarship funds to create the 'Meister Prize' for students with great potential that need financial support – the prize helps students buy books or other items to encourage their studies.

“After this, I carried out further research in, and wrote a dissertation on, the Maritime Labour Convention, while serving at a Korean navy base camp – directly after the completion of my dissertation I was called by and sent to the navy. As a result of my efforts, I was passed into the first round of young role models of the Republic of Korea and was selected by the Korean government in 2016. Additionally, I was awarded the Naval Colonel Award from Republic of Korea Navy.

“As a merchant marine officer in an oil and chemical tanker fleet in the Iino Marine Service, I am now proudly serving my military service with a firm carrying major oil company’s cargo and supporting international commercial activities. During my vacations from military service I am writing articles about humanitarian and philosophical issues for a web-magazine and studying law in one of the largest law firms in Korea.

“It is my dream to set up a start-up business in the maritime industry. From there, my ultimate goal is to be in a position that allows me to create employment for those from underprivileged backgrounds.”

Globetrotting adventures

“Travelling around the world is the best and the most exciting part of my job, but it is also the hardest part because we can be working staying on board for up to ten months. 

"However, you do see new parts of the world and meet new people – mostly surveyors and cargo loading masters – and new cultures while you are on board.

“When we safely complete our voyage from the Middle East to the Far East and discharge hundred thousands of barrels of cargoes, the achievement of this safe transport, makes me feel proud. 

"This is also one of the best moments of my daily life at sea – there is a great sense of responsibility."

<p>Jisoo Kim preparing documents<br></p>
Preparing documents
<p>Jisoo Kim, volunteer work</p>
Volunteering
<p>Jisoo Kim's view of a ship</p>
View of a ship at sea
<p>Jisso Kim, on standby</p>
On standby for a ship's berthing

Benefits of studying at Plymouth

“The main reason why I chose to study BSc (Hons) Maritime Business and Maritime Law was because of its course structure. As a bachelor’s student, I wanted to learn the overall system of maritime and international trade. The course at Plymouth offered a variety of modules, including admiralty and business law, marketing, maritime finance, maritime history and international trade procedure, and even Chinese. This is the only course and university in the UK which I felt offered this variety of subjects. Your choice is very wide after graduation. You can choose any sector within the international business and maritime field, including maritime finance, law or trade.

“Additionally, there is a well-established network of Plymouth marine and maritime graduates across the world. They are working in Europe, Asia and America, and interacting with each other. Plymouth has therefore provided me with a global-scale network and world class education in the maritime industry.

“Most students studying on the course were international students, there were 13 nationalities in my class and now they all work across the world. As shipping is an international business, Plymouth graduates contact and help each other – fellow students are now shipbrokers, ship-owners, investment bankers, working in maritime agencies and legal experts – this network is most useful.

“When I started, I initially thought about the proverb: if you chase after two hares in one bush, you may not get close to either of them, and decided to focus on my studying most of the time at University, rather than extracurricular activities. Nonetheless, upon reflection I would have liked to have joined the boat and extreme sports clubs and travelled around Europe afterwards. I felt though the responsibility to complete my degree successfully and, eventually, I did achieve that goal, but I can now understand that studying hard is only just one part of university life. If I was to start university again I think I would play and travel more, to fully enjoy student life."

Journey to an award-winning dissertation

“My very first assignment was about the development of the Plymouth naval base and took around a month to complete. It was just a short and simple assignment at the beginning of the course, but because of my poor English and argument skills, I was working in the library until late at night to complete two pages of coursework. Eventually, I did achieve a first class grade of this assignment. 

"From there, I was encouraged and motivated to enjoy studying every day. As a result, I really enjoyed working on my dissertation and I had the honour of the award of PYNDA prize at the graduation ceremony. I was featured on the BVL Media website, which detailed my research journey towards my dissertation success.

“Consequently, my first and last pieces of coursework are my favourite memories of studying at Plymouth, not only because of the score, but also due to the encouragement that Plymouth has given me.”

“At the beginning of the last year, (Jisoo) began to write about the difficulties of the seafarer, which was based on his own experience. He especially concentrated on the contradictions of maritime labour agreements. He took advantage of the networks he had built around the world and collected over 400 surveys in ten countries (Korea, China, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, India, Ukraine, Russia, Malaysia and Poland) in 26 days. Also, between Busan Port and agencies nationwide, he succeeded in conducting 20 short-interviews and five in-depth interviews. Another highlight during this time was the honour of meeting with the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation while working at the Korean Registry of Shipping in the London office. Jisoo continuously asked questions of doctoral students and finally succeeded in compiling and analysing the statistics and data from his surveys. A few months later, he finally proved the paradox of the Maritime Labour Convention in practice that marine workers are suffering more difficulties than we think due to the practical limitations."

–  BVL Media website

Follow in Jisoo's footsteps at Plymouth

Get to know the exciting and often hidden business of world shipping. From shipbroking, and the transport of goods, to salvage rights and piracy. 90 per cent of world trade is carried by sea and you’ll learn about the commercial, economic and operational aspects of the maritime industry, while gaining a grounding in the varied and fascinating legal issues that arise in the sector. Our course has established a strong reputation within the industry, you’ll be highly sought after when you graduate.

Take advantage of our programme of visiting speakers, and gain insider knowledge and important networking contacts. Deepen your knowledge of the industry with field trips to ports and the City of London. Increase your employability with an optional one year industrial placement. The course is accredited by the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

Study BSc (Hons) Maritime Business and Maritime Law