Martin Seitz wants to give refugees a voice. After working in Cheongdo, South Korea for three years as an English teacher in the EPIK Program, and volunteering to help North Korean defectors, he realized the importance of NGO work. “Working with North Korean defectors and helping them resettle their lives was one of the most extraordinary experiences I’ve ever been a part of.” He credits his time in Korea with shaping his career ambition to one day join the UNHCR.
Martin, a first year MSFS student, grew up on a farm in Waterloo, New York. His grandparents emigrated from Germany after WWII and opened a dairy farm, which is still in operation today. Martin spent his youth milking cows and playing sports. He laughs when describing his idyllic childhood. Yet, Martin always knew he was meant for a different path, “My father encouraged me to excel and pursue higher education since I was a boy. He would often say: education is the key to a better future.”
After graduating from SUNY Oswego, Martin moved to South Korea. He said the experience was revolutionary, “When I first arrived in Korea I experienced complete culture shock. I was placed in a small village, with almost no foreign contacts, and had to fit in immediately.” His work brought him to Cheongdo where he taught English at a local elementary school. Martin excelled at Korean language during his three-year immersion and is enrolled in advanced Korean coursework at Georgetown.
Martin is currently focusing on international politics, economics, consulting, and IGO (international governmental organization) work, while interning with the OECD. Martin will graduate the MSFS Program in 2017 with a concentration in Global Politics and Security and a certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. He plans to join the UNHCR and work in Southeast Asia.
Learn more about other MSFS students here.