From Rural Farm Kid to Realizing a Dream Come True
As a child growing up in a small farming community in South Korea, Myunghwan “Daniel” Ryu never owned a cell phone, so it’s almost ironic that today he works for one of the world’s largest cell phone manufacturers, Samsung, and is living a childhood dream.
For kids in South Korea, working for Samsung when they grow up is a common dream, Ryu said, and he was no exception. He remembers spending many days of his youth looking longingly toward the large factory in his town, emblazoned with the words “Samsung Jeonja,” which translates to “Samsung Electronics.”
On June 2, 2017, Ryu began an internship at Samsung Electronics America, in the customer care department, but the journey he experienced to earn one of 60 coveted internship spots was far from easy.
As a young child, Ryu helped his grandparents farm rice, grapes and pears and also helped his parents cultivate and sell their honey. His family experienced the same financial difficulties that many farmers do today, which took a toll on him.
“In high school, I was the only student in class who didn’t have a cell phone because we couldn’t pay the monthly service bill,” said Ryu.
“When I was a teenager, my church pastor asked me what my dream was and I responded, ‘I want to work at Samsung Electronics,’” Ryu recalled proudly. However, at the time Ryu didn’t have a plan outside of the farming tradition his family had laid out for him and with many financial obstacles, his goal of working at Samsung seemed as if it would continue to be just a dream.
Shortly thereafter, Ryu’s family caught a break: Samsung had decided to allow local farmers to sell their produce in the factory’s parking lot. The proceeds from such a business opportunity proved to be a key turning point for Ryu’s family and eventually enabled Ryu to attend university at Baruch College in New York City.
“The great profit that my family made selling honey to Samsung employees is a big part of the reason I can study in America,” said Ryu.
With Ryu in New York City and the headquarters of Samsung Electronics America located just across the Hudson River in New Jersey it was only a matter of time before he finally reached his goal of working for the global technology company.
“Honestly, it’s still hard to believe now that I am working at Samsung,” said Ryu. “This summer, we had the opportunity to participate in a Samsung Day of Service in which I wore a Samsung Gives shirt with the other interns. This was really meaningful to me because when I was younger I received so much from Samsung, and now I get to give it back.”
Upon graduating from Baruch College this December, Ryu plans to embark on a career in a high-demand area for technology professionals and may even find himself at Samsung once again. “I dream of being a professional data analyst because I’m very interested in data science. I would love to work at Samsung and I think Samsung will enable me to become a capable data professional.”