Chris JiHo Beon

Chris JiHo Beon
Meet Chris JiHo Beon

Beon strengthens international student connection to local community

May 6, 2020 | by Jessica Ha

Over his five-year journey at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Chris JiHo Beon strove to shine more light on international students, hoping to give them the same warm welcome he received when he first arrived in the U.S.

Before starting the journey from Ulsan, South Korea to Lincoln, Nebraska, Beon never imagined he would be so involved in university activities or have all of the experiences he has taken advantage of during his college career. After overcoming personal challenges and finding what he’s genuinely passionate about, Beon is excited to finish his time at Nebraska and start his professional career.

"As long as you are opened minded, UNL offers a lot of opportunities to international students,” Beon said. “It is there to claim it, which means you still have to work for it."

Although college was a long journey of trial and error to find his unique strengths, Beon notes that his continued perseverance and willingness to try new things helped him discover his passions. He changed his major three times before deciding to major in international business. As he reflected on his decision, Beon realized he had learned the most by being a part of several international organizations on campus, including the Cultural Ambassadors, Asian Student Union, and Malaysian Student Association. Fascinated by gaining a global perspective and learning more about different cultures, Beon realized that international business was the right fit for him.

If you are not sure what you're good at or what you like, give it a try. Take trials when you can because you get less leeway to make mistakes when you step into the real world.

Chris Beon
South Korea

Through Cultural Ambassadors and being a member of the International Welcome Team, Beon has helped students who have traveled thousands of miles away from home feel at ease. Thanks to his passion for actively taking part in and impacting the global community on campus, Beon has helped show the importance of international students to the local community, creating a more unified environment compared to his arrival in 2015.

Chris’s International Welcome Team members

Beon first joined the student organization Cultural Ambassadors during his freshman year, and has been an active member since. From hosting large events such as the International Food Bazaar during International Education Week, to the Winternational Ball celebration for all of campus, the club works to raise more awareness for cultural diversity and unite the domestic and international student populations. Throughout his time at UNL, the organization has helped him make new connections, his favorite college memories, and has become his biggest accomplishment.

Having never seen himself in a leadership position, Beon initially felt uncomfortable at the thought of leading a group of students. However, as his senior year approached, he pushed himself to go out of his comfort zone and take the initiative to run for an executive position in Cultural Ambassadors. After succeeding in being elected Vice President of the organization in 2019-20, Beon was determined to give back to the university community as much as he could by promoting a safe and welcoming environment to students of all backgrounds, as he had experienced. Serving in this leadership position has allowed him to grow tremendously in his management skills that will become a foundation for his future career.

Chris participating in the Holi celebrations at UNL

Also during his senior year, Beon dove deeper into his international business major and took his global immersion experience to Europe. Taking part in two education abroad programs, Beon completed an internship in Austria at IIASA, a research organization focusing on climate change advocacy. He also spent four weeks in England while participating in the prestigious Nebraska at Oxford program, the university’s oldest study abroad program.

Following graduation, Beon is eager to take the first step in his career and find a position in international trade in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Despite the challenges of the unexpected global pandemic, Beon is confident he and his fellow graduating students have a bright future ahead of them.

"It has been a tough few weeks where no one knows what to do because [a global pandemic like this] never happened before. But we fight as a community, as the longer this continues while cooperating, the shorter the terms will be," Beon said.

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