Second year Communications student Sebastián Carmona Soto gives an up-close and personal interview of Iván Wong Veros from the Student Office of Segovia


It’s ten-past-three and I go up to the third floor of the IE University in Segovia and knock on Ivan Wong’s door. Of course he is talking to a student, this time about  maybe creating a workshop for Manga drawing. “Ivan, when can we talk? Remember we had a meeting at three?” He looks at his timetable on the computer “Oh yes, sorry.” He’s not usually late, but he is always doing things and talking to people, especially students, to talk about their ideas and thoughts. Like his co-worker Ana Martín says “He is an incredible PR, always willing to listen and dedicates a lot of time to the students. Sometimes there are students who are talking to him for hours and when I go and ask him, he says they just needed to talk to him.” 

Ivan Wong was born in England but when he was three years old his family moved to Vancouver, Canada. His mother is a Spaniard from Burgos and his father is from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, but he grew up with the Chinese community there. Ivan lived in Vancouver until he went to Montreal to study Political Science in McGill university. When he finished his studies he realised he did not like it all too much and so went back home to Vancouver and worked for few years as advisor in a bank, until a friend told him to come with him to Asia to visit new countries. “I did something I don’t usually do, I took a risk”, Ivan says referring to his decision.

After dismissing the other student he was talking to, Ivan leads the way to a class on the second floor in which we were going to meet. He sits down in front of me and says “What do you want me to tell you?” He is a man who looks like he is in his late twenties or early thirties, he probably measures about 1,80m and has a decent amount of black hair on his head. His face looks Occidental with some Asian traits, like his slightly slanted eyes. He likes to walk around energetically, wearing jeans and a shirt. He describes himself as “an open-minded person tolerant, in general, but also impulsive and lacking patience. I like to encourage the spirit of being kind and sharing and I like to hear people’s opinions and respect people as I want to be respected myself.” His philosophical approach to life nowadays is “Push yourself, but have fun.”

He went with his friend to South Korea where they stayed as a base to journey around Asia and taught English in academies there. He was there for two years in which he met many people and gathered different experiences. He laughs when he remembers the differences in culture and things that surprised him there. “There they have public saunas and I would go with other teachers, most of us from Anglo-Saxon countries, and we felt super self-conscious with so many naked people in the saunas. Some of them are like tall buildings and there was one with a terrace on the attic. Of course it was divided for men and women, but only by a wall. And actually you could see that the wall could be climbed, so it had like war-time barbed wire on the top, so that the men would not try to peek onto the women’s side. There is also a very curious thing that they did, I suppose it’s cultural; they would brush each other’s backs, so they would form long lines of men and children brushing their backs!.” He laughs at the memory.

“In hobbies I am a sort of geek, I could say it a bit softer, that that’s what I am.” He has had many hobbies throughout his lifetime, and very varied ones also. He likes to do scuba-diving, which he has done in Vancouver, South Korea and Spain, but it has been a couple of years since he did it. He has also done golf and squash for some time. He likes skiing and he did climbing for a while. Nowadays he sings in a local choir; Coralia Artists, in the tenor section, because he says that bass is less varied. In a more indoor aspect, he likes to read and watch cinema, but he also loves videogames. He has been at it since he was young and he has a PC, and Xbox and a PS3 to play. His most recent hobby came to him not even three months ago. “It was almost like waking up one day and deciding my new hobby”, this new hobby is board games. He has actually purchased seven or eight different board games during this past couple of months, and planning on getting more. They are mostly thematic, such as Lords of Waterdeep, which is somewhat similar to Dungeons and Dragons but more strategic , or Descent (which is similar to the most famous Warhammer). He not only likes these games for the fun itself, but because he loves the quality of the crafting of the pieces. “Es que flipo,” he says in Spanish, “in videogames you do not notice it, but when you receive a heavy box, with all the details in it, I don’t know, I like it a lot.”

After his two years in South Korea he went to live to Spain where his family had moved to while he was away. He did different jobs as administrative and advisor (for example for Kraft) and he worked in Clifford Chance in accounting, but when the chance to work for IE University arose, he gladly took it because when he had been working in South Korea he had realised that he liked working with younger people and actually enjoyed the company of people who were younger than him “maybe because of my lack of maturity”. This is confirmed by the fact that he gets along very well with the students at the university, as Gonzalo Muelas, a 1st year Law student says “He’s the shit, really great as a person and with a sense of humour.” “He’s a big kid, with a peculiar sense of humour.” mentions Ana Martín, “He’s our [the department’s] baby.”

 Ivan is nowadays the coordinator of the extracurricular activities and also helps with the student office. He basically organizes the administrative and non-academic life of the students, like he says “If there is anything non-academic I probably have a hand in it.” “He is the best colleague you can ask for.” says Nicky Sharp, another co-worker, “He is there when times are hard, always willing to give a helping hand, he even takes me to the bus station.”

When the interview is finished he tells me that if he remembers anything else we will send me an email, and leaves because he had had an extra long day yesterday and he is leaving early today. Later on, while I interview his colleagues, I find that he hasn’t left still because he wanted to finish off some work.


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