Occupation: Student @ Wellesley College
Likes: My sister & brother, Rice, Kimchi, Spicy Fish Stew
Dislikes: Dry weather, loneliness
So.. how did I get interested in North Korea? You see, although I am a Korean international student, I really wasn’t interested in this issue before I got to college. I remember listening to a missionary who helps North Korean defectors, give a sermon to our church in Korea and like many other students in the room, I was just really unsympathetic towards the issue. I actually thought that it was unfair for the South Koreans to keep giving aid while we never get to know where all the rice and money goes and also when the North Korean regime would occasionally threaten the whole peninsula with nuclear missile hubbubs.
However, this summer really changed my view A LOT. From May to July I volunteered at Setnet School(www.34school.net), an alternative school for North Korean defector youth, in Seoul, South Korea. At first getting along wasn’t easy, and the defectors weren’t the easiest shells to crack. However, in July I went to Vietnam with them for two weeks, and was able to finally bond with my teammates. The friends that I met, young and old, men and women from all different walks of life, were struggling to start a new life that they have paid a heavy price to enter. It pained me to witness how broken they were, especially the ones who had left their loved ones behind, but at the same time their resilience and desire for life left me in awe and made me reflect on how much passion I have toward my life.
Witnessing how scarred my friends’ lives was the key moment for my being involved in the North Korean issue. I realized that sooner or later reunification would happen, the borders will crumble down.. and someone needs to pave the way. That’s why I wanted to join this blog, too— to tell the world, to tell you, that there are normal people like me who want to prepare for a better future. I hope to give back to my defector friends, who taught me so much, a society with less prejudice and more acceptance… and this is what I can do for now.