The world outside Korea has a lot to offer. Travel, entertainment, enjoyment, work and income privileges, friends and so much that a blissful life could offer! Childhood dreams have never remained in limbo of my dreams! Experiences in Korea during my younger years are worth remembering particularly to an international student like me – the virtues my parents have told me, the culture I am exposed to and the discipline that I have learned during my younger years.
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A Korean enthusiast as I am, I have ventured in Vancouver, Canada to pursue my degree in Association Arts. I am Sean Woong Bi, Doo. I am born to Hyun Eun, Kim and Hong Jick, Doo. I have first seen light on earth on 1988 Jan 1st, and was born in Korea. I am older than my sister, in a family of two kids to our parents. I would have wanted to remain in Korea but the demands for education and career opportunity bring me to Canada. For purely education reasons, I decided to move here. It is personally observed that my need for education and my quest for knowledge have been greatly influenced by the growing economic condition of the country. For quite sometime now, Korea has become one of the progressive countries not only in Asia but in the world as well. The growing economic condition of Korea has brought forth higher demands of production of goods and services and in return, greater number of career opportunities. Consequently, competition for the best and top positions is becoming stiffer. Many students of my age and of the younger generation are seeking for international education to obtain better and well paying jobs back home. In particular, learning English has been highly encouraged among students. In fact most Koreans I know travel to different countries to enroll and learn English. This may pose the question, “why English?” Competition in the global economy and in reaching out to the global community, the English language has been recognized. This has been the trend that I have grown to – competition in terms of educational attainment and career opportunities. In response, most parents including my parents encourage their children to have as a priority education. Hence, presently I am now a resident here being an international student; I first set foot in my town in 2001, eight years ago!
Living away from home has been adventurous. It is more of an exciting experience than a tedious one! Korean culture has taught me to live an independent life; in particular, males are required to render military service at an early age that is why I have inculcated in my mind since I was young to learn to live by myself and not to depend on others. I knew then that it means living away from home to learn to defend our country. In the camp, we are taught to survive with the least supply of food, restricted communication even from families and most of all personal discipline. The rigid military training and the personal discipline which I have learned have greatly helped me adopt to my new place and to mingle well with foreign students. I have gotten along well with my friends in school and in my neighborhood. First few weeks here was not as bad as I thought it was. The things that I usually neglect doing in my own home are now my primary concerns. I have to feed myself, do the laundry and do some groceries. Learning these basic things was a lot of fun. Besides, my family has trained me to be independent in some ways. The most important learning in being an international student in my school is the discipline. Being independent and away from one’s family is a challenge in itself – a challenge in terms of attitude, discipline, virtues and principles in life. By being alone at an early age, I have proved to myself that the virtues I have learned while I was growing up have been very useful in my day to day living, that I could say that my parents have raised me well that I am now able to take care of myself and be a good member of society, and that people appreciate me for what I have done and what I have become. I could hardly imagine the days when I used to worry about being away from home. But I realized that the values of hard work and perseverance which may parents have taught me have helped a lot in coping with the challenges I am facing while away from them.
Aside from school, I enjoy the work I have gotten into. I used to work as a promoter in a night club. Being a promoter was never a bread and butter for me, it was more of a diversion from school while earning at the same time and enjoying most of it. Getting a job myself has never been a hindrance to academic success. Koreans are exposed to this kind of arrangement – school and work at the same time. I grew up in an environment where students are exposed to different experiences, not just school. Students are allowed to explore their own world, and thus are allowed to taste a bit of how it is going to be when employed. This has been part of society’s way of training students to becoming more responsible citizens. This kind of arrangement is both common in Korea and Canada the reason why I immediately got myself a job. Students are sometimes given the priority in terms of employment in certain positions. It is more of living a practical reality of life. I study, I enjoy and earn at the same time. Moreover, doing both school and work at the same time is an evolution of my life, from being totally dependent from my parents particularly for financial support. It is my one way of growing up, to live up to what society expects me to do as a grown up. Slowly I realized the value of education and career. One can not do without the other. We obtain good education to land to a good career, otherwise, life would be stuck to little earnings which could hardly support the leisure of a teenager.
The way I see things now may have been influenced by my childhood experiences. Childhood years were a lot fun that I thought it was. I used to be part of the horse back riding team then. In fact, I earned the horse back riding youth championship award when I was fifteen (15). At first, horse back riding was nothing but part of being a child. Then I realized that not all kids come to experience that. One important lesson I learned from it is the attitude of being competitive. From the time I got the award, I learned to exert extra effort in what I do to always give the best shot; and this does not only apply in my horse back riding competitions but in my day to day living as well.
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Personal outlook in life is shaped by personal experiences. Dispositions in life are also influenced with how we see life. I am lucky to have experienced what I have gone through during my younger years. At times, we take for granted the beautiful things that we do. But behind the stories they share and I share, there can be seen the real person that we are, the real person that I am – shaped by the virtues I have learned all throughout my life as a kid, teenager and as an adult.
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