Heart for Sharing
Chang, So-yeon (Student)
I came to South Korea three years ago, and I am currently studying at a university in Seoul. When I first entered South Korea, I expected there to be countless opportunities to choose from and I believed that I would work hard and do well. However, soon after I left Hanawon, that hope and confidence evaporated into thin air.
At first, I went to a vocational school and was offered a job at a company, so I thought I was pretty smart. I believed I would do better than the others, but now I know all too well that I was being arrogant.
Because I did not look for a job that aligned with my interests, but just something that I could make a living from, I did not find much satisfaction in my work. To make matters worse, my health started to fail. It became more and more difficult to sustain my body each day, and eventually I had to give up my job.
When my health recovered, I was determined to find a new path. I also made up my mind to continue my studies at a university. I had heard several times how difficult it is to find a job without a college diploma in South Korea, so at the not so young a age of 30, I entered the university.
Student life was much more enjoyable compared to work life. The best part was meeting other North Korean refugees who were going through similar situations. Since coming to the South, I had not met with many refugees, aside from a few close friends. It was not that there were no opportunities to connect, but it would be more accurate to say that I did not put in the effort to meet with other refugees. Living in hiding for 7 years in China accustomed me to a solitary lifestyle.
Just when I was adapting to the student lifestyle, another problem occurred. I was studying French language as my second area of study, but it became utterly impossible to study on my own strength. I did not have the money to afford a private tutor, and it was not easy looking for extracurricular lessons. During this time, I found out about PSCORE through a friend. Students of French language are not so common, so I did not expect to find a tutor for it. Aside from French, English was also difficult to study on my own, so I decided to contact PSCORE.
As fate would have it, a recently applied extracurricular instructor was a French language major. That instructor also thought that no student would want to learn French, and therefore applied to be an English tutor. In any event, thanks to PSCORE and my instructor, I was able to study both English and French all through my vacation. I can now attend lectures and study without much difficulty because of my improved proficiency.
What impressed me the most was their heart for sharing. They could have easily considered me a stranger, but they greeted me with a smile. I learned and felt so much love from the people at PSCORE who devoted themselves to finding me a tutor and also from my instructor who traveled long distances to tutor me even in bad weather.
I have lived for so long confined to myself, and there was no avoiding it. But now I know I do not have to live like that anymore. I am very grateful to know that there are people who are willing to welcome me with such warmth. When will this love that I received spread to the northern land? Today, I continue to study hard hoping that I too can share the same love that I was given.
Translated by Sooyeon Kang / Edited by Christal S. Yim
2011 PSCORE. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.