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Lee Eunji (North Korean defector and student, Alias)


I defected from North Korea in April of 2008. I am writing this to express my feelings and opinions about the English tutoring I received from this organization. After coming here, I started hoping to learn more and go to college, something that I had never dreamed about before. But, I soon came to realize that without knowing English, I cannot move a single step forward in this global era.

While I was unsuccessfully trying to teach myself English through only books, a defector college student that I came to know told me about this organization. Through the organization, I met my volunteer tutor, Paur, and studied English very hard. My tutor’s enthusiasm was endless and because he taught so well, I quickly began to grasp the language. He was proud of my success.

A day, a week, a month… time quickly passed and it soon became time to submit college applications. I wanted to do translation work in the field of trade, so I decided to take a shot at the best college for foreign language in Korea: Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.

So on the interview date, I was the first one to be interviewed. My knees were shaking and my heart was racing, but I was calmed by their warm welcome.

They asked me this and that and just before the interview ended, they asked one last question. My heart began racing again. They asked me to write in English on the chalkboard. My knees were shaking so hard, I’m not sure how I was able to even walk to the board.

A few seconds passed and I began to write my composition. I remembered my lessons with my tutor and I wrote deftly. I remembered how much my tutor had reminded me to watch my usage of verbs in the past tense and I was able to write without any mistakes. Soon, it was all over and in no time, my acceptance came out. When I read the words: “Congratulations on your acceptance,” I was so happy I didn’t know what to do with myself. The first person I thought of when I got the notice was my tutor and I felt so thankful for the organization that helped me achieve my dream.

I want to thank the organization once again for helping someone like me. Thank you!

In the future, I want to be of as much help as I can in unifying the two Koreas and I will work hard to provide for others, help society, and to be the kind of honest person that this global era needs.


2009 October 19th



Translated by Jeesoo Nam / Edited by Christal S. Yim

2011 PSCORE. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.