“When I was 12 I moved to Canada from Korea where I was born. I went there with my mom and my brother. At first, my father was a goose father. We have this term in Korea, it’s a father who lives in Korea and supports his family in a foreign country. After two years of studying my father was of course lonely, and my mother was suffering as well because she had few friends in Canada. We had a compact with my dad to just go study for two years, but my mother actually applied for permanent residency without telling my brother or I. She thought the Canadian environment would be better than Korea, because Korean society can be very competitive for youngsters. My dad didn’t want to be apart from us either, so after going back to Korea for one year, we as a family immigrated to Canada.
“I think I am more Korean than Canadian. My parents always say don’t forget your roots, ‘Wherever you go you are Korean, think of yourself as an ambassador and act like it’. But I don’t feel that Korea is my only homeland because I don’t have a family there, but it is not a foreign country to me either.
“Speaking Korean in Canada or Vancouver is not a very strong point but going back to Korea and speaking fluent English is advantageous. I decided to go return to Korea and I was accepted to Seoul National University. Originally I wanted to do a double degree with China because I studied abroad there during undergraduate, but my school only had a double degree with Tokyo. I didn’t really have that much intrigue for Tokyo before, but since coming I have learned so much about Japan. When you go around everything is clean, no one throws trash on the ground, people are also polite and don’t want to be `meiwaku’ (annoying) to each other.
“In the future I want to explore more, because I lived in Asia for almost three years now, I want to try different continents. Maybe work for an international organization in Europe or the United States. I’m not ready for settlement I want to challenge myself more and widen my perspective.”