Very soon, I’ll be flying out of New York to finally go back to my hometown, Seoul. For me, South Korea has always been a welcoming and a blissful community where I could put down my concerns about being a minority and encountering a language barrier. However, this summer, Seoul will transform into a completely new place for me. Rather than an asylum from all the complications in life, it will become a new ground to challenge myself and attain new experiences. Along with my fellow DukeEngagers, I will be teaching English to multicultural children and North Korean refugees for the next 8 weeks, and as a native speaker Korean speaker, this won’t be an easy task. Nevertheless, I will consider this as an invaluable opportunity to gain and apply new perspectives that I had obtained living as a socioeconomic minority in the US, and I feel excited to connect with people that are alienated in Korean society.
Apart from all the service works that I’ll be doing at schools, Seoul will also be a great place to enjoy Korean culture in a new way. Although I have lived in Seoul for almost my entire life, I have rarely done any touristy/cultural activities, and DESK will be a great excuse to experience things that I could never do with my Korean friends. I’m not sure if I could be a good guide, but I will try my best to expose my fellow DESKers to immersive experience of Korean culture and food. It’s already getting hot here in New York, and I’m a bit worried about the humidity that will harass me as soon as I step out of Incheon airport. So, here I am, writing this blog at JFK airport, and hopefully, the past two years of experience of flying back and forth between Korea and the US will help me get through this long 14hrs flight.