The challenging family situation I would like to share with you is our move fromKorea to the United States. In 1989, my life was changed when my familyimmigrated to a new country, hoping for a better future. My life in Korea washopeless, because I was a failing student with not much interest in school. I spent themajority of my time in Arcades, wasting my coins on video games. Rather thanstudying with my friends, as I had told my parents I would, I obsessed over thegames. The only positive aspect to my life was my private computer programminglessons.
Programming in Apple BASIC presented me with an opportunity to createmy own world. One day, my parents told me that we were going to move to theUnited States of America, and I developed a strong feeling that my life soon wouldchange forever. After spending eleven years in Korea, our family moved a totally differentenvironment. This I knew would be my toughest challenge to date. As a fifth graderattending a new elementary school in a new country, I felt left out because of myinability to communicate. Some kids assumed that I did not understand them at all, sothey made rude remarks about me.
I understood them, maybe not completely, but Iknew the intent of their messages. All that I had was my Apple II computer at which Ijust sat and programmed when I came home from school. At home, my parentspressured me to study all of the time, but I was frustrated and wanted to return toKorea. I wanted to go back and talk freely with my friends and play games withthem. My parents often told me that they decided to move here because of theeducational opportunities, yet I continued to rebel and refused to listen to what theysaid.
Over time, my English improved. I moved on to regular sixth grade classes;some of which were challenging, but tolerable because of my teachers whom werewilling to help. I always enjoyed class trips to the computer lab, where I would startprogramming on the computer. Other kids would start to gather around and treat melike a genius. Before long, I made more friends and found that I was enjoying school. Thoughts of going back to Korea faded, and my grades rose to a satisfactory level.
This pleased my parents who now encouraged me to invite friends to dinner. Whenmy friends came over, I became the translator between my parents and my friends. Since then, I often translate for my parents in any occasion where translation isneeded. Talking to some adults was intimidating and sometimes embarrassing, but Ifelt mature and responsible. The rest of my school year went by very smoothly, andmy self-confidence grew. Now I help other Korean people with language difficulties,helping them to understand English and American customs.
Prior to my arrival to the United States, I thought everything would be nice andeasy, but it did not turn out that way. Life was difficult, since I had to learn a newlanguage, culture, and customs. One of the best things I learned was that my parentswere right. This experience helped change me from a hopeless kid to a confident andresponsible young adult. From this experience, I have learned that if one sets goals,works hard towards those goals, dedicates oneself to those goals, and takesadvantage of opportunities presented, they can achieve anything.