Unification News for November 1996


Testimonies of Middle School Students in Korea

Misako Sato shares about her experiences while she was in Korea.

Now that I'm getting ready to leave, the first thing that comes to my mind is the time when I first came to Korea. That was four years ago, as a GOP [participant in the General Orientation Program] who didn't know what was going on. I remember how strange and weird everything was to me. But now Korea is like home to me. I feel that the four years I've spent in Korea was a very important turning point in my life. Here I not only learned the basics of the Korean language, but was also given the opportunity to live in a dormitory with Blessed Children from all over the world. Even though there are cultural differences, I was able to learn from the misunderstandings which occurred once in a while. And I could also learn different things from each person here.

Before I came from America, I never thought twice of Divine Principle really, but I think that being here totally changed my thinking about Divine Principle, and how important spiritual life and a life of prayer is.

Going to middle school in Korea was also a pretty neat experience I will never forget. In the beginning I felt sort of out-of-place, but the Korean students were all so open-hearted.

During the years here, I was able to experience being a junior, a peer and an elder. And I thank Heavenly Father, True Parents and my own parents for letting me come to Korea and stay here as long as I did. It would be great if every blessed child could come here, but since that's not possible, I hope those who do come can learn all there is to learn and experience all there is to experience, because it's something which will remain forever in our minds and hearts.

Queefe's Reflection on Middle School in Korea

Going to middle school here in Korea was like nothing I ever experienced before. All the stories I heard about middle school gave me false impressions which were shattered when I finally tasted the phenomenon called Korean middle school.

My first reactions to middle school were confusion and annoyance. When I arrived I had no idea where to go or what to do. These grew as I finally found my classroom and was assaulted by a horde of Koreans asking me who I was, my name, where I came from, and a whole bunch of other questions spoken too fast to understand.

Class time was a lot better. I wouldn't have Koreans crawling all over me, but instead the teachers' words would roll over me like a flood. I'd struggle to understand, but inevitably in the end my attention would wander and I would just sit there.

During those bleak days of my life I owe my sanity to my homeroom teacher and a certain Korean student.

My homeroom teacher taught us math, the one subject I could completely understand. He spoke in a clear slower version of Korean, carefully explaining everything. It was such a relief just to listen and be able to understand what he was saying that for a time I could forget my troubles.

Unfortunately, math wasn't my only subject, and our teacher couldn't be around every break time. That was when Song Uk Hong, the aforementioned Korean student, kept me alive. He was and still is the most serious student in our class. Whenever he saw me he would acknowledge my existence with a firm nod of his head as if to say, "Good! Keep on trying, you can do it!" He didn't treat me like a zoo exhibit, there to be gawked at, but treated me as an equal.

As time has worn on, I have become more and more used to life in middle school. The people have stopped gawking, and have gone on to other things. Unfortunately, sometimes someone will come up to me and ask a question and I, not catching it all because it was slightly too fast, will respond "Huh?" and then the Korean will rephrase his question in broken English rather than just repeating himself slightly more slowly. This makes me feel as if they think I'm a moron. So I'm doing my best to remedy the situation. Despite all this, I'm glad I'm not going to Sun Hwa, because I think public school is much harder; but the rewards of being pushed to learn Korean faster are much greater.

The river of middle school life has given up a lot of its jagged rocks, crags, rapids and other dangers, but it's still far from being a smooth ride. When it's over, at least I'll be alive and sane and all the better for it!

Reprinted from the "International Blessed Children's News from Korea."


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