Unification News For February 1996


Middle School in Korea

by Michael Stewart-Seoul, Korea

I came to Korea in 1994. During my time here I've learned a lot of Korean, but more importantly I've grown up a lot. Before I came to Korea, I didn't have much of a spiritual life. I also knew nearly no Korean. Well, now at least I hear morning services every morning and read DP pretty frequently. I can have a fairly decent conversation in Korean, too (I'm not by any means fluent).

Anyway, when I first came here I thought it was because my parents wanted me to learn Korean. Now I don't really think that's all they had in mind. I think I was sent here to grow up. I don't really think I was such a wonderful person when I first came. I think that my image of myself was pretty bloated up. I needed something like Korea to teach me things like "Think of others" or "Don't be a loser." I think I've learned things like this and much more. It's taught me to be a friend. Now when I think of coming to Korea, I view learning Korean as a secondary part of being here. The most important part of being here is discovering yourself as well as the person you want to become.

In the time that you are away from America, you can see the luxuries that you normally overlook while you're there. While I've been here I've come to appreciate my parents more than I ever would have in America. I've come to know people from all over the world. And I've made friends who will last a lifetime. I'm really going to miss some people here, but at the same time I look forward to my friends in America.

This last couple of days I've been relatively alone because all the other people are at home now. I pretty much spent the last couple of days buying gifts, eating junk food, watching movies and packing. I think I'm ready to go now.

Right about now, Korea doesn't look as bad as it did while I was here. I always thought that I would love to go home, but now it doesn't seem like the big, wonderful thing that it used to be. But I'm also ready to get on the plane.

In closing, I'd like to thank the teacher of this year and last, and those who made it possible for me to be here. I'd also like to say good-bye to all my friends here. As Malcolm Allen said last year, "If you come to Korea and don't learn a word of Korean all year, but become a better person, then your year wasn't a waste."


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