2015-12-16 My latest Korea Times column is about Kim Ryen-hi, the North Korean refugee who escaped to Seoul but now says she wants to return to North Korea. My suggestion: Send her back.
Leeann Roybal-Shin stopped by the office. I was back at Freedom Factory office today.
Oh, LeeAnn had me laughing from start to finish! There are some times that I’m the most talkative person in the room…
Today was not one of those days.^^
Rachel Pearsall stopped by the office today. She’s another energetic lady! And it is really a special case.
She came to South Korea to volunteer for (TNKR) Teach North Korean Refugees. This is really a special thing. There are so many wonderful organizations out there, but she chose us.
She has many great ideas. She is the Party Planner for our Christmas party on December 18.
When I wonder how we can do something, she quickly has a suggestion, and springs into action. Of course, she usually has a lot to say as she is springing into action.^^
I joined the Harvard Club of Korea’s Year-End Dinner Party held at the Westin Chosun Hotel in Seoul.
The MC was Kim Byung-chan, guest speaker was Park Jin, US Ambassador to Korea Mark Lippert gave the congratulatory address.
I took so many photos, one lady at the dinner asked me if I was part of the organizing party.^^
After i got back to the office I had several students stop by as part of their project to help TNKR. Rorry Ambers Late is leading up this project.
We also have a South Korean student who was inspired by a presentation TNKR did at a university a few months ago. She is joining us as a translator. She emailed me on Wednesday or Thursday, her first assignment is due on Monday!
We had delightful orientation sessions getting ready for our 39th TNKR Matching session set for this Saturday. 16 tutors and 10 refugees joined us for separate sessions.
I was delighted to hear from the tutors that they feel the program is really organized, clear. So many of them kept saying it is “awesome” and “fantastic” and that they can’t wait to join.
And we got GREAT feedback from the refugees. We have been the in-house tutoring program for two months, it has been great in many ways.
Of the 10 refugees who attended the orientation, 2 are returnees, 6 have been through in-house tutoring, and 2 are brand new. So we have a very good idea about the 8 who have studied with us before. The in-house tutors are preparing reports about the refugees who have been in the program, meaning the Matching program tutors will have an idea about their levels and interests before they start. It also means the first session won’t be wasted.
I was thrilled that one of the refugees I was meeting for the first time wanted to take a photo with me, and praised me so much! The refugees usually ask about me, so I introduced myself. They applauded me!!!
Some feedback from refugees joining the matching session:
“I’m really happy when I speak in English.”
“After being in the in-house tutoring program, I have a better idea about how I should study.”
“I was in the program before. Now my English studying is stronger and sharper than before. I want a real teacher who has a curriculum or organized materials.”
“I am impressed TNKR is so learner-centered. I feel a duty to start hard.”
“I waited since August to join, I was ready to give up. I couldn’t join in-house tutoring because of work. Now, I have my chance, I am not going to waste it.”
“I was in TNKR last year. Now, it is so much more organized, professional. I hope to improve my interview skills.”
“Joining in-house tutoring, I could quickly see that I needed to improve my pronunciation. In-house tutoring was fun, I’m sorry because I am sure my teacher had a lot of trouble because of my low English level. I will study harder, I’m so happy to have learned something new. I also have learned that I must do more self-studying.”
“My in-house tutor prepared me really well. She corrected my grammar, brought practice sheets, focused on my pronunciation. I hope to join the English speech contest next year..
- What an honor! My delightful former co-host and colleague Yeonmi Park stopped by the TNKR office to say hello! For a while, I was seeing her almost every day when we worked together in 2014, but I guess I have only seen her three or four times this entire year. She is now an international speaker and human rights advocate, but before that, she was my TV podcast co-host, ambassador to TNKR, and colleague at Freedom Factory. Thankfully, she is still a great friend.^^
- After spending the early afternoon at the office, I met with international students to prepare for upcoming TNKR events. We had the meeting at the law firm that will be hosting our Christmas party on December 18.
- 6 hours of in-house tutoring plus planning to add additional features to the program.