Fresno Christian High School
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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Koreans live out cross cultural experience on campus

Respect and education in Korea are the number one priority. Staying on task and becoming a high-class business entrepreneur are what most Korean parents desires for their child. Standards for success in Korea come as a result of hard work and diligence, standards that many Americans also follow.

Seung Hyun Baek, ’02, who has adopted the name Danny, came to California two years ago. He was sent here with his two sisters, Christine, ’02, and Rebecca (eighth grade) to study. He was at Montclair in Los Angeles for one semester, but found it not challenging enough.

Baek is now in Fresno with another Korean family. His sisters have been very supportive; they helped him from becoming homesick. He keeps in touch with his parents over the phone and plans on visiting his family in Korea during Christmas vacation.

Baek finds Fresno a lot like a small Korean city. He has found Korean areas of the city including food and culture. However, he does not like the transportation system in Fresno.

“Everyone walks over there (Korea), just masses of people,” Baek said. “You can’t drive over there until you’re 18 and still it’s not that common.”

Baek found it very hard to adjust to a new country mainly because of the different language. He took English at Fresno State, which he found helpful but language is still difficult for him, especially writing. He finds it harder to keep up in class because of this disadvantage.

After high school he aspires to attend University of Pennsylvania because his father, Byong R Baek, has high standards for this school. He hopes to study Bible and become a pastor. He desires to then go back to Korea and use his skill and talent to preach, bringing others to the Lord.

Se Na Lee, ’05, arrived on campus after trying private schools in Korea and England.

Lee has attended many schools such as Sang Mung School in Korea, which is an all-girls school. She left Korea at age 15 to attend a school in Europe. Ruthin School, a boarding school in England, was her first school out of her home country.

While attending the boarding school it was still extremely difficult for her to keep up because her English was weak. She could not understand so she felt no reason to try. She became extremely homesick and felt she was a ?bad girl’ for being sent away from home, even though she knew her parents just want her to receive a better education.

Lee stayed at Ruthin for eight months, visiting her parents during Christmas only. Lee then headed for Kansas to attend Mt. Saint Scholastic Academy for five months. She came to Fresno because her parents thought this would be a better school.

She had visited Fresno once before because her mother’s sister lives here. Now, as a resident of Fresno, she stays with her aunt.

She feels reassured by her parent’s confidence for being sent to a private Christian school. She came here because her mother, Jung Ja Kim, wants her to have a biblical knowledge and love for the Lord.

Campus academic requirements and regulations are not as strict as they are in Korea.

“When I was twelve years old we were required to cut our hair in Korea,” Lee, said. “It wasn’t a law but it was a known thing to do. They said we had to do it to keep our focus on our academics and not our appearance.”

Hair must not be longer than 2 cm below a student’s ear. If one was caught with longer hair, the teacher would have to come by and chop it off or one would take the sissors to your own hair.

“Since I was in an all girls’ school it wasn’t embarrassing,” Lee said, referring to when her hair was cut. “Every student knew the rules and were required to follow them.”

Lee has one older sister, Semi Lee, 18, who is still in high school but was not admitted into the U.S. because she is too old. She plans on coming to the United States for college.

Lee wanted to become a professional singer in Korea, but her parents were confused why she wanted to take such an unstable job. In Korea singers do not get rich, but are popular because most are deemed pretty. After coming to the United States she aspires to become a professional vocalist.

While in Korea, Lee took lessons in voice but now she is just a part of the campus choir. It was only after repeatedly explaining to her father and mother that they began to understand her love for singing.

Through all the struggles they have dealt with coming to another country, Baek and Lee know that it will be for their benefit. They are thankful for the opportunity they have received from their parents.

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