The First Foreign Language And South Korea Essay

1065 Words Oct 17th, 2016 5 Pages
John Kim was sitting in a booth at Brann’s, holding his hands and looking down at the table. He wore a navy ball cap and square glasses. Beyond the wrinkles on his face there was a genuine smile and he had a very humble handshake. Kim started the conversation discussing about his first step, learning English.
English was the first foreign language and a requirement in South Korea. Korean students would begin learning English in junior high, through high school, and four years of college. Surprisingly, Korean students were not as worried about learning the letters and writing, but focused more on the pronunciation and meaning. As Kim emphasized, “[We] have to learn sound, sound has meaning. Over there they learn meaning first” (Kim). In Korea, he enjoyed watching some of the English speaking television shows that would help him learn.
Over in Korea, boys were forced to join the military and were given two choices: to join the military after high school or after college. Kim came to a decision to join after college. He spent three years of service: precisely thirty-five months and nine days. Koreans could leave the country after service, and that’s exactly what he wanted to do. For Kim, he failed to finish college and believes he lost a chance. He suddenly had a disappointing look and covered his face with his hand, “it’s because of failure over my life there in Korea.” He was then motivated and knew he wanted a better opportunity in America. After the service, Kim had odd…

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