By Nick Osoteo
Yejoo Yoon is a South Korean foreign exchange student at North Royalton High School. Yoon will be staying here at North Royalton for the remainder of her junior year. She is originally from Busan, South Korea’s southern port-city. She had recently moved to Seoul, South Korea’s capital.
Yoon originally decided to come and study in America because her sister lives here. She also wondered what American culture was like. After the school year ends, Yoon will go back to South Korea for three months. However, she said that she will probably return to America to go to college in 2016. (South Korea only has three grades in high school, unlike America’s four.) Yoon has noticed many differences between Korean and American schools. “Actually, they are really different. In Korea, we don’t move classes, and we have lunch in the classroom,” said Yoon. She also said that they were required to wear uniforms at her school in Korea.
Yoon has also noticed the differences between American and Korean culture. “I think that people say, ‘Hi,’ a lot, even though they don’t know each other,” said Yoon. “We do not talk with people we don’t know in Korea.” Yoon also added that in Korea, you cannot call a person’s first name if that person is older than you.
Yoon added that a big difference between the two cultures is the food. She said that American food is nice. However, she thinks that some of the snacks here are either too sweet or too salty.
Yoon also explained the challenges of being a foreign exchange student. Firstly, she said, is that the language is totally different. She explained that it can be tiring when trying to communicate with others in English. However, she added that she felt good when she realized that her English is improving. No matter how challenging being a foreign exchange student is, Yoon says, “These experiences will make me stronger.”