By Daniel Bol
In my life I like having interaction with a lot of people – friends, family members, fellow students and anyone who I met. Sharing social activities with people from different parts of the world is a tremendous benefit to our education. I was grouped with my fellow student whom the lecture had identified. I eventually asked my friend her name and what she is doing and where she comes from. She said, her name is Kim Miyong, from South Korea.
Kim Miyong is a student doing nursing at ACU University. She came to Australia two years ago with the intention to study English in Australia. Not many nations around the world base their systems of learning in English – many of the nations in Asia have languages based on characters other than the English alphabet. For example,South Korea is one of those nations that uses symbols.
So Kim decided to come to Australia mainly for improvement in the English language. Even though Kim finished her Masters in Nursing, and obtained her license with South Korean qualifications, she still believes “understanding English is a big problem”. The events which led to Kim’s decision to come to Australia were her search for qualifications in English language studies, which she might have missed in her life. She believes studying in the English-speaking world will properly upgrade her profession to an international nursing career.
Kim came to Australia on a student visa. She told me: “My visa was supported by the congregation and South Korean students and people who are working here in Australia”. Kim applied for a student visa so she can continue with her master’s degree in nursing at the research level in Australia. Kim has now enrolled in the Diploma of Liberal arts in the Australian Catholic University so she might gain knowledge through studying hard.
During my interview with Kim, she mentioned that, “one of the big problems in my learning is that, I write well, but I do not speak well”. In this case though, I do not think Kim is the only student who is struggling with her learning. There are many friends from non-English speaking nations in the School, so Kim would get courage and knowledge as we
It was really good for me to learn more from Kim since she comes from a different country, especially in terms of things that are not comparable to Australia life and culture.
I started looking at how Kim dresses every day, when she comes to class and around the campus. She always dressed in a full dark silver dress, and pearl white headscarf sheet tied on her head, which indicated to me, this might be either traditional or religious. She told me “I am Benedictine sister in the Catholic church”. That is a worthy life, I said; she continued that she lived with sisters of the Catholic Church. “They are supporting my life and my studies,’’ she said. “I believe in God who has unlimited life, that is why I have this scarf on my head”. Perhaps it was not a surprise for me to hear, but is prompted me to at least query on how Kim become Christian. She said it was through my parents: “they all were Christian, they made me be baptized while I was a child, and therefore, I become automatically Christian”. I nod my head knowing that many people even here in the school are Christian, Buddhist, Hindus as well as Muslim or Atheist, and each person has a special way of obeying their religion.
Nonetheless, Australia is a multicultural country where workers, tourists and students do come to work and learn, based on the nature of their various visas. I did not hesitate to learn more from her on what will happen after she finishes her course. Kim will go back to South Korea, to work in her previous job in the hospital, which she said was a convincing job compare to when she may be looking for a job in Australia. She mentioned that “nursing is a good profession to help others so I have to go and help my people”.
It is not sometimes possible to get what might have been an expectation from one’s heart in Australia. In this country learning and accommodation are very challenging, especially when one comes from overseas. So Kim is really genuine to opt to go back home, rather than to stay here in a supported accommodation.
To work in an industry, there are usually challenges and benefits that one can experience. Kim was very keen to tell me one significant component of her career: “To be a nurse is really challenging, and one has to be a committed person who can take care of others. I like this course as it really not only to provide necessary needs of other, but also for your own good”
It was a privilege for me to meet Kim and talk to her about her country – a little bit of history, political, social life, medication, and employment. Perhaps the history of the nations remains the same around the world, based on the nation’s early policies and history. As Kim said, Korea was colonized by Japan until when it gained independence in 1940, before it was later divided it into south and north. The main economic sources are “industry and IT” – since the country does not have natural resources, it has invested on technological inventions, and car manufacturing. According to Kim, there are a lot of jobs around, but many young people do not like to work in the heavy jobs, they like light professional jobs. So South Korea has to import workers from neighboring countries like Japan and China to work in their big industries, whereas in Australia people have to toil to their sweat
Kim has her family back in South Korea – her mum and two older sisters, one younger brother. Both her sisters have married and now live with their families, but her father passed away many years ago.
I said to Kim on the issue of maternity rate in her country. In Australia, for example, it is a choice, whereas in China, the policy of only one child or none is impacting. “There is no limit,’’ Kim said of Korea. “It depends on the parent whether they like ten or more, the reason is that the medication is good”. The Government provides 70% of hospital costs, making it easy for anyone to meet the medication cost on their own to stay healthy.
Kim is a good friend. We are enjoying the communication class together and I wish her well in the studies.