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Oral History - Research Paper Example

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The subject of my oral history report is Soo Park. She is a 65 year-old immigrant to the United States from Korea. Her history is one full of surprises and shocking turns.
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Oral History
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Download file to see previous pages I thought that the best way to explore this would be through learning about her experiences with culture shock when coming to the United States. To do this, I knew that I needed to get to know Soo Park’s reasons for coming to the United States. This would have an impact on the level of culture shock she experienced and how she dealt with it.
Soo Park was born in a rural area of Korea. Today, we would call it South Korea, but Soo Park never used this term. She insisted that there is only one Korea and that soon there would be no rebel government in the North of the country anymore. Her family was well off. Her father had a shop that supplied everything from fertilizer to small tractors for local farmers. Soo Park recalls that she was luck to have such a good man for a father. He loved her and never made her feel unimportant. In those days, she explained, the rural Koreans placed all privileges upon their sons. Soo Park’s younger brother was chosen to take over the family business at a young age. She said that it was typical for girls to simply prepare for marriage. But she loved school and was a good scholar. Her father saw this and arranged for her to go live in Seoul at a private school that taught in English as well as Korean. There were American students that attended the school along with Korean students. The only problem with this plan was that problems were starting in Korea. Soo Park was twelve when she was to enroll in the school. This was 1958 and Korea was still an uncertain place as a result of the recent war. There were any American soldiers in and around Seoul and many of the rural Koreans did not trust the Americans. Soo Park remembers her father speaking favorably of the American soldiers he had met, but still expressed concerns about them being in Korea. She remembers him telling her that the Americans would be here in Korea for 100 years. Soo Park knew that her father was a wise man, but she had no idea that his words would be so true. In 1964, Soo Park finally could go to Seoul to finish her schooling. Her father had kept his word and felt confident that his daughter would be safe for one year in Seoul. She earned the equivalent of her High School diploma and tried to learn some English, but found it very difficult. Soo Park recalls being so good at everything in school except English. She was actually a better math student than most of the boys, which made some of them furious. There was one male student, Henry Lee, which was even better than she at math. They became friends and fell in love. She knew that Henry was going to spend the next four years in the United State attending college on a scholarship. She wante3d to go with him badly, but knew she could not. The next four years of her life were difficult. She lived for letters from Henry. He studied in California, but she was not able to attend college. Her mother pressed her to find another boy to marry, but she refused. Her father was sad because she was sad. She spent her time helping in the family business and writing to Henry. Finally he graduated and sent a letter that informed her he was graduating, had become a United States citizen and was going to work for a statistics firm in northern Virginia. He invited her to come to live with him in America as his wife. Soo Park arrived in Washington D.C. in 1970. Her father and mother accompanied her. She spoke little English and was completely unfamiliar with American culture, save the bit she picked-up from her classmates during her last year at school. Soo Park’s mother was glad she was marrying a Korean boy, but was disappointed there would be no traditional wedding. Henry, who spoke perfect English now, said that a traditional weddin ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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