Grant #469

Schooling in Korea

October 4, 2021

You Look Like All The Other Students, But You Feel Like A Martian

Some countries offer help so newcomers can learn the language. Korea doesn’t. 

So when Debbie Jung and her brother Joshua moved from the USA to Korea, they looked like their Korean classmates, but they were thinking in English. Suddenly they were expected to know how to behave as Korean students, not Americans. “I didn’t have a support system of those with similar experiences, and struggled with confidence in academics as well as in expressing my opinions or feelings in Korean. I founded Schooling In Korea to help students going through similar struggles,” says Debbie.

Schooling in Korea (, co-led by Debbie and Joshua, addresses the most urgent need: bilingual tutoring so students whose first language isn’t Korean can understand what’s being taught in Korean at school. SiK offers tutoring in English and Korean, hoping to add other languages in the future.

SiK helps newcomers navigate academic and social life, hosting hangout groups for students so they can meet others in similar situations. This creates a sense of community instead of leaving individuals feeling so isolated. And when it’s needed, SiK also provides one-on-one mentoring support to help students experience a smooth transition to the unfamiliar cultural and educational environment.

From a modest beginning in 2018, over the course of four semesters, the 17 tutors of this student-run organization have now taught over 100 students.

This Awesome Without Borders grant will pay for the Zoom accounts that keep everyone connected, along with materials like textbooks and workbooks to help with tutoring.

Debbie and Joshua are fostering the community they wished they had when they were students in Korea. Maybe they’d have asked, how do you say “That’s AWESOME!” in Korean?

Category: Education, Immigration



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