JD tours Boston and more

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Jul 282015

Fun in BostonJD is now about 4 weeks into his program at Boston University, and things still seem to be going pretty well in the classroom. This past Saturday, JD had the opportunity to meet up with KKOOM supporters, Tina and Mike Mohr from Hampton, Connecticut, who drove in to Boston for the day. Here’s a narrative from Tina:

We really enjoyed meeting JD this weekend. We met at the Barnes and Noble near BU and then walked up the commonwealth avenue mall, through the Boston Public Garden to Faneuil Hall for lunch. JD remarked that it was extremely crowded and busy, which it was! We talked about how there are similar markets in every city in South Korea but how enormous they are. He was happy to find some Udon noodle soup which was more familiar to him than some of the other foods available. I got Greek food and that was the first time he had heard of a Gyro and some of the other types of Greek food on display. I also tried to explain what “Chowda” was and why it spelled differently than it is actually spelt. We talked about a lot of things including our careers as well as JD’s career aspirations; safe places to walk around the city and many of the differences between Boston and South Korea.  After lunch we walked back on Boylston street and took a Duck Tour through the city. The tour was a lot of fun and were very surprised to sit next to another student from South Korea! The tour was fun and we didn’t get wet. After that we had dinner at a traditional Boston pub and watched the end of the Red Sox game. My husband Mike and I had a wonderful time. JD is a very responsible, polite, hardworking young man. He had very practical and realistic goals for the future and I was extremely impressed with his fluency in English. I am glad that we were able to meet with him and spend the day showing him around the city.  We actually had tickets to a Red Sox game for the next day that we were unable to use, so we gave them to JD. He did go with a few friends and had a nice night to see the game. Thank you for the opportunity to meet JD !

This week, we also caught up with JD for a couple more questions and answers.

Q:  Do you miss anything from home? 

A: I often miss Korean food such as 부대찌개, 된장찌개, 짬뽕 and others. So I sometimes go to Korean restaurant, but not often. Unfortunately, the foods in Korean restaurants are too expensive to me. But I go there when I can’t bear my appetite for Korean food anymore.

Q: What surprises you most about American culture or American people?

One of what I was surprised is, many people run without wearing any top. And there are many beggars than Korea. I can see them everyday. In Korea, I can’t see those kinds of scene.

 Posted by at 9:52 pm

KKOOM Board Retreat In Chicago and Update on JD’s U.S. Visit

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Jul 222015

By William Downey – KKOOM Board Member

The KKOOM Board of Directors convened July 17-19 for its annual retreat in Chicago, and it was the first opportunity for some of us to meet in person.  It was nice to meet the folks I have been meeting with virtually, and it was great to be back in Chicago for the first time since 2007! IMG_3080

I grew up in Michigan so the hot, humid summer days accompanied by the obligatory afternoon thunderstorm is a familiar weather pattern.  Chicago did not disappoint as the temperatures Friday went into the 90s and a dramatic thunderstorm Saturday afternoon more than fulfilled my need to walk down memory lane! KKOOM Chicago 2015 kicked-off on Saturday with a full day of topics to cover.  Emphasis was placed on a thorough review of our past projects and where our focus should be placed going forward.

A major highlight of the weekend was a Skype session with JD, a student studying at Boston University this summer, Ms. Soonok Park, house mother/social welfare worker and Jaeho Lee, formerly a resident of the Samsungwon orphanage who recently completed his Master’s of Divinity.  It was great to get their input on KKOOM programs and insightful suggestions as to what things they think KKOOM can do to help. Their feedback on KKOOM was encouraging and a validation that our projects and the organization is an important part of the lives of the children and young adults we seek to serve.

JD’s U.S. visit is nearing its midpoint with the Boston University program as he enters his third week of the six-week English program.  Jindong did well on his placement test when he arrived and is finding the class level he has been assigned to in the program a challenge and very helpful in building his listening and speaking skills.  As a business major, good language skills will give him the confidence he needs to succeed in a very competitive, international business environment.  My impression has been he is studying hard and getting the most out of his time in the United States.

I had a chance this past weekend to get directly involved in supporting him in one of those activities.   As with any academic program, there is always work to be done outside of the classroom and JD’s program is no exception.  He had to prepare a meal with a focus on using relevant vocabulary and had to capture his instructions for preparing the meal to video.  Of course, he has to speak in English!  I would say that the video was a success but as for the meal…well, it is good he is a business major!IMG_3081

I have noticed a dramatic improvement in his ability to speak and listen to English and know it will continue to improve as his visit in the United States continues.  The ability to improve language skills requires this type of immersion in a culture of the target language.  You really need this kind of exposure to master not only the practical aspects of daily language usage but also the nuance of vocabulary and regional differences.

This is the first time KKOOM has sponsored a study abroad program and Jindong has proved to be a good choice for our first candidate!

Stay tuned for more reports!

 Posted by at 5:54 pm

JD’s Summer in Boston: Week 2

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Jul 132015

JD at the statute of John Harvard.

JD’s first week of classes at Boston University got off to a good start last Monday, and later in the week, he caught up with some KKOOM friends. On Thursday, he toured Harvard’s campus with KKOOM Board Member, Bill Downey, and former KKOOM volunteer, Ashlee Anton, and on Friday, JD met up with another past KKOOM, Tami Bolk, for Thai food.

We asked JD a few more questions about his experience so far, and here’s what he said.

1. Describe your typical day.

I usually wake up at 6:30 am. And I take a shower, have breakfast. After that, I have a class at 9 am. my class consists of speaking, writing, reading and listening (teacher’s speaking). the class ends at 12:50 pm. And I have lunch, take a break, and go to fitness center, (it’s very nice), and take a shower again, have dinner. in the evening, I always do my homework. (cause I get assignment everyday). I don’t go outside in the evening, cause I’ve heard that it’s more dangerous than Korea at night.

2. How does BU’s campus compare to your campus at home (Pusan National Univ.)?

It’s great. I can take subway in the campus. And I can use all facilities of the campus. and I’m also so happy that it is flatland. (the university where I study in Korea is very sloping) And I can see so many foreign students from all over the world. Also, there’s a great river named Charles River behind the campus (I always watch the river in my room, it’s very close)

3. What is one new thing you’ve learned in past week?

The one new thing I’ve learned is the attitude I should have in class. That is, when the teacher describe or tell something, other students usually cut in on what the teacher says. I was so suprised at it. In Korea, when a professor say something, students don’t speak anything. through that, I experienced cultural difference. and I thought that I should try to do it. But it’s still not easy.

Tami and JD enjoy Thai food.

Tami and JD enjoy Thai food.


Ashlee, JD and Bill check out Harvard’s campus

 Posted by at 8:00 am

JD in the USA

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Jul 062015

JD in SW Michigan at a raspberry farm

JinDong (“JD”) arrived in Chicago from Korea on Friday, June 29. (see previous post) He spent the weekend in SW Michigan hanging out with KKOOM President, Aimee Jachym, and flew to Boston the following Monday. KKOOM board member Bill Downey greeted JD at the airport in Boston and helped him get checked in to the dormitory at Boston University.

JD had an orientation session and English level test last week, and his intensive English classes at Boston University start today.

We had a short Q&A session with JD, and we hope you find his responses interesting.

Q) Besides improving your English, what are you hoping to learn or experience during your time in America?

A) I wanna meet lots of friends from around the world as well as studying English, there are many foreign students here in Boston. In [my English program], I think I can meet lots of people and know about many countries

JD and Bill on the Fourth of July

JD and Bill on the Fourth of July

Q) What was your first impression of America?

A) I felt American people have good manners and act kindly to other people. They always say ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘Excuse me’ even in very small situations. And whenever I ask someone about what I wanna know, They explain very kindly.

Q) When you were younger, did you ever dream about visiting America? Now that you are here, how does the reality compare to your dream?

A) When I was younger, I sometimes dreamed to visit America. It was one of my wishlist. And now It became reality. I have thought that America is amazing country and has lots of things to do. And I still have same thinking. America is beautiful and interesting. I always appreciate to KKOOM’s donors. Thank you.

We’ll continue to check in on JD throughout the summer, so we hope you’ll stay tuned.

 Posted by at 9:00 am

Summer in Boston!

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Jun 162015
Jindong "JD" Kim  will be in Boston this summer

Jindong “JD” Kim will be in Boston this summer

We’re excited to announce that JinDong (“JD”) will be coming to the US at the end of the month. JD has been a KKOOM scholarship recipient since he started college at Pusan National University in 2012. JD is now a junior majoring in business management, and thanks to your help, he will be coming to Boston to study intensive English at Boston University for six weeks.

Most Korean males have to serve in the military for two years, but JD, like others who grew up in orphanages, is exempt from this requirement. This has given JD some extra time for his studies in comparison to most of his male friends who are currently on university leave in order school to serve in the military.

Thanks to financial support from KKOOM, JD was able to use this extra time by taking a leave of absence from school this year (beginning in March) in order to focus on improving his English skills. The job market will be extremely competitive for JD when he graduates from college (expected Feb. 2017), so this year off will give him an opportunity to build his resume by acquiring skills and experiences that will set him apart from his peers.

Coming to America will give JD the chance to use and improve his English skils in an immersion setting, which he is both excited and nervous about. During his time here, he will also get to visit a few American companies and see what the business world is really like. We’re still lining up his schedule for mid-to-late August, but if you happen to be in the Boston area and would be interested in hosting JD at work for a day – or know someone who might – please send me an email.

When asked what he’s most looking forward to, JD said “getting to travel and going to New York!” We believe it will be an unforgettable summer for JD, and it wouldn’t have been possible without your support! We plan that our next update in a few months will be written by JD himself, so stay tuned!

 Posted by at 4:58 pm