Emilie started tutoring Soo Jin shortly after starting her internship at PSCORE. For 3 months, they met twice a week, every Tuesday and Wednesday. Soo Jin is a young student, one of the youngest of PSCORE at only eleven years old. Like every child her age, she is full of life, joy, and surprises.
At the start of their tutoring, Emilie felt it was difficult to work with her student, because Soo Jin was still shy and not yet open to her. When PSCORE changed its tutoring schedule, Emilie and Soo Jin were the only ones who pursued classes on Tuesday evenings, since Soo Jin needed more frequent tutoring. This was a pivotal moment in their relationship. Emilie explained, “Soo Jin felt more relieved and started joking around more once we were alone”. Since it was only the two of them at the office, Soo Jin came out of her shell and felt more comfortable with her teacher. Soon, the two were having fun playing English games together. Soo Jin was no longer shy, even on Wednesdays when other people were around.
Being Soo Jin’s teacher was very rewarding for Emilie. Not speaking Korean was her biggest fear and obstacle, as Soo Jin is still really young and had limited English. But, from what she learned at PSCORE, language is not a barrier. She realized that despite not speaking the same languages, they still found ways to understand each other through gestures and games. Emilie’s fears quickly dissipated as her student improved a lot over the course of 3 months. Her comprehension had increased vastly, so much so that, sometimes, Soo Jin was the one teaching Emilie some Korean words!
Tutoring her student was one of Emilie’s best memory at PSCORE. “I liked my student a lot. Despite the fact that she had moments where she wasn’t so focused, we still found ways to be entertained while studying. Thanks to jokes and motivation, Soo Jin was able to learn to have fun during our sessions, and that’s the most rewarding”. Emilie sincerely hopes that more English classes can take place to help defectors. Being able to meet them and learn about the hardships they went through yet see how they are still so happy and nice is what makes it so special. Through Soo Jin, she realized that North Korean defectors were like any other normal person, full of hope and aspirations. Every meeting was important, as Emilie said, “Soo Jin will be my best student and I hope she will have a nice teacher after me”.
PSCORE will help pair Soo Jin with a new, fun and lively teacher like Emilie!