I guess most of us here have our own dreams, right? A college degree? A stable and high-paying job? A house? A car? I have my own dreams too. Growing up in a single-parent home where my mother had to work very hard every day to make ends meet has made me dream big dreams for me and my mom. But due to financial problems, I had to quit school and take a permanent job in order to support our family financially. It was difficult for me. And at the age of 19, I stopped dreaming.
But during that difficult time, I accidentally came across My Name Is Kim Sam Soon. Yes, the famous Korean drama. More than Hyun Bin’s killer smile, it was the main character, Sam Soon, that strikes me the most. She is just an average woman – not pretty nor attractive, not earning much, unmarried, not even young… yet she did not let anything nor anyone get in the way of her dreams and goals. She made me realize that I can also keep on dreaming despite difficulties and hardships.
My fondness for Kim Sam Soon and the actress who played that character, Actress Kim Sun Ah, has sparked my interest in anything and everything Korean and I also started learning Korean language and culture. Somehow I also learned how Kim Sun Ah has worked her way through college by taking all sorts of part-time jobs; how she has to quit school to support her family; and how she, despite her age and busy work schedule, still managed to finally get her bachelor’s degree at the age of 34. With my rediscovered passion in learning and armed with newfound hope, courage and inspiration gained from actress Kim Sun Ah and her drama characters, I realized the value of education and I found my way back to school.
Going back to school has been both exciting and challenging. It is, and will always be, a constant struggle especially for a self-supporting student like me. But I am blessed to have met wonderful people in our university. Like my Korean language professor who has encouraged me and taught me that I should not limit myself from great opportunities.
For the past semesters, I have been doing well in my studies and I have managed to balance studying and working at the same time. But as I further my studies, academic demands are starting to get more and more difficult that I have to cut back on my working hours. Unfortunately prices of books, boarding and lodging, and other educational needs keep getting more and more expensive that I actually even thought of quitting schooling again, even for just a semester, so that I can make our finances stable first, before I continue with my studies again. It makes me sad that I have to resort to that decision, but this time I thought am no longer 19. And I have my dreams of become a Korean language educator and translator to hold on to and I am still determined to fulfil them, no matter how long it will take me to do so.
I was actually in the middle of contemplating whether my decision to stop schooling temporarily is the right way to go, when I received the news that I got accepted in the scholarship program of the Korean Exchange Bank Scholarship Foundation.
Words are not enough to express how glad and honoured I am to be a recipient of this scholarship. I saw it as a real miracle. The financial assistance that the Korea Exchange Bank Scholarship Foundation provided will be of great help to me in paying my educational expenses. I will no longer have to struggle with tuition or books this semester and it has lightened my financial burden which will allow me to concentrate more of my time for studying.
The Korea Exchange Bank Scholarship Foundation has not only allowed me to continue studying, but it made me realize that it is worth pursuing high goals and believing that you can achieve them.
From now on and moving forward, inspired by the “fighting” culture of Korea, I too, will continue “fighting” each day as I pursue my dreams. And I look forward to the day when I can “pay it forward” and be able to give encouragement, motivation and inspiration to future students like myself.
Once again, in behalf of all the recipients of the Korea Exchange Bank Scholarship, I would like to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Korea Exchange Bank Scholarship Foundation for giving us this great opportunity.