Why I came back to Korea
Several days ago, I invited Brazilian students in Korea and served them home cooking. They first came to Korea as exchange students two, three years ago through the Science Without Borders program. Upon studying in Korea, they returned to Brazil and then came back again. I had assisted them as an education program officer at the Embassy of Brazil in Korea at the time.
They chose to come to Korea for similar reasons. They were mostly attracted to Korean pop culture and the international prestige of Korean enterprises. Some had vague curiosity about this country on the other side of the globe, and the scholarship was also a motivation. The exchange students would return to Brazil with great knowledge and memories of Korea. But some miss Korea upon returning and dream of coming back. The students I had invited made that courageous choice.
Why did they come to Korea again? They had three major reasons.
The first is employment opportunities. As the Brazilian economy was in a slump, getting a job became increasingly hard, and as they sought opportunities abroad, Korea was an attractive destination. There are many Korean companies with branches in Brazil and Latin America, and they need local employees who understand the language and the culture.
Secondly, they were impressed by Korean sentiment, which has similarities to Brazilian sentiment. They find Koreans kind and charming. Some married Koreans, and another student came back to Korea to get back with her boyfriend in Korea.
Lastly, they highly rated Korea’s safety and convenience. Compared to some unsafe neighborhoods in Brazil, Korea provides a great living environment. They feel safe and free in Korea, and their parents are also reassured.
Of course, life in Korea is not full of happiness. But they have the Brazilians’ signature perseverance to overcome challenges. It is similar to Koreans’ unbending spirit. They flew all the way to the other side of the globe to live with the good people in this country.
They reminded me of my past. I studied on a scholarship in Korea, returned to Brazil and came back to Korea. The decision involved a great deal of courage and contemplation, but it is one of the best things I have ever done in my life. Hopefully, the Brazilian students who couldn’t forget the charm of Korea and came back again will make contributions to both countries.
The author is a TV personality from Brazil who appears on the JTBC talk show “Non-Summit.”
JoongAng Ilbo, March 10, Page 28
by CARLOS GORITO