The non-profit organization Teach North Korean Refugees held its 74th Language Matching session yesterday. We had 11 North Korean refugees and 18 tutors participate (1 tutor canceled and another was a no-show). The session started at 2 pm–the first refugee to register for the session arrived at our office at 9:50 a.m. That’s right, slightly more than 4 hours in advance!

Why was she so early? Simple! First-come, first-choose! The refugees get to choose their tutors based on when they arrive to the session. So the refugee who arrived first was able to choose first. She is a returning student with us who first joined us in 2015 at the ABC level.

The others were so disappointed, especially the ones arriving three hours early who found out they were already sixth and seventh in line.

Support TNKR

 

The tutors who joined accepted 2 students each, giving the 11 students a range of choices. The tutors hail from:

7, USA

3 South Korea, England

2 Canada

1 New Zealand, Ireland, Netherlands

Join us! Our next orientation is May 13, the Matching session will be the 20th. In particular, we are seeking volunteers who can be available near the following subway stations: Sinchon exit 3 (near Yeonsei University), Gangnam exit 3, Chong-ro/Jonggak exit 3.

She arrived at 9:50 am, more than 4 hours before the Matching session was scheduled to start!

***

REFUGEE FEEDBACK

We asked the refugees questions during their initial interviews, the orientation, and Matching session. Here are some of the questions randomly placed under photos of refugees and the tutors they selected.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST ESCAPE TO SOUTH KOREA?
2006 (1)
2009 (1)
2010 (2)
2011 (2)
2012 (2)
2015 (1)
2017 (2)

HOW MANY TUTORS DID REFUGEES CHOOSE?
2 refugees chose 2 tutors each
4 refugees chose 3 tutors each
5 refugees chose 4 tutors each

DO YOU WANT HOMEWORK?
Yes. Not too much.
Yes
Yes
Not too much.
Yes.
Yes, but not too much.
Yes.
Yes.

DO YOU WANT IMMEDIATE CORRECTION OR LATER ON?
Immediately.
Immediately.
Immediately.
Immediately.
Immediately.
Immediately.
Immediately.
Immediately.

WHAT IF THE TEACHERS USE KOREAN?

* At first, I struggled with the teachers using English. I was lucky because the teachers would go at my pace, they recognized my low ability.
* Even if I can’t understand, it would be better if the teachers used English.
* It is good for the teachers to only use English. I didn’t know that was possible, so many teachers in Korea add Korean to their teaching so I only hear a little English from them.
* If they use Korean then I might understand better, but I hope they will speak as much English as possible.
* I don’t mind if they mix in some Korean, maybe for a quick translation when there is something they can’t explain to me in English. But based on my previous experience, it would be better if they teach me in English only. I studied in TNKR before, the teachers avoided using Korean. The first two classes were really difficult, but I was able to understand more bit by bit.
* I hope not. Maybe in some extreme situations. But if the teacher is strict and only uses English, then I think I can learn faster.
* I hope they don’t use Korean. TNKR gives refugees opportunities to study in English.
* Too hate. I really hope the teachers will only use English. I don’t care about gender or nationality, just speak English. If you want to use Korean while studying English, then go to a hakwon!

 

DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR TNKR AND THE TUTORS?
* I really appreciate TNKR’s efforts in helping NK refugees overcome our fear of English and to gain confidence speaking. I appreciate all of the volunteers.
* Thank for giving me the opportunity to study English. TNKR popped up on the Internet and I later saw some videos on YouTube. I already knew about TNKR, then after I saw a TV special about TNKR on TVN, I looked it up, found the Website. To the teachers, thank you for giving your valuable time to help us.
* Thank you for giving me the opportunity to study English with people who are fluent in English. To the teachers, thank you for volunteering despite your busy schedules. I first learned about TNKR through another student.

DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR TNKR AND THE TUTORS?

* Thank you for providing student-focused and self-learning English program. To the tutors, thank you for your valuable time; I will do my very best. Learned about TNKR through a friend (a TNKR student).
* Really glad that I got to know about TNKR when I needed it the most. To The tutors, thank you for sharing your valuable time. I will study hard. Learned about TNKR through a friend (a TNKR student).
* I am just incredibly grateful for this opportunity. Really enjoyed studying with her TNKR tutors thus far. (They are very passionate, which motivates me to study hard as well.) To the tutors, also really appreciate your efforts and time. Learned about TNKR through a fellow NK refugee.

DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR TNKR AND THE TUTORS?

* I cannot imagine traveling all the way from places like Jeonju, Inje, etc. Really appreciates your commitment.
* Learned about TNKR through TNKR co-director.
* Thank you for helping me gain confidence in using English, and for the opportunity to meet 1-on-1 with fluent English speakers. To the tutors, who are doubtlessly busy, thank you for volunteering your times. In my previous TNKR experience, was impressed by the tutors’ commitment, and hope she can study with her tutors in a continuous manner. Feel inspired to volunteer. Learned about TNKR through a South Korean acquaintance.
* Learned about TNKR through TNKR co-director. Chose TNKR because she can join without conditions. To the tutors, Thank you for coming despite your busy schedules. I will work hard, so I hope you will also teach me to the best of your abilities.

DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR TNKR AND THE TUTORS?
* The most important contribution of TNKR is helping NK refugees to speak up about the human rights violations on the world stage. To the tutors, I understand there are those interested in human rights, and for those, please also expand your awareness of those issues. I met Casey several years ago. I knew he was doing something to help North Korean refugees, but I didn’t know what it was exactly. When I realized what TNKR was doing, I applied.
* I was recommended by another refugee studying in TNKR. I applied, but I didn’t apply aggressively at that time. I later Eunkoo at an event, that’s when I decided to apply.
* Appreciates TNKR’s role in providing opportunities to learn English with volunteers. To the tutors, was really moved by your willingness to help out despite your busy schedules. Learned about TNKR through Lee Sungju.

DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR TNKR AND THE TUTORS?

* Thank you for providing student-focused and self-learning English program. To the tutors, thank you for your valuable time; I will do my very best. Learned about TNKR through a friend (a TNKR student).
* Really glad that I got to know about TNKR when I needed it the most. To The tutors, thank you for sharing your valuable time. I will study hard. Learned about TNKR through a friend (a TNKR student).
* I am just incredibly grateful for this opportunity. Really enjoyed studying with her TNKR tutors thus far. (They are very passionate, which motivates me to study hard as well.) To the tutors, also really appreciate your efforts and time. Learned about TNKR through a fellow NK refugee.

***

SPECIAL TO TNKR

Yes, we need volunteers to keep TNKR alive! We also need volunteers who are willing to help us build our financial foundation. We have now had more than 100 fundraisers set up by volunteers and fans, but we should have more than 1,000.

Thanks to the following tutors for taking the time to raise money for TNKR in addition to volunteering.

Cy’s TNKR fundraiser

***

Help North Korean refugees learn English!

***

Lending Ears: Women Supporting TNKR

***

Donate to TNKR for K-Indie Songs

***

Help North Korean refugees succeed

***

This Too

***

Fundraising for TNKR

***

Lending Ears: Women Supporting TNKR

***

Help Teach North Korean Refugees

******************************************************************

These sessions could not be possible without TNKR’s team organizing and managing the sessions. We have a lot of people in a small space, and we are trying to match them as quickly as possible.

It was a full house!

Academic Coordinator Janice Kim led the session, Gee Young Moon was an assistant.

Youngmin Kwon, Project Manager of the Bring My Father Home campaign, volunteered as the Data Collection Specialist. 🙂

Gee Young handing out goodies during our break.

I was the first to arrive and last to leave! I also did an interview with a Canadian TV station as I was getting prepared for the session and handling several other tasks. Here’s my fundraiser to support the next couple of months that we will be managing this cohort of students and tutors.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *