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Writing classes have finally begun organized by NKSC!

The first three classes were taught by Researcher Kang on how to write logically and successfully.

Writing classes with Mr. Kang were held from July 6th to July 8th.

Our first day with Mr. Kang, we learned about thoughtful reading and how we can successfully choose an interestic topic and thesis for an essay or a college class report.

Moreover, Mr. Kang taught the students on how our expression and the use of words change according to different readers. For example, we use different expressions and words when we talk to a close friend and a stranger.

To practice the difference, the students each wrote a diary thinking of different readers, and realized how much their expressions changed accordingly.

Our second day with Mr. Kang, the students dove more into the topic of logical writing as they began to analyze an article about the spread of international labor. As most students had a hard time understanding the readings, Mr. Kang went over the reading together with the class and did an activity to summarize each paragraphs by finding the topic of each paragraph and analyze them.

Mr. Kang’s last writing class with the students.

The topic for the third day was how to organize an essay in respect to the order of introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. It is important to choose an interesting topic, but Mr. Kang taught the students how to logically write about the topic. Also, he provided numerous tips students can consider when choosing different resources.

Although it is a familiar topic to anyone who has experience in writing, through Mr. Kang’s classes the students were able to learn how to efficiently write a well-organized essay. Logically writing was not an easy topic to learn; however, thanks to Mr. Kang all the students feel more comfortable writing! 

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Hyeon-woo was a huge help for NKSC by facilitating the Writing Classes. This is what he said about his work:

Writing classes consisted of…
Writing classes were mainly focused on helping the North Korean defectors to learn basic skills to write and organize essays and reports for college classes. They also got the opportunity to learn how to successfully write their resume.

My role in the Writing classes…
I was in charge of a lot. First, I had to make sure all of the students are coming to each class on time, and before the classes began, I had to read over their homeworks and send it to the professor. Moreover, I had to take pictures during class and upload them to the website. I also had to do some small things for the classes.

Feedback
All the students told me that all the classes and the different topics we’ve covered taught them a lot, and that they will definitely benefit them later during college courses they’ll take. They also told me that they sensed how much the professors were sincere and cared for the students. All the professors really wanted to help the students during the short period of time given to them. They tried to give the most amount of advices to the students. Some students also said that the things they’ve learned will help them later when they apply for jobs.

What I personally learned…
I learned that writing essays and reports for North Korean defectors aren’t as easy as I thought they would be for the students. The difficulties the defectors had weren’t simply the level of skills they lacked, but were the difference in background knowledge and the words they’ve used in the North. They said that they had a hard time reading articles and understanding what they were talking about.

Our interns for the summer, Hyeon-woo and David, taught English to North Korean defectors. They replied to some questions about their experience:

What did you expect from the English lessons?

David:  The focus of the classes was to increase the confidence of North Korean defectors in English conversation. I expected that by the end of the ten day session, the defectors would be more comfortable approaching foreigners and engaging them in English. The goal was to enable these students to express themselves in different situations, including travel, meeting people, talking about what they enjoy doing and in regards to the future.

Have you ever met someone from North Korean before?

Hyeon-woo: No, I haven’t. It was actually my first time meeting a North Korean defector.

Now that the English classes are over, what are your thoughts?

Hyeon-woo: It was really interesting and fun. I learned a lot from the students. They told me a lot of things they found interesting in Korea and things they were curious about the US. Also, they shared thoughts and feelings they had towards other countries, especially the US.

David: I felt that the students did not learn too much due to the time constraints, but they were definitely more comfortable about English. It was good to be able to interact with students my age and hear their story. I enjoyed teaching this class.

What are your opinions about teaching English to North Korean defectors?

Hyeon-woo: After teaching English to North Korean defectors for two weeks, I learned that North Korean defectors are not much different from South Koreans. Unlike what I expected, they were actually really open to foreign ideas and thoughts. The only hard part was that since they learn English when they were younger, I had to teach them basic grammar.

Do you have anything more to say?

Hyeon-woo: It was definitely worth the time to teach English to North Korean defectors, because I was able to see how much it was benefitting them. They’re motivation and passion to learn English influenced me with positive thoughts and taught me the joy of teaching.

David: I was glad to learn of their individual stories, when they came over to South Korea, how they came over and many more details about their lives.