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Issue 25

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What it Means to Struggle

Su Jeong, Sun Ah, Eun Hyun, Mi Hye, and Eun Jin from Korea

International students ponder the meaning of "struggling" to achieve a goal and write about a struggling fish, their personal struggles, and the struggle of a young man.

A child struggling to learn

Classroom Clipart
I think that sometimes pushing children is necessary so they will have a better future.

Struggling as a Child Can Pay Off

Su Jeong from Korea

In Korea, most parents want their children to learn a lot. When I was a girl, I didn't understand why my parents wanted me to learn so much. I wondered why they pushed me so hard and thought if they didn't push me so hard, I would do better.

Then things happened that made me begin to understand my parents a little. For example, one of my friends, from the age of five to eighteen, learned English from a native speaker. During our high school days, after school she went straight home every day.

At that time, my friends and I thought she was very poor. However, now we envy her. She entered the most famous university in Korea by testing only in English. Also, she makes a lot of money by individually tutoring high school students.

It is very hard for a child to struggle to learn something because the parents want the child to do it. However, I think that sometimes pushing children is necessary so they will have a better future.

A struggling salmon
A salmon swims against the current of water to get home.. It never gives up, rather, with resolution to die, struggles on and on.

A Struggling Salmon

Sun Ah from Korea

The word "struggle" makes me think about how I live. It reminds me of a story that I can't get out of my mind. When I was a high school student, my teacher told the class a story about "a struggling salmon."

A salmon is a fish which lives in the sea when it grows. It returns to its birth place instinctively to bear its young. It is not easy for a salmon to return to its birth place because it has to swim against the current of water, so a lot of salmon die on the way back. A salmon never gives up, rather, with resolution to die, struggles on and on.

This story impressed me very much. Though swimming against the current of water is an instinctive thing, the small creature tries hard to make it back. Since I heard the story, the lesson it teaches has affected my life. Sometimes, when I am depressed because life is difficult, I remember this story and decide to keep on struggling.

A book in Chinese for chldren
When school was over, I studied Chinese all night using Chinese elementary school books.

Struggling to Learn Chinese

Eun Hyun from Korea

During their lives, many people experience difficulties and struggle to do something. Some overcome their troubles, but some fail. When I lived in China, it was a struggle for me to learn Chinese and adapt to Chinese customs. When I first went to school, I was surprised at the class situation. There were 70 to 75 student in one class, and the classroom was very small.

It was not a very big problem for me because when I went to school because I didn't understand anything that the teacher and students said. I just sat in my seat without doing anything, but when I went back home, I cried and told my mom that I wanted to go back to Korea.

I decided I had to study Chinese very hard, but it was very difficult to learn the language. Every day at school, I tried to talk to the Chinese students and make friends with them. When school was over, I studied Chinese all night using Chinese elementary school books. That turned out to be a very effective way to learn Chinese. Little by little, I begqn to speak Chinese in school. I could finally participate in class, and I began to make many friends. Finally, I achieved a very high grade in the Chinese exam and naturally I was able to adapt to Chinese customs.

Now, I like to talk with Chinese students and i like Chinese food, too. The experience of struggling to learn Chinese in China was a very valuable experience for me, and I'll never forget that time when I learned so much.

Struggling for rights
To protest the unfair treatment of the workers, Jun Tai-Il set his body on fire..

One Man's Struggle for Workers' Rights

Mi Hye from Korea

There was a man who made an effort to get fair rights for workers in Korea. His name was Jun Tae-Il.

At that time, Korean workers were treated terribly. For example, they worked all day and slept only two or three hours. They didn't receive their salaries and they couldn't have a company house. They weren't able to eat very well and they couldn't wash, so they got diseases. Sometimes the boss sprinkled those struggling workers with excrement.

Tae-Il couldn't accept those work conditions, so he demonstrated against the company many times, but the work conditions never improved so he decided to do something big to bring attention to these injustices. One day, he gathered people in the square where he gave a speech and demonstrated. Then he sprinkled oil on his body and set his body on fire to protest the unfair treatment of the workers. In the end, he died, but after that his action had a big effect on many Koreans and Korean workers were treated better.

I did it! I learned to play the bass.

Eunjin Kim from Korea

musical notes
I had never played the bass before It was difficult, but I practiced playing hours and hours everyday.

When I was a high school student I joined a club that was a rock band. I decided I wanted to become a bassist. I had never played the bass before, so it was difficult. I was very worried; however, I practiced playing it everyday. I practiced hours and hours.

To play the bass, it is very important to keep your nails short, so I always cut my nails very short. I strugged to play the instrument well, and I bought music textbooks that I studied very hard. Little by little, I was able to begin playing the bass. I never stopped practicing. I practiced every day; and as a result, I was finally able to play on stage during my high school festival. I was very proud of myself. I did it!

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