International Communiqué: An Interview with Hee Rae Chang

Anne-Elisabeth Cavarec, Staff Writer

Oak Leaf: Where do you come from?

Hee Rae: I come from South Korea.

I am 21 years old. I am living with my cousin (also an SRJC Student) and my auntie in Santa Rosa. They recommended me this college.

OL: What do you study at the Santa Rosa Junior College and why did you choose to study in this country?

HR: I am taking ESL, art history, anthropology and history classes. Coming here represents a good opportunity for getting a job. Having studied abroad is an advantage to get a good job in my country.

After my four years of study here, I would like to get a job in my country or in the U.S. My major is graphic design and I am interested in making films.

OL: What’s your feeling about life here?

HR: I feel comfortable here because American people are smiling, not hurried. Here people are so relaxed!

In South Korea, we always live in a very competitive system; we are focused on work. We must work hard to be the best. In Korea, I must study each day until 11 p.m. I have no time to travel.

Here I very much enjoy the free time. I’ve already traveled to Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Los Angeles where there is a Korean neighborhood.

OL: Did you make friends in America?

HR: It’s hard to make American friends. One of the reasons is probably because I spend time with and I want to get help from my Korean friends.

Another reason is I find it difficult to speak with people in a class of 200. It would be easier in a small class. But I get help from American students in the library. They regularly help me with my essays and to speak English.

OL: When you will go back to your country, what do you think you will miss the most from here?

HR: The fact that here people don’t really care about what you do, what you look like or how much money you earn.