Southern Door has the distinct pleasure of welcoming a 17-year-old South Korean foreign exchange student into their classrooms this year. Hye Rin Na, however in Korean you say the last name first so actually it is Na Hye Rin, is learning the American culture at an accelerated pace.
Door County's newest citizens, Rolland and Sue Smith by way of Chicago, welcomed Na Hye Rin into their home for a Korean home cooked meal this week. It is very difficult to make a 17-year-old Korean exchange student feel at home in Door County but the Smiths did an amazing job, according to Na Hye Rin.
Sue Smith, aka Choi Insook (in Korean), came to the United States from South Korea in 1974. Sue still speaks fluent Korean and when she greeted Na Hye Rin, the girl's reaction was priceless. A huge smile and giggle were signs of great things to come for the night ahead. The exchange student said she does not have a big "to do list" that she wants to accomplish before returning to her home country, but she did say she would like to accomplish this….
The home cooked Korean meal included Pulgogi, sangchu saam, kim chi, dwen jang jigea, seaweed aka giim, rice cakes and lots of laughs. Over dinner we learned that Na Hye Rin is from Seo Cheon (soo chun) a small beautiful town located on the Yellow/West Sea famous for their blossoming trees each spring similar to the cherry blossoms in Door County.
My wife and former DoorCountyDailyNews.com news director Karen Klement-Freimuth, our daughter Avery and I enjoyed learning more about the Korean culture and in particular about Na Hye Rin.
Tomorrow watch for part two of this story, focusing on education in South Korea.