Teenage emigration: Haim Youk's story, 16, South Korea

Haim lived in three countries overall, he was born in South Korea, then for almost all his childhood he lived in China and now he lives in Israel.
Alikberova Aksinia

Disclaimer: The text contains informal language and personal opinions, based on the unique experience of the adolescent. Opinions may vary and many things can be discussed. But my goal is to share real personal stories, which often mention various views on life in a particular country and so on. So, it is important to shape your own opinion and not to take anything as an immutable truth.


Haim è nato in Corea del Sud 

On the life of Haim, 16, South Korea

- "I came to Israel because my father wanted to study ancient Judaism and is currently doing a doctorate in it."

Haim copes well with life in foreign countries, his unusual personal experience and friends help him, but Haim also encountered some problems, mainly related to racism.

This is how Haim describes his learning experience at IB International School in Jerusalem as a native Korean and his future plans:

- "Personally, I want to apply to universities in the United States. I don't plan to stay in Israel longer after graduate school, and that's my decision (because I have no reason to stay a place I don't like)."



Then he lived in China for 7 years

- “I am currently studying in the IB program at Mae Boyar High School.

I study in English, but outside of school I usually speak Hebrew and Russian. I'm lucky that I had a Korean in my new school and I had a lot of help from him, so I was able to learn Hebrew within 1 year. After 1 year in Israel I wasn't fluent, but I could still communicate on my own.

I also studied English for 2 years in China, so I was able to speak English almost fluently when I came to Israel, which also helped me. Now I speak Korean, English and Hebrew.

I had no expectations of living and studying in Israel, because I knew that wherever I went it would be better than China for sure. I expected some racism because obviously it's not like in China where people mostly have similar characteristics. I suffered from racism much more than I expected during the first 5 years in Israel. Now I'm used to it, so I know how to overcome it and how to act in such situations.

I had culture shock about wearing shoes inside the house because in Asia we take them off when we get home. And I also had a culture shock about social life here, which is much more complicated than in Korea or China.

I'm almost a native Israeli now and so I'm very close to the teachers at my school and I have some Israeli friends. I really like the climate of their country because it is not humid like Korea or China.

I pretty much live like a normal Israeli and am very attached to their culture, I also played on a professional basketball team in Jerusalem, so I'm pretty much almost an Israeli.

The author could not remove Haim's very notable comment: “I like blonde girls and also Asian girls mostly. I don't even have a problem with Russian girls))))!”

And this: “Bro, listen, I have no idea what advice but I'll be nice and write something.”

He's now living in Israel since 9 years

Haim's advice to teenagers planning to study abroad:

- "I personally think the most important thing is to try to be as close and open to the new culture as possible and not just be with those who share the same culture with you and make you comfortable. For example, I did a lot of sleepovers so that I could connect better with the local people."