Jungho Lee, a 21 year old aspiring history teacher, currently taking classes at Pima Community College. Moving to Tucson in January of 2015, Lee had lived in Seoul for most of his teenage years. Seoul, with a population over 25.6 million, is the capital and largest metropolis in South Korea, where Lee got a first glimpse of living in the big city. He had moved to Seoul in middle school, leaving his hometown of Daejeon, a smaller metropolitan area in Central South Korea.
After high school, Jungho moved to London to study English. He informed me that English was an important language for work. It is a very valuable asset in Korea, and a lot of the time, if you dont know very much English in South Korea you will be left behind without much of a chance to stand out.
Following his studying in London, Lee moved to Tucson with his family. When asked why they decided Tucson out of all places, he informed me that his dad had acquired a job locally at the University of Arizona, working on research. In South Korea, his father was a Electronic and Computer professor. But Lee did not come to the States with his family alone, he also had some friends that moved to San Diego, also to study. Although only having been here for a short time so far, Jungho has already seen many classic United States attractions; Visiting the Grand Canyon in April, and Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks early last summer.
The biggest difference he says between Seoul and Tucson, is the density of the population. With 43,000 people occupying one square mile in Seoul, only about 3,000 people occupy a square mile in Tucson. The only complaint he has with Tucson is that it’s so big and spread out that it’s nearly impossible to get anywhere without a car or some type of transit.
Although only taking ESL (English as Second Language) currently at Pima Community College, he hopes to someday become a History Teacher. He wants to pursue this goal becuase of the current controversy in South Korea, where the government passed a mandate forcing schools in the country to use government written textbooks, set to debut in 2017. It is rumored that the current President, Park Geun-hye, wants to change these textbooks to seemingly ‘erase’ her family’s political past. Her father, who served in the Japanese military and seized power in 1961, was accused of human rights violations including torture and abuse of politicians, as well as the killing of civilians.
Lee does not want the government to regulate textbooks, he believes it is unfair and unjust that the government is only allowing the people to know what they want them to know. Meanwhile, Lee wants students to be able to learn and think on their own. All the while being able to form their own opinions on controversial matters.
“I want them to see both sides of the story.” He told me, while telling me more about the controversy in South Korea.
Until then, Jungho is happily residing in the community of Tucson, where he very much enjoys the landscape of the Arizona desert, as well as how kind the people are here. Although he will have to go back to South Korea in the relatively soon future, due to the Mandatory South Korean Military Service, stated in the constitution. The article reads that all South Korean male citizens must go into military service between the ages of 18–35. Lee said he was planning to move back possibly some time next year.