Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Tuesday afternoon with Kyung-Jin

Poor Kyung-Jin. As much as I envy her the experience of living in a foreign country at 19, with the choice of living wherever she wants for the next four years, she's got some big decisions to make that I don't envy. In order to renew her visa, she needs to decide this week where she wants to go to university next year. Her preferences make her choices a somewhat fewer: she wants to live somewhere where there is a small Korean population so that she won't have any opportunity not to speak English; she prefers to live in a larger city (Halifax is awfully small and quiet for her after growing up in Seoul); she wants somewhere that is affordable and has a good public transit system; she also wants to attend a university with a good business program.

Even with all of those caveats, though, she still has an awful lot of choices. She could go to Queen's, Ottawa or Carleton, McGill, UofC, UofA, one of the smaller universities outside of Toronto, or stay out here in Halifax, among others No wonder she's having a tough time deciding! Her other problem is that she doesn't have anyone to talk to who has experienced being from Korea and living in one of these places so that she can get an honest opinion of what going to university there is like.

We were talking today about how I chose to go where I did for my undergraduate degree, and I know that I was of no help to her at all. I chose to go to UT Mississauga because it was 20 minutes from home, had a great, world-class program, and would allow me to graduate debt free. Kyung-Jin doesn't have the option of living at home and becoming bilingual at the same time, so that wasn't too helpful to her. She's a smart cookie, though, and I know that she'll figure it out. I just wish that I could be more helpful.