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The Korean Nurses’ perspective on their impending graduation

Graduation.

Just saying that word brings a mixture of excitement and anxiety to the heart of every college senior. It is a word that brings to mind the joy of accomplishment and the slightly terrifying reality of stepping out into the world.

For Hae Kyung Ra (Melanie), Youn Soo Bang (Angela) and Sung Eun Kim (Beronica), three women enrolled in the nursing program at Eastern, this time of transition is no different. Sitting in the slightly cramped office of Professor Sung-Chon Yoo, lecturer and Korean nurse student adviser, they smiled continuously as they spoke of their experience at Eastern and their upcoming graduation on May 12.

Looking back on their time here at Eastern, the three women had many good things to say about their professors, the nursing program and the campus in general. They emphasized how helpful, caring and patient their professors had been.

They said that Yoo in particular has helped them in many areas of life but especially in translating the difficult texts of research materials which were all in English.

Melanie was pleasantly surprised by how clean and beautiful Eastern is. She had seen many American movies where the campuses were littered with garbage and the students were drinking, smoking or playing obnoxiously loud music. This was not the type of environment she wished to live and study in.

In addition, the nurses stressed how important attending a Christian college was to them and that they were very pleased with Eastern’s commitment to Christianity.

The nurses went on to explain how the program is an intense and rigorous 16-month session during which time they were able to do little more than their work. In addition to their nursing studies, they take ESL courses in order to improve their English.

Through their courses they were shown how to think critically, a skill that is not taught in Korean education to anyone except upper-class men. Gaining proficiency in this area is of great importance to them, because it allows them to think for themselves rather than just take orders, as they are expected to do in their country.

In addition, the nursing program has allowed these women to obtain knowledge and skills that they can use in their respective fields. They are very grateful that they can find jobs based on their level of expertise as opposed to their age.

In Korea, Yoo explained, age limits the ability to work, especially if you are a woman and are not allowed to work past the age of forty.

Despite their overwhelming praise for Eastern, there are a few things about their experiences that have been difficult to deal with. Angela expressed the fact that she misses her family greatly, especially her siblings, who she tries to speak to every day.

Beronica has two children who arrived in the United States seven months ago, and it has become increasingly difficult for her to be a mom and a full-time student.

Melanie shared how it is nearly impossible to have a social life or to do anything fun outside school and how that can be frustrating at times. They said having more time is something they are all definitely looking forward to.

After graduation, Beronica, Angela and Melanie have plans and dreams to fulfill. Beronica wants to work in a local hospital, spend more time with her children and eventually continue her education. Angela plans to work in a nursing home and continue her education while gaining more experience. Melanie also works in a nursing home and has dreams of continuing her education, but in the field of psychology.

All three of these remarkable women are ready to move forward into the future, but they will always look back on their time at Eastern with a nostalgic fondness.

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