Regular FeaturesPeople/Yonseian
Writing Her Way to the MotherlandA Joseonjok winner of the "Yoon Dong-joo Literary Awards"
Kim Hee-jin  |  heejin212@yonsei.ac.kr
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승인 2008.09.24  18:37:11
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리


AFTER WINNING the first prize in the “Yoon Dong-joo Literary Awards” last year, Han Gook-hwa (Fresh., Div. of Humanities) flew all the way to Korea from Yanbian, China, to enter Yonsei Univ. this year, while receiving a four-year scholarship. She will also give you second thoughts regarding the prejudice towards Joseonjok, ethnic Koreans in China, if you had any.

My first encounter with compositions was not much different from that of other students. In middle and high school literature classes, I studied numerous literary works and practiced writing. From the most impressive book I read, Tree by Lee Yang-ha, I learned how to create images and organize thoughts, as well as gaining the courage to start writing.
People say that my style of writing is calm and composed. I think that my easy attitude toward unraveling what is in my mind allows the readers to understand my thoughts better. My prizewinning works were both essays and poems. My daily life usually becomes the subject matter of my works. In case of my first prize work, "Dialogue with Yoon Dong-joo," I wrote about Joseonjok after reading numerous Internet posts about them.
“Dialogue with Yoon Dong-joo” expressed my regret over Korean society in Yanbian, where people are increasingly losing their identities as descendants of Korean nationals. I felt bitter against those people who left due to the thought that they were abandoning the land that had been cultivated by our ancestors with great suffering. However as I met many Joseonjok in Korea, I found out that what is important is not the Yanbian territory itself but the spirit of Joseonjok. I now think that it does not matter where they live as long as they embrace their identities and the suffering of their ancestors.
During my stay in Korea, I have never been subject to uncomfortable glances, but I realized that many Koreans have mistaken knowledge regarding Yanbian. Some classmates thought of Yanbian as a place where “cows roam around on unpaved dirt roads.” In reality, Yanbian can be considered a miniature Seoul.
Other than studying, I am enjoying many other activities at Yonsei Univ. At the Yonsei Video Arts Center (YVAC), I am learning how to make films and am currently making one for myself. I also joined Moonwoo, a magazine publihser of the Col. of Liberal Arts. I really appreciate the opportunity to engage in such diverse activities, and I think this is the greatest difference from my life in Yanbian.
My short-term plan for now is majoring in Korean Language & Lit. There is no specific career that I am aspiring for right now, but I believe that Korean Language & Lit. is the academic field that I could study with the greatest passion. Life in university seems much more liberal than any other, so I hope other Yonseians take advantage of such freedom as well as make full use of their time here.

The “Yoon Dong-joo Literary Awards”
The “Yoon Dong-joo Literary Awards” were first held in 1999 with the support of the Association of Friendship among Americans, Chinese, and Koreans. Approximately 8,000 works are submitted to the Awards annually, and the winners are given the chance to visit Korea. Starting from this year, Yonsei Univ. is accepting the first prize winner as a four-year scholarship student each year.

   
 
  Han Gook-hwa (Fresh., Div. of Humanities), the winner of the "Yoon Dong-joo Literary Awards"  
 

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