Spotlight on Youth: Korean moves to Alaska, overcomes language barrier

Published: Nov. 7, 2018 at 8:42 AM AKST
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Her name is Sooyeon Kim, but she goes by her American name, Linda Kim. Born in Korea, Kim and her family ended up in Alaska after her dad was offered a job as a music pastor.

However, moving took an adjustment. Kim said her biggest hurdle was the language barrier.

"Since kindergarten I did know how to say a few phrases like hello, hi, but when I first landed here it was just a whole new concept," Kim said.

The teen wanted to help her family understand English and American culture, so she started to interpret for them. Now permanent residents, Kim's passion for helping others goes beyond helping just her family.

She's active in several organizations and is being recognized at the 2018 YWCA Alaska's Women of Achievement and Youth Awards.

"My immediate reaction was surprised and really honored because I really didn't know if I would get it or not," she said.

To top it all off, Kim found out a piece of her past is connected to her future. Her grandmother from her mother's side was involved in YWCA Korea for decades, something Kim didn't find out until learning of her award.

Kim's future is bright and whichever path she chooses, she said giving back is definitely a part of it.