November 14, 2017 // 1:15 PM

Friendship Around the World

Written by Juanita Fox

Eun Hee Jang has a goal for her year in North America: to try a different kind and flavor of potato chips each Friday. She’s already decided she doesn’t like salt and vinegar chips! But, she loves whoopie pies. And she’s been enjoying her time in New Holland ever since she arrived in August.

Another goal for her year in North America is to make many new friends. She’s well on her way! She greets everyone who passes her with a genuine smile and hello.

Eun Hee says, “I know that the people who live here are very kind. I will do my best to make friends with everyone.”

Eun Hee spends her time at Garden Spot Village serving in a variety of departments. On Mondays and Wednesdays she works with Lorrie Westenhoefer in recreation therapy. On Tuesdays and Thursdays she works with the chaplains and participates in the Catholic Communion. On Fridays she works with Colleen Musselman in life enrichment, taking trips and helping in other ways.

Eun Hee’s journey to the United States started two years ago when she attended the Christian Forum for Reconciliation in Northeast Asia in Hong Kong. The event was co-hosted by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) and Duke Divinity School’s Center for Reconciliation.

Her interest in peace studies and connection to the peace movement in South Korea made a year with MCC’s International Visitor Exchange Program (IVEP) an ideal fit. In addition, she desired an opportunity to live out her beliefs in a new environment.

After Eun Hee received a Master’s degree in Religious Studies and Catholic Theology in February 2017 the time was right to spend a year in North America. She applied to the IVEP program and was assigned to Garden Spot Village.

Eun Hee lives in Gunpo, a city close to Seoul, with her parents, married sister and nephew. Her brother-in-law stays with them on the weekends. She says, “We live together. It’s our way to respect our parents in Korean society. Also, in the case of a married couple working double-income, like my sister and her husband, grandparents often take care of their grandchildren.”

When Eun Hee returns to South Korea next summer she hopes to continue her studies, integrating theology with peace studies.

Until then she will be spreading sunshine with her smile and making new friends wherever she goes.