From your first year as Executive Director of KAEC to this, your final year of tenure, we have been blessed by your wisdom, care and love for the ETA Program and the individual lives shaped through international exchange. As ETAs and OCs from 2004-2011, you trusted us to lead the ETA Orientation Program for several years and made us immensely aware of the impact that one person’s grant year could have on their life and the lives of others.
For the endless supply of watermelon each summer and homemade brownies at every conference, for forgiving us when we would occasionally misplace an ETA or for not revoking our driving privileges when we collided with a column in an E-Mart parking lot, for regaling us with punny jokes and stories from year to year, for welcoming us to your farm at the end of each Orientation for fresh air, home-grown food, and friendship, we thank you… for all of these memories and so many more.
You saw us through a swine flu quarantine, numerous ETA hospitalizations, and a transition to a whole new Orientation site (read: dalkgalbi and patbingsu for corn, red peppers, and the Jungwon museum). You had a hand in ETA matchmaking, attended our weddings, and hugged our babies. You fought for the ETA Program and made it the international gold standard it is today. Your care for ETAs was unrivaled: you calmed worried parents and homesick ETAs, and you counseled us through illnesses, major life decisions, and even moments of tremendous loss. You were with us for our best moments and ever by our side during our worst; you were a voice of authority but also one of heartfelt compassion and concern.
While always leaving a door open for us to return, you’ve advocated for our continued success after Korea.Today we are educators, lawyers, small business owners, presidents of non-profit organizations, doctoral students, parents, community volunteers, social justice advocates, and leaders in our fields. In each of these roles, our success can be attributed to Fulbright lessons and the jeong you helped foster among us. We would not be the people–nor the friends–we are today without you. You have inspired and influenced generations of ETAs, and we are just a few of them.
Mrs. Shim, there are no words capable of fully capturing how much your continued love and guidance has meant to us. We can only say, “thank you.”:
Congratulations on your well-deserved retirement. We look forward to visiting with you whenever our paths next meet.
Christine Arrozal, Aimee Jachym, and Laura Kennedy, on behalf of the 2005-2011 OCTs