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English, a foreign language for Jeong in Choi

Posted: May 20, 2013


Jeong in Choi (Jenny), KNU student studying at ONU

“내게 능력 주시는 자 안에서 내가 모든 것을 할 수 있느니라” is Jeong in Choi’s favorite scripture verse and has been helpful to her in recent days. This is Philippians 4:13, which speaks of God’s provision. For a Korean student learning English and studying in the United States, this verse means a lot.

Her friends at Olivet call her Jenny, but back home in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, she is Jeong in Choi. She attended Korea Nazarene University (KNU), majoring in international business management.

After completing her freshman and sophomore years there, she chose to attend Olivet for her last two years in conjunction with a program offered by KNU. Recently, she completed her first semester as an Olivet business student. She is the first KNU student to do this.

Help along the way

When she was considering a move to Bourbonnais, Jenny contacted one of her past professors from KNU, Dr. Cathy Bareiss. A computer science professor and department chair at Olivet, Dr. Bareiss taught English and computing classes at KNU during her sabbatical in 2011. She was the first Olivet faculty member to have that opportunity.

With encouragement from Dr. Bareiss, Jenny decided to come to Olivet.

“She’s like my American aunt,” Jenny says.

Dr. Bareiss has connected with Jenny also, and she continues to check in on her. “Her English has improved, and she has fallen in love with ONU,” Dr. Bareiss says.

Far from Korea, close to the heart

Culturally, Jenny has found many differences at Olivet. The teaching style, food and even the atmosphere are new for her.

For example, KNU students have chapel once a week, and their worship style is similar. Although the music at Olivet is familiar to her, Jenny continues to be impressed by how seriously Olivet students take their faith. “There are a lot of Christians in Korea, but not as many as there are here,” she says. “The environment at KNU is very different.”

Though Jenny studied English at KNU, the most challenging part of moving to America for her is communicating in another language. “When I’m writing and reading something, studying or talking with my friends, it’s very hard,” she says. “Sometimes I speak Korean without realizing it.”

Jenny is learning that God speaks everyone’s language, including Korean. After her time at Olivet, she wants to work in many different places. She likes to try new things and wants to experience other cultures.

Philippians 4:13 continues to help her: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”