Parachute Children, 7,000 Miles From Home

Our friends at Voices of NY just produced a web special on young Korean immigrants known as “Parachute Children.”

Alex Yoo sits in his Paramus, N.J. home while his guardian looks on from the living room. (Photo by Peter Moskowitz)

Alex Yoo sits in his Paramus, N.J. home while his guardian looks on from the living room. (Photo by Peter Moskowitz/Voices of NY)

Each year, thousands of Korean children and teens travel to North America to study without their parents, a practice known as “chogi yuhak.” They hope to learn English, and to get a leg up in college admissions. Voices of NY’s Peter Moskowitz wrote about their struggles living 7,000 miles from home.

Voices also has a story on Hyuk “Jim” Jee, 17, who struggled to communicate and make friends when he first arrived as an 10th grader to North Babylon, on Long Island. In Korea, he said, “I didn’t really know how to socialize outside of academics,” but after a year here, he says he has become a “social person.”

There’s another story on the educational migration of Alex Yoo, a 14-year-old studying in New Jersey, who appreciates the opportunities he has in America to play sports, rather than spend all his time studying. But he misses his family in Korea, and sometimes wishes he could go home.

To read the stories of these Parachute Children, go to Voices of NY, a project of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

Fi2W is supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with additional support from the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation and the Sirus Fund.

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