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정희수 칼럼

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KUKI Home Inspection and Photo

  Dr. Joseph Chung - Column
 정희수 칼럼



His plane was approaching Japan. He asked himself again if his life of 35 years in Montreal was worthwhile. He came to the conclusion that his immigrant life had a purpose and a meaning and that it was a happy life, because God allowed him to seek for his Grace, to know him, to feel him and to obey his love commandments.

■Kim loved the Korean community of Montreal

Kim’s plane was now in Japan’s air space; he could see the Mt. Fuji; he was not far from Seoul. Kim started to put in order his relations with the Korean community in Montreal. Kim wanted to do something useful for the Korean community of Montreal

Kim tried to summarize his perception of the community. First he noticed that, since his arrival in Montreal in 1977, the Korean community evolved by stages. An immigrant community including the Korean community evolves through the four stages: the settlement stage, the adaptation stage, the integration stage and the absorption stage.
The settlement stage is the one in which the immigrants settle down.  The most urgent need during this stage is the physical survival. You need a job or a business to support your family. You need a place to stay. You have to find a good school for your kids.
The second stage is one of adaptation. During this stage, you as immigrant have to adapt yourself to the host society’s way of thinking and doing; for this, you have to modify to some extent your old way. This stage is one where your kids start to get into the local labor market.

During the third stage of integration, your adaptation is wide enough and deep enough to feel comfortable in the host society and most of the community members have good jobs and social positions; you do feel no more that you are marginal people. This is the stage where the second generation becomes parents and the third generation begins to get into the local labor market.
Finally during the fourth stage, you are no longer immigrants. You become a part of the mainstream of the host society.

The period needed for each stage depends on the culture distance; the greater is the culture distance, the longer the stage duration is. In the case of West Europeans who share the common Christian values as Canadians, it may take less than hundred years. In the case of Koreans who have values very different from the Canadian values, it may take much longer. Moreover, even if the culture distance is the same, the duration of the process may differ depending on the efforts of the community.
The Korean community of Montreal was better structured in 1978 when it was registered by virtue of Quebec law as non-profit organization. However, according to Professor Hong, the Korean community has just ended its settlement stage and it is getting into the next stage of adaptation.

Kim thought that the Korean community of Montreal has done well for the stage of establishment. Most of the households have succeeded in assuring reasonable income, buying a house and above all sending their kids to good schools. During the stage of establishment, the community was relatively united and helped each other.

However, the church played a big role; it went to go to the airport to welcome the new immigrants, and helped the new comers in finding house, acquiring business, selecting school for children. The Association of Koreans of Montreal also provided assistant to new comers.
Various voluntary service organizations sprang up to meet various specific needs. There were many associations: the association of senior people, the association of business people, golf association, literature group, traditional dance group and many others.

As the community had solved the problems of basic needs, it became interested in making a bridge between the Korean community and the Quebec society. Some of the presidents of the Association organized a series of seminar to initiate Koreans to the Quebec society; participated in collective activities sponsored by the Quebec government and other public and semi-public organizations. Many of these activities were funded by government grants. These activities helped in creating a favorable image of Koreans in Montreal.
<to be continued>