Although it was quite a long time ago, I distinctly remember visiting your university and eating bibimpap in the student cafeteria. I recall the students welcoming me at that time and still appreciate the kindness that was extended to me. I hope that I can visit your school sometime in the near future.
After that first visit to Korea, I returned to America to continue my studies, but again came back to Korea as an exchange student at Yonsei University. When I completed my semester there, I went back to the U.S., obtained a university degree, entered law school, and upon completing my graduate studies and passing the bar examination, I again revisited Korea as an international lawyer. Little did I know at that time that I would still be here many years hence. And little did I know that I would become a successful television personality.
For several years after arriving back in Korea, I worked for a major international law firm in Seoul. During this time, I got married and began a family before moving to another small law firm in the city of Pusan. It was while I was working in Pusan that the local television station (Pusan BroadcastingPSB) found me and had me appear on a daily morning show. This show served as a springboard leading to hundreds of appearances on all of Koreas major television and radio stations. It also led me to appear in dozens of newspaper, television and radio advertisements. And it changed my life forever.
I now live with my family in the city of Gwangju, where the residents use a completely different dialect than that of Daegu or Pusan. I currently own and operate both Kwangju Foreign School and Jeonbuk Foreign School. I also continue my broadcasting work and appear daily on MBCs Bbobbobbo and another weekly cable t.v. program produced by Seoul City Hall.
But my purpose is not to give you my life history. I actually intend to convey to you the purposes behind my becoming a citizen of Korea. Years ago, I remember watching Lee Han Woo (이한우 a.k.a. 이참) on Korean television and hearing my wife say that he is a Korean citizen. I was a little shocked and thought it quite strange that a foreigner would seek to become a Korean citizen. He did not look Korean, and indeed by simply changing his citizenship, he could not become a member of the Korean race.
For quite some time thereafter, I simply had no desire to change my citizenship. I thought it would be a meaningless gesture. But after becoming involved in the broadcasting business, I came to know Lee Han Woo and Ida Dauce, both of whom impressed upon me the meaning of Korean citizenship. It was Ida that said to me that if I love Korea and do not intend to return to the U.S. for many years, I should change my citizenship to show my love of Korea and my desire to be accepted here. I thought deeply about this for many months and discussed the matter with my wife and children. At length I made the decision to renounce my American citizenship and become a naturalized Korean citizen. It was a lengthy process, but I finally was able to do so after much paperwork, several interviews and the ?itizenship test?required of all naturalization applicants.
I have no regrets. I love Korea and want to stay here. That is not to say I do not love America. I also love America. But my lifes course has led me here and it is here that I intend to stay. We do not know where life will lead us. All of you are students now and are building the foundation for the remainder of your life. When you do make choices, make sure that they are the right ones for you. Contemplate your options and determine which course is the best for you. And once you make a decision, do not waste time regretting it. I have never regretted the decisions I have made. Regret is a wasted endeavor. Thus, make your decisions wisely. And follow the course which you have chosen. But I promise you that life will never lead you where you think it will.
저작권자 © 영남대학교 언론출판문화원 무단전재 및 재배포 금지