At age 5, helping mom and dad adjust to life in the U.S.

Sam Park (front) and his family. (Courtesy photo)

January 2001 marked a pivotal point in Sam Park’s life when he and his family hopped the ocean from Seoul, South Korea to the United States. In hopes of giving Sam and his little sister, Sarah, the American Dream, Sam’s mother packed up all their belongings to meet their father who was already residing in the US.

Arriving in the US at the ripe age of five, Sam was the first in his family to adapt to their new environment’s culture by being enrolled in elementary school quickly after. Sam’s parents knew no English or anything about American culture prior to moving to the US. Having to navigate a new country’s language and mannerisms without any guidance, Sam learned through trial and error on what was and wasn’t acceptable in his new surroundings.

With his willingness to learn from early on, Sam has been able to teach not only his parents but his little sister on how to make it by in the US with ease. Having graduated from the University of Washington, Sam has successfully achieved his personal life goals as well as making his family proud.

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This story was produced in partnership with the First Days Project.