Korean student started immigrated to united states in 1950s and 1960s. these students were the third major pillar of Korean immigration second wave to the united states. Because of American’s heavy influence in post-war South Korea, young Koreans began educational opportunities in the united states. Mr. Lee is just one example of the approximately six thousand Korean students who came to study in the United States between 1945 and 1965. Not all of these 6,000 students remained in America as Mr. Lee did. A significant number did remain in the united states, and they like their military bride counterparts, became sponsors for family members wanting to immigrate to the U.S. Today, South Korea sends the third most international students to the United States after China and India; more than 70,600 South Koreans studied in the United States in the 2012-13 school year.
Godfather of Asian American Journalism
Kyung Won Lee spent his entire adult life working as an advocate for the Korean American community. in 1997 he was inducted into the Newseum’s Journalism History Gallery in Arlington, Virginia. Mr.Lee was born in Kaesong, North Korea in 1928. Under Japanese colonial rule, there were few opportunities for Korean youth. However, he was able to attend a Japanese school, and by the time world war IIhad begun, he was enlisted in the Japanese air force. When the war ended, he returned to Korea and enrolled at Korea University. He found himself rediscovering his Korean heritage, and soon became politically active on campus. On the advice of a close friend, he left Korea and headed to school in the United States on a student visa. He went on to study journalism at West Virginia University and received his master’s degree from the University of Illinois in 1955. He became the first Asian immigrant reporter at a major U.S. daily newspaper. While at the Sacramento Union during the 1970s, K.W. initiated a series of investigative pieces on Chol Soo Lee, an immigrant Korean who was racially profiled and wrongfully convicted in 1973 for a murder involving Chinese gangs in San Francisco’s Chinatown.In 1990, K.W. established the English Edition to the Korea Times in Los Angeles. when he reported for the Kingsport Times and News in Tennessee and the Charleston Gazette in West Virginia. As an investigative reporter, K.W. covered a variety of human interest stories that focused on social justice, such as black lung disease among coal miners in the Appalachian Mountains and the civil rights movement in Jim Crow South.
How did Korean students find their way to the United States?
Part of the answer lies with U.S. cold war policies in South Korea. U.S. reconstruction policies after the Korean war provided both the opportunities, the means, as well as helping to foster a culture of studying abroad. Not only did the United States have a significant military presence, but it was also engaged in a large-scale nation building program in South Korea. From 1954-1960, the United States distributed approximately $2.3 billion program in military and economic aid to South Korea. even though most of the aid was military in nature, about $60 million was directed to educational reconstruction project. U.S. aid came from voluntary aid organizations like American relief for Korea (ARK), American Korean Foundation (AFK), the United Nations Korean Reconstruction Agency (UNKRA) and etc. These programs send American experts, in education, medicine, engineering, and other fields to Korea to help train Koreans and oversee the rebuilding of schools, hospitals, and power plants. Korean faculty and students were in turn sent to America colleges and universities. With this exchange system, mostly rewarded those who studied in the United States with full-time faculty position and high-level administrative offices in universities and government. 15,000 Korean students came to study in America between 1953 and 1980, less than 10% returned to Korea. There are still large number of Korean studying in United State. According to the Department of Homeland Security, in 2006 the 83,854 foreign Korean students represented the largest group of active foreign students in the U.S. at 14%. This cultural of studying abroad gave Korean students an avenue to immigration. Like military bride, students later sponsored other family members who wanted to settle in America.