January of 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 (US). 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 to the US at the ripe age of five years old, Sam was the first out of 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.
“So the first day of immigrating, I remember we packed all our stuff up. I remember there were a lot of tears, especially from the grandparents when they saw us and said bye to us and a lot of hugs. I remember very specifically us, we were coming up on the escalator and I remember as we were, it was like a movie scene, as we were coming up the escalator, you just see that one person waiting for you and I remember it was dad. And then I remember, it was like, literally in a movie scene just like, ‘Oh my god!’ Everyone was so happy to see each other and then there were tears. And that’s the last thing I remember of that day.”