My name is Sun Paik.

Seoul, South Korea

College Park, Maryland



Ann Arbor, Michigan

What is your name? How old are you?

My name is Sun Paik and I am 70 years old.

What country and city did you immigrate from? And where did you immigrate to? Also, are there any particular reasons behind your immigration?

I was born and raised in Gimcheon, South Korea. But for college and graduate school, I moved to Seoul, South Korea and spent 8 years in that city. I was originally in the physics PhD program at a university in Seoul. But, I had to leave the program due to the death of my advisor. After I left my PhD program in Seoul, I moved to Venice, Italy to continue my research work. And from Venice, I moved to College Park, Maryland in 1982 to complete my PhD. I was 29 years old when I arrived in College Park. Upon getting my PhD in 1988, I lived in San Diego, California and later moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is where I currently live. So to answer your question, I initially moved to the United States for my education.

Can you describe your first day in the United States for me?

I arrived in the United States through Washington National Airport (now called Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport). I first asked the people working at the information center at the airport about how I could get to my final destination, which was University of Maryland, College Park. A person at the information center suggested that I should take the subway to go to the Washington D.C., then take the bus from there to my final destination. So, I first put all of my luggage in the locker at the airport and hopped onto the subway. Although South Korea in modern days has a large and well maintained subway system, when I lived in the country, I didn't get to ride the subway much because my hometown didn’t have a subway and the subway system in Seoul was too small for me to feel the need to use it. So, I was a little nervous to use the subway, especially in the country that I just arrived in. To my surprise, however, my subway trip from the airport to D.C. went well and I was able to get into the bus that would take me to my final destination. At this point, I am more relaxed since I got off the subway and I was now on a more familiar transportation system. Yet, I accidentally ended up at the University of Maryland Global Campus, instead of the College Park Campus. So, I hopped onto the bus again and got to the College Park Campus. Once I got to the campus, I first went to my dorm and from there, I was so tired from my trip that I instantly fell asleep.