By Terrie Ellerbee
A Doctoral of Education (EdD) is a terminal degree and as such it takes a lot of work to earn one. Some take it on in their 20s while for others it is a mid-career milestone. They navigate varied paths to the degree, but few pad the globe like Adelia Kim, an EdD student at Piedmont’s Athens campus.
Her journey began in East Asia, 7,000 miles from Piedmont College. When she was 9 years old, her father, Joo Han, emigrated from Seoul, South Korea, to Sao Paulo, Brazil. A former soldier, Han chose Brazil because he had been told it was a peaceful country. And it was in 1971.
Korean culture dictates that the oldest son takes responsibility for the entire family, so along with Han and his wife, Nam Lee, came Kim and her two siblings, a grandmother, an aunt and uncle. In their new country, the family opened retail clothing stores. The children helped out, mostly with translation.
Immersed in the culture, Kim quickly learned Portuguese, the national language. She envisioned herself an educator. By age 15 she was volunteering to teach Portuguese to Korean immigrants at her church. Kim later met her husband, Sung. They operated a clothing factory and started a family.
Kim loved Brazil. It was home for more than three decades, but by 2002, São Paulo had become what The New York Times described as “the kidnapping capital of Brazil.” Criminals were targeting middle-class families for quick cash, abducting and holding victims for ransoms as low as $500.
“It was not a safe place,” Kim said. “My decision was very similar to my father’s.”
During the citizenship test, applicants are asked up to 10 questions from a list of 100 they should be prepared to answer. Adelia Kim quizzed colleagues and was surprised by how many they could not answer, including naming the two U.S. senators from Georgia.
“That was the fourth question the officer asked me. We have two. I know because I studied. Some of the teachers didn’t know. Why don’t you know that?” - Adelia Kim
(The current correct answer is David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.)
How would you do? Here are three questions from the civics test:
- How many amendments does the Constitution have?
- Who is the Chief Justice of the United States now?
- Name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.