Combatting Corona in Korea

Junior Kevin Kim attends virtual school in South Korea


Kevin Kim

Airplane seats on the Kim’s international flight to South Korea.

Sydney Stahlschmidt, Copy Editor

Junior Kevin Kim and his family skiing during his visit to South Korea. Photo courtesy of Kevin Kim.

Junior Kevin Kim is trying to get into a normal routine for the third quarter, but it’s a little different for him because he’s attending virtual classes from a completely different time zone…in South Korea.

This is Kim’s second time visiting Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic. His family normally visits multiple times a year. However, this time around, his experience has been much more restricted.

“[Last time]was less strict about going out or not filling out the temperature clocks. We came last year around August 2020 and corona cases were much lower,” Kim said.

Even after visiting several times before, Kim wasn’t nervous to visit Korea due to his experiences but the new coronavirus laws and the risk of acquiring the virus himself were difficult.

“When we were at American airports we were a bit more careful since they have a lot of cases reported in airports but I wasn’t really nervous because I can speak English and Korean fluently,” Kim said.

When Kim arrived at the Korea Incheon International Airport, there were many new rules and forms for him to deal with before going to stay with family. The government also required Kim to download an app and measure his symptoms to ensure he was quarantined and wasn’t exposed to the virus.

“The process was a bit complicated and confusing but it was to make sure everything was good,” Kim said. “Fortunately, me and my family all tested negative for corona virus and two days later, they sent us two big boxes of food and supplies such as microwave rice, ready to go meals, powder meals, and dried salted seaweeds.”

While Kim’s whole family tested negative for the virus, his experience still contained difficulties. He was separated from other family members during the quarantine period.

“My mom and older brother went before my dad, younger brother, and I,” Kim said. “My mom and older brother are quarantining in a different place than my dad, brother, and I because it gets way too crowded if we are all together.”

Kim is experiencing many great opportunities and getting to enjoy some of his favorite things during his time in Korea.

“One of the best things is that I can basically eat all the food that I could only eat in Korea and since I can’t go out, I don’t have to wear a mask,” Kim said. “South Korea has one of the best delivery food services in the world, so we get lots of food and meals delivered.”

While Kim enjoys all the great opportunities when visiting his family in South Korea, there are many difficulties with attending virtual PCH courses and adjusting to the time zone.

“We are having some time difference issues and turning in assignments on time. To adjust to school time we have to sleep during lunch to dinner time and wake up at 10:30 p.m. and stuff up till 6 a.m. and go back to sleep,” Kim said. “It is a difficult cycle and having to keep up with assignments and projects is very difficult but maintaining good grades are really important to us at the same time.”

Not only is it difficult to deal with the changes in time zone, due to being contained in his families home, Kim and his family don’t have many activities to be involved in outside of school.

“There are a lot of bad sides to this experience because it kinda feels like prison and trying to attend school from here is very difficult because of the time difference and WIFI connections,” Kim said. “Since we have nothing to do, my younger brother and I brought our Xbox and watch TV, Netflix, and Youtube when we are bored.”

While there are many ups and downs in Kim’s trip to South Korea during a pandemic, many people, including Kim, turn to family as a good support system during these difficult times.

“Since me, my dad, brothers, and mom are apart, we Facetime and text each other almost daily,” Kim said.