Meet LMP’s International Korean Student: Diego Koh

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Sophomore Diego Koh in his Spanish class.

Rachel Dearing, Staff Writer

Sophomore Diego Koh is from South Korea. He felt out of place when he first came to America in 2018 but was excited to study abroad. He had always wanted to visit the U.S. at least once in his lifetime, and now he has the opportunity to live out that dream. Koh joined the tennis team last year, and this year he has joined the bowling team as well.

How Has Your Routine Changed Since Coming to America? 

“In Korea, [I] was more ‘acting first’ and ‘thinking later’,” said Koh. “I try to take care of everything because I don’t want any issues. If I start having major issues, I will get punished, and have to go back to Korea,” said Koh.

What Has Surprised You About Americans?

Understanding how Americans perceive Koreans opened Koh’s eyes. “Lots of people think [Koreans] are very cold, but we are actually not. We don’t like to attack anyone. We think about other people,” said Koh. He quickly realized that Americans’ mindsets and attitudes are completely different from what he was used to. He also learned how to adapt quickly, and still keep his true to what he was taught. 

What are Your Favorite Pieces of Korean and American Culture? 

“Well, first my favorite Korean dish is Korean BBQ. Our meat is very soft. American meat is very chewy, but our Korean meat is very thin and soft. When you eat Korean meat, it just melts in your mouth. Second, my favorite American dish is a hamburger,” said Koh. Many people don’t realize how food is very different across the world, and because it’s something so simple people don’t realize how big of an impact it makes. Another big difference in culture is travel. “America is so big, you can’t walk everywhere. However, in my country we can walk everywhere,” said Koh. It’s true that in America most people drive everywhere because everything is so spread out. However in other countries, towns are very close together, and people can easily walk from place to place.

How Do You Spend Your Free Time/Holidays? 

“My favorite American holiday is Christmas. I buy presents and I celebrate with my actual family. They come here for Christmas break,” said Koh. Many international students do not get the opportunity to spend the holidays with their biological families. They celebrate with their host families. “Orlando is the biggest city that I have ever gone to in Florida. I like to try new restaurants, go to Universal, or do other fun stuff there,” said Koh. Diego travels to Orlando with his friends and spends most of his free time making memories with them.