feat. a Korean-Canadian: Grace Ji-Young Sohn

feat. a Korean-Canadian is a blog series highlighting Korean-Canadians and their experiences, perspectives and thoughts on their identity as Korean-Canadians.

Grace Sohn

This blog features Grace Sohn, a flight attendant for eleven years and a mother to an adorable 19-months old son. She currently lives in Toronto but she was born and grew up in Vancouver.

How do you answer the question, “Where are you from?”

I usually answer this question with, “I live in Toronto but I’m from Vancouver”.  However, when asked this question it usually leads to a follow up answer of “I’m Korean.”

Do you find this question difficult to answer?

No, I don’t find this question difficult to answer because I have always identified myself as a Korean-Canadian.

Do you feel pressured to present yourself a certain way because you’re Korean?

No, and I think it’s because a lot of this pressure would come from one’s parents.  Growing up, my parents didn’t make me feel like I was being pressured to present myself a certain way because I was Korean.

Being born in Canada, do you feel the need to stay connected to your Korean roots? Has this changed as you got older?

Absolutely.  Growing up with parents who immigrated from Korea made me naturally feel connected to my Korean roots. From a very young age I found myself to identify strongly as a Korean-Canadian.  As I got older my views on this never really changed.  If anything, now that I have a child of my own, my feelings of staying connected to my Korean roots have only gotten stronger. I would love for my son to learn how to speak Korean as well as English.

Your son is half Korean. How important is it for you that your son identifies himself as a Korean? How will he grow up knowing about his Korean roots?

It’s important to me that my son identifies himself as a Korean-Canadian. From the day he was born he has been exposed to the Korean language and I will continue to speak both Korean and English to him as he grows up.  We took him to Korea when he was seven months old and I plan on taking him to Korea often as he gets older.  I hope by spending time with our family in Korea and being immersed in the culture, he will learn about his Korean roots.

Thank you, Grace for the interview. Not being born in Canada, I was always curious about whether or not being born in Canada made a difference to someone’s connection to one’s heritage. It was very fascinating to hear about your perspective on the importance of staying connected to your Korean roots. If you have thoughts about staying connected to your heritage, please leave a comment.

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