On the Path

Suyeon’s father wanted her to study home economics. He said that learning how to cook and keep house would help her marry well one day. Although she wanted to study social sciences, she agreed to take the course. Suyeon found that what interested her most about home economics was learning about family relationships. “There were so, so many broken families.” That’s when she knew she wanted to counsel families and help others.

Childhood Family Photo 1962. Image courtesy of Suyeon Jin.

After graduation, Suyeon’s father asked her to clerk in the bank that he managed. Suyeon worked at the bank for three years, but left because the work did not excite her. So, she enrolled in the seminary to pursue a Master of Divinity degree. Here, she felt fulfilled, because she “met people and then [she] could care for people, so [she] was very happy.” Feeling she could do more, she returned to school to complete a Master of Social Work and put her new knowledge to work as a counselor at an industrial factory.

Six years later, curious about life overseas, she was on the move again. Initially eyeing the United States, she found it difficult to get a visa as a single woman. A friend persuaded her to come to Toronto. Thus, at the age of 36, Suyeon came to Canada on a student visa. “At that time…everybody goes to the airport to say goodbye…We think we’ll never see each other again.” With all her family gathered at the airport to see her off, Suyeon set off for another country.

Suyeon with her nieces and nephews. 1996. Image courtesy of Suyeon Jin.

Family send off before coming to Canada. 1991. Image courtesy of Suyeon Jin.

Family Photo- New Years Celebration in Korea. Image courtesy of Suyeon Jin.