My Intentions

In the summer of 2010, I received a grant from Wellesley College to go photo-document the Korean immigrant community in Buenos Aires. Being a second-generation Korean immigrant myself, I was intrigued by the fact that there were Koreans in South America, and I wanted to see if their experience as immigrants were similar to mine.

In this project, I wanted to capture the old-world feel that still exists in so much of the Korean immigrant community in Buenos Aires. It’s one of unspoken hardships, clandestinity, and nostalgia for a home that no longer exists for them back in Korea. Their lives were an attempt of reproducing what they had known and seen of Korea before they left, and it was strange to see that time had passed them by without much change.  To photo-document this experience was like traveling back in time to a different era– it was like stepping into a parallel universe.

A bit about myself

I’m a Wellesley College undergraduate studying International Relations with a concentration in Political Science. As a second-generation Korean-American, I’m naturally interested in immigrant issues and their experiences. Having lived in both the predominantly caucasian environment of Marin Country and the extremely diverse and multicultural LA region, I’ve understood what it means to be the only one of three Asians in my school, as well as being able to watch Korean films in downtown Los Angeles.


This blog is about a photo project that I will be working on this summer. I received a stipend from my college to photodocument the Korean immigrant communities in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Why these specific groups?

Well, firstly, I’m Korean American, so communicating will be easier. Being a second-generation immigrant, I thought a comparative perspective would be interesting; what is similar and different about their immigrant lives and mine?

But why Argentina?

Well, Argentina, like the United States, is an immigrant nation– and for this reason, I thought it would be interesting to document and contrast a country with a similar experience. As a second-generation Korean American, I have always felt personally attached to immigrant stories, and I hope to be able to learn as well as share some of these experiences with my college, as well as anyone else interested in the subject. In such a world where globalization is highly present– where goods, information and ideas cross borders at high speeds, with growing numbers and with intensity, I think it is important to keep in mind that humans are a part of this vast international transaction.

Anyhow, I received this grant by luck, it seems. Quite frankly, I don’t have any real experience in journalism or photojournalism, but I’m eager to learn and try new things. So this project will definitely be a experiment, if anything. I am also hoping to shadow a few reporters/photographers, or maybe intern at a news agency while there, but I’m not quite sure how that will turn out.

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