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Ki Hoon Kim Scholarship Essay

SEOUL -- He commutes in a chauffeured Mercedes, makes more than $4 million a year -- and he's an English teacher.

 Forty-four-year-old Kim Ki-Hoon is a private tutor who is thriving in South Korea's test-score-obsessed, academic-crazed culture. Kim teaches in a "hagwon," or "cram school," part of the $17 billion after-school learning industry.

CBS News was with Kim at the school on a Saturday afternoon; he says studying on weekends is typical.

Kim appears on TV shows featuring "star teachers." His students say his teaching is more engaging -- and practical -- than most. And to show his human -- almost geeky -- side, he'll bust out the guitar.

"I was inspired about his lectures," says 22-year-old Seung Jun-Yang. Seung says a typical school day starts at 7 a.m. and kept him studying past 1 a.m.

 Students cheer on classmates before big exams, in this country where more than 70 percent of kids go to college. Competition is so fierce that parents can be seen praying for their kids' success.

But when asked what the long hours of schooling mean for students, Seung says, "Personally, I think, depression time."

Kim agreed.

"I'm not actually proud of my success," he says. "The other side of the coin is the inefficiency of Korean education."

 Kim says students spend too much time studying the wrong way -- learning lessons by rote that don't apply to real life.

While an international educational poll ranks Korean students at the top for academics, they're at the bottom for happiness. Kim is trying to change that.

"This is my favorite place to be, and I am happiest when I'm teaching," he says.

If we had to guess, going to the bank isn’t too bad, either.

Dr. Ki Hoon Kim, the Continental Chairman of FFWPU North America, then took the stage to share with Unificationists about the interfaith conference from early September as well as the Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) celebration with True Mother. He began by explaining the meaning and traditions of chuseok, which centers on showing appreciation for the elders and ancestors before us. “In this way, America must attend and show appreciation for True Mother,” said Dr. Kim. “This is one of the biggest responsibilities of America.”

Dr. Kim personally showed his appreciation for True Mother during chuseok when he, along with Rev. Buessing, Chairman of Universal Peace Federation (UPF) International Dr. Tom Walsh, and President of UPF International Tom McDevitt sang “Generation of Righteousness” in hanbok, traditional Korean clothing. Dr. Kim said that in response to their undersized Korean attire, True Mother jokingly and endearingly remarked, “Those are hanbok for children.” Dr. Kim’s desire to show appreciation was not just for True Mother, but also toward the Unificationists in America. He encouraged everyone in the audience to share with him their activities for God: “I really want to share with True Parents what American Unificationists are doing,” he said. “Please be proud of your activities.”

 

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