GN Contributor: Kristal Lee

In high school, I felt my untraveled self was more common than not. In college I was no longer the standard. It seemed like every one had traveled, whether it was for leisure or for study, except me. In hearing each tale of unlived international travel, I saw the white glare of a quote from St. Augustine, printed across the navy blue backdrop of our school’s study abroad pamphlet: The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

I was waiting for my turn. I wanted to turn the page.

In the mean time I went to college, worked at several hospitals, created a few corporate health programs for the greater Los Angeles area which later spurred the creation of a university course at my alma mater (University of California, Irvine) and co-authored the first corporate wellness textbook. In my spare time, I brand managed for international designers Mugler, Yurman, Azzaro, Voltaire, Burberry and Jimmy Choo and published a thesis on well-being within the Korean-American context.

In 2012, I became the recipient of a Fulbright grant. And thus I came to Korea as a cultural ambassador.

Of all places in Korea, Gwangju has solidified its place in my heart, and I give my best effort to be more engaged in the community. I helped found and now direct Gwangju’s embassy-sponsored non-profit program The Korea Bridge Initiative, proposed and developed the Health section of the Gwangju News, presented on the topic “Fact or Fiction” on 98.7 GFN in Gwangju, and have worked with North Korean defectors and other student groups.


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