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How finding a home helped Hee Jin Park have a better understanding of the local culture.

Author: We The Expats
4 Minutes

How finding a home helped Hee Jin Park have a better understanding of the local culture.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Moving to India with her lawyer husband and two kids, Hee Jin Park, originally from Korea, has been living in Gurgaon for the past year. She is the distributor of Unicity in India, producing natural products to help people fight obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol — a career she is passionate about.

It’s really great to hear how passionate you are about you do. What is the process of distribution?

People can order products online. It is like a membership business, when people sign up as members, they can order the product online, and I earn through commissions. My job does not have a lot of restrictions, so my job is mostly raising awareness for health. You know, there is a solution for diabetes, cholesterols, medicines, and I educate people by giving them other alternatives.

Your family is quite multi-cultural, tell us about it!

I met my husband in the Philippines in 1993. I went there to travel and learn English. When you are at a certain age; you can meet people anywhere. Yes, you can meet people you know, in the cafe and you might meet your special person, and I met him in the Philippines, I didn’t plan anything I was one year younger than him. My husband was 27, and I was 26! He was a law student, and we met at the university where I studied English.

Ever since then, we’ve lived in New York, Malaysia, London, Singapore, and now we’re here!

You moved a lot!

Yes, because my husband specializes in internet law and intellectual property, he doesn’t go to court, and it’s more like a business. He specializes in Asia and Europe and businesses like broadcasting games on different channels need to go through the internet law, and he handles that part. He specializes in this type of field as a lawyer, so he can work in any part of the world.

How did you feel before coming here? India is quite different from New York or London.

Honestly, you know, coming to India gave us a lot of concern compared to Singapore. In India, there are a lot of scary things like the number of rape cases that you read on the internet, and then the pollution, and so many other things. I was worried, and one of my best friends in Singapore said it’s one of the worst countries to go. She was telling me about the quality of the air, and it made me worried.
I have five to six air purifiers in my house. I really panicked. Also, I didn’t have any friends when I moved to India. So, the only thing I was doing was watching the news and the TV. For the first three to six months, I couldn’t settle. I wanted to go back to Singapore. At last, we quit the hotel and found this house.
Once we found a house, we started to find our own community and friends. Then I really started getting to know the people in India. They are very lovely. We shouldn’t judge people, and I realized that the people in India are very, very nice. They are willing to be your friend, and they are very kind. Of course, people, you know, every part of the world. There are good and bad people, even in Korea and Singapore. If somebody wants to take advantage, they will do it anyway, it’s not the country. In India, you need to be more aware because we are foreigners and people are really lovely.

Once we found a house, we started to find our own community and friends. Then I really started getting to know the people in India. They are very lovely… Of course, people, you know, every part of the world. There are good and bad people, even in Korea and Singapore. If somebody wants to take advantage, they will do it anyway, it’s not the country.

One difference I see though, is the air and then the environment. You know the living condition in India comes with a lot of limitations. A good thing about India, however, is that people are open whether they are rich or poor. You know, in Singapore I had a group of friends, and we used to get together quite often. We have the same kind of living style, same kind of interests but here in India, people are different, and they have different social, which is very interesting.

With such a vast difference in cultures, between Korea and India, at what point did you realize “Okay, I just have to adapt?”

The first time I moved here, I had my own standards like everything needs to be this way, or that way. Men urinating in public is the worst part. They urinate wherever they want, which is very surprising. In fact, I was frustrated even with small things, but this is part of Indian culture, and everybody grows up in a different way. But after a few months, I go with the culture, you know, this is a different culture, where people have a different lifestyle. So, I need to adapt to their culture.

I was frustrated even with small things, but this is part of Indian culture, and everybody grows up in a different way.

Talk to us about working here. How has your experience been so far?

I’ve realized that being late in India is a very common thing. Even my husband told me they set the meetings and then delay it for one to two hours every now and then. But yes, I would say it depends on person to person. Each person has different goals. And most people, you know, they don’t have a goal, they just live day by day.

Do you think India has changed you?

Yes! It helped me build confidence because when you meet different people in different positions, and from different classes, you have a better understanding of people. One thing I learned in India, everybody’s the same. Everybody wants to get attention from the other person. Everybody wants to be understood. So, I try to understand people.
I learned, whether they’re Korean, whether they’re Indian or Caucasian, once I open my heart to listen, I can communicate with anyone. The church also really helped me to settle down in the community. One more thing I really believe God is real. I’ve been Christian for so long, but now I know he is really real.

It [India] helped me build confidence because when you meet different people in different positions, and from different classes, you have a better understanding of people. 

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