Legacy Project: Jin Young Choi

Category: FirstGen, Legacy Project, Original Video, Video


For this week’s #LegacyProject, we interview Jin Young Choi, the first person to ever receive a Fulbright Scholarship from Korea. Jin Young was born in 1937 in Manchuria which was also under Japanese occupation at the time. After celebrating the end of the occupation, her family moved back to their native country, Korea, but soon she witnessed the Korean War breaking out.

In this Legacy Project, Jin Young recalls the extreme difficulties her family faced during the war and having to watch her mother bury her youngest sister, but also how her mother continuously encouraged her to focus on her education. She ended up becoming not only the first person to get a Ph.D. in English Literature from Seoul National University but also the first Fulbright Scholar from Korea. In 1961 when the Fulbright Commission reopened after the war, Jin Young was selected to study at the University of North Carolina for graduate school.