My father works in a construction company. He usually wakes up early and returns home very late. When I was young he was so busy during the weekdays that I almost felt abandoned. Sometimes, I would tell him how I felt.

But then I would get the same speech about how the sweat and blood of hardworking Koreans like him made Korea rise from the ashes of war and hunger 50 years ago to become the world's 10th largest economy, hosting global sports events like 1988 Olympics and 2002 World Cup.
Just like my father said, Korea's diligent, hard-working quality is known around theworld.

These days however, more families are starting to enjoy their weekends    together traveling and doing other activities thanks to the government's      5-day work week program.

Korean mothers are very passionate about their children's education. My mother is no exception. Some mothers insist on moving to neighborhoods with good schools while others send their kids to hagwon or hire private tutors.

This is all so their kids can get into prestigious universities.
Some mothers go too far pushing their kids to get good grades and even cause some social problems as a result.
Still, many world experts believe it is zealous Korean mothers
who are behind Korea industrializing, democratizing and
embracing the information age faster than any other country.

Mom told me human resources are the most important asset
in a country without natural resources.
Although I, too get tired of my mom's nagging me to study harder, I also know I want to be a skilled professional when I grow up.

My brother is a computer programmer. He's glued to a computer day and night. It will be a very familiar sight once you visit Korea. That's because once you enter Korea you will constantly be surrounded by people talking endlessly on their cell phones, listening to music flowing from MP3 players as small as accessories and surfing the Net with ease on notebooks and mobile phones with wireless Internet connections, anyplace, anywhere. Lately, I see more and more people watching satellite channels through their mobile phones.

Only a decade ago, no one would've thought that was possible in this country. I think it’s Koreans' interest in new things and eagerness to adapt to an ever-changing environment that contributed to making Korea the world's most wired nation. You should see how proud my brother is to be born in a country with a great communications infrastructure.

Korea's education system includes six years of elementary school and three years each for middle and high school before college. I'm in high school right now, and it’s an important stage of my life because this is when I decide where I want to go and what to study. My dream's to become a diplomat one day. It’d be so exciting traveling around the world promoting my country. For now, I'm a VANK volunteer. VANK is an Internet site that provides accurate facts about Korea to overseas Koreans and foreigners who want to know more about the country through e-mails. We also arrange meetings between Korean and foreign schools and correct any mistakes found in the World Wide Web concerning Korea. I am one of the teenage diplomats there.

The Republic of Korea in the 21st century aims to become a center of Asia, a gateway to Northeast Asia and at the same time a friendly nation that shares a common dream and partnership with the world. To realize that dream my country will need my help as well as VANK's. We will continue with our exchanges with other countries and spread true facts about Korea around the world.

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