Stranded in a South Korea

Daniel Shin stuck in S. Korea after fall trip


Daniel Shin

Shin observes the view from his grandparent’s house in South Korea. Shin has been in Korea since the beginning of fall break, and was unable to return home due to problems with his travel documents. He is expected to return home at the start of the second semester.

Molly Ogden, Staff Reporter

Three months of no responsibilities would seem like three months of heaven on earth to most people. For junior Daniel Shin, the next few months looks more like a three month sentence than a three month paradise.        

Shin had the opportunity to visit his extended family in South Korea over fall break, but due to an unexpected turn of events, he was unable to return home, leaving him stuck in South Korea until further notice.

Via Skype, Shin spoke with members of The Precedent staff, commenting that “I came here on a travel document. When I was at the airport, I just showed them my travel document to come back into the country, but when the lady checked it, she said it was expired and so I was basically stuck here.”

Shin was not the only one affected though. His mother, Ann Kim, remarked, “I was shocked when Daniel called me from the airport. It’s horrible not being able to see your son.”

Prior to fall break, Shin was a part of the STEM program, was enrolled in 6 AP courses and participated in Perry’s top Chamber Orchestra. Due to the district’s absence policy as well as the rules of the Perry STEM program, Shin was unfortunately dropped from the program.

Shin explained, “I’ve been talking to my counselor, but he basically said that since I am going to be out of the country and none of my classes are offered online, that he doesn’t have a definite solution for me.”

STEM counselor Fred Mann commented that “although there are AP classes online, some of [Daniel’s] classes are not available because he has some super high level classes.” Mann continued that “it is not like he’s just been dropped from the STEM program. He’s been dropped from school.”

Shin and his lawyers anticipate his clearance back into the United States to be around early January, just in time for the beginning of the second semester.

Despite his situation, several teachers were able to recognize the hard work and perseverance in all Shin does. Moon commented, “I notice that he seems to take on a lot of stuff, which is kind of a strain sometimes, but he really works hard to try to manage it all.”

Orchestra director Dr. Alex Zheng echoed his praise of Shin’s talents. Zheng commented that since his freshman year, Shin was “twice selected for All State. That is a big deal because it is all based on audition. If he would have been here, it would have been his third time.”

Daniel’s mother knows that this is a time of stress for Shin, but her advice to him what this: “I told Daniel to take this time to learn about his roots in Korea, to learn how to write and read Korean, and to meet his father’s friends and family. Daniel has been very curious about his father’s life in Korea [because] he passed away when Daniel was 13. His situation will be beneficial later in life if he comes out a better, more rounded, more experienced person.”

Shin is still learning even though he is not in school. He commented, “I have learned about both of my grandfather’s service to the county. My grandfather on my mom’s side was a politician who served four terms, and my grandfather on my dad’s side was the principal of the main Naval Academy here in Korea. I also reconnected with many family friends.”

Although Shin will be missing out on a large portion of his education this semester, there is hope yet that he will still succeed academically throughout the rest of his high school career.