The Korean connection

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Moving into a new city is always a challenge, but moving into a new country offers even greater challenges.

That is the case for the Korean families moving into the area in advance of Hyundai suppliers that will start up operations here next year. Now, they have help.

Greenville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carol Lee and her assistant, Annie Glenn Branum, assist the new families in making a smooth transition into the area.

&uot;One of the biggest challenges for the families has been communicating with area businesses – doctors, grocery stores or the cleaners,&uot; Lee said. &uot;We have helped put them in contact with the right people and helped them get signed up for basic services, such as telephones, power, water, etc.&uot;

She said English classes are one of the most requested services by the Koreans.

&uot;I think there is a significant language barrier for most of them right now,&uot; Lee said. &uot;We have taken their wives to the Butler County Continuing Education Center and signed them up for English as Second Language classes, which they can take while their children are participating in the Even Start program.&uot;

Other area institutions, such as the Presbyterian Church and Fort Dale Academy, also are offering English as a second language classes.

&uot;Fort Dale’s classes are being held on Tuesday after school, and are open to Korean students and their parents,&uot; she said. &uot;Greenville Elementary offers tutoring services for them also.&uot;

So far the families haven’t requested anything that the chamber couldn’t provide.