First Impressions of the UK: ‘Welcome’ means so much to me


My first impression of England when I arrived in 2008 was of all the different faces gathered together living freely. And also looking at newspapers scattered across the streets. Britain was as different as another planet. Before I came, I thought of England as a country of men with top hats and ladies in fancy dresses. But when I arrived at Heathrow, it was very different. When people told me I was in the UK, I was confused. I didn’t know what the UK was – I only knew of England.

When I think of my home country, the two countries do not compare. North Korea is a slave country in the 21st century but England is paradise, so I can’t compare them at all. My life is so different now.

I have lived in the UK for 10 years now. After all this time, I’m most thankful to the UK for “WELCOME.” How many people know the meaning of the word? When I first arrived in England, many English people told me “Welcome to England”. The word ‘Welcome’ means so much to me – it means happiness, love, new challenges, dreams and hopes. If I had not come to England, I would not know what being human means nor freedom. I am really thankful to British people and the Government because they accepted me. I’ve already reached my dreams here.

As I’ve already reached my dreams in the UK, I made a personal ambition: my next dream is making another person’s dream come true. But I will continue to improve my English skills and continue to speak out on North Korean human rights.

Jihyun Park


Connect: North Korea is currently fundraising to establish a Community Centre for North Korean refugees in the UK to help them reach their dreams. Please donate whatever you can to our crowdfunder:

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