Posted by : VANITY Blog Tuesday, 4 March 2014




Today's TED Talk is by Hyeonseo Lee, who was born in North Korea. When she was younger, she thought that her country "was the best in the world". However, when she was 14, there was a period of terrible famine in North Korea. To survive, she escaped to China to be in company of her distant relatives.

There, her life was put to danger when she was brought by the Chinese police to a station for interrogation. Since North Korean refugees are considered in China as illegal migrants, she was very close to being imprisoned or repatriated. Thankfully, she was able to answer all the questions calmly and was let go. The years that followed were spent covering her real identity from the Chinese officials. After 10 years of doing this, she decided to take another risk by going to Seoul, South Korea.

There, she greatly struggled to adjust with her new life, confessing that she even experienced identity crisis. As she was trying to cope up with her life in Seoul, she received a call saying that the North Korean authorities intercepted the money that she had sent to her family. You won't believe what happened next..

Watch Hyeonseo Lee tell her riveting story about escape that inspires hope, bravery, and persistence:




Favourite quote from the talk: "I lost all hope. At that moment, I heard one man's voice ask me, 'what's wrong?' I was so surprised that a total stranger cared enough to ask." [...] I realized that the kind stranger symbolized new hope for me and for the North Korean people when we needed it most."

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Vancouver Immigrant Youth (VANITY) Blog is an online space made for youth, by youth. Here, you will find stories and experiences written by youth immigrants who once felt how challenging it was to be a newcomer in Vancouver. If you are a newcomer in Vancouver (or anywhere in Canada), we hope to give you all the resources you need to feel comfortable in this country. We hope to give you tips and advices on how we adjusted to our lives here as youth immigrants. Through this site, we want to empower you to bring out your full potential.

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