Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Trezawnah Gordon rising to higher heights

Published:Thursday | February 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Trezawnah Gordon speaks after winnning a pageant at her graduate school in South Korea.
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MORANT BAY, St Thomas:

The parish of St Thomas rejoices whenever one of its own beats the odds and climbs the stairway of greatness.

And though Trezawnah Gordon recently moved to the parish, she is just as celebrated.

Gordon is one of two Jamaicans who were granted full scholarships to complete their masters in Daegu, South Korea early last year.

"I saw the ad on Facebook three days before the deadline. I had to write two essays and complete an application form as well as provide two references. I was shortlisted to top eight," she said, adding that she was selected as a recipient following an interview.

Though she admits that she was a bit nervous to be in an environment completely different to what she is used to, Gordon says things turned out better than she expected.

"Before coming here, I watched over 100 vlogs and read about the same amount of blogs to try and get an idea of what life was like here, and I got mixed reactions, some of which were very bad. Therefore, I mentally prepared myself for the worst case situation. But it's been an awesome experience; most of the people are extremely helpful and kind. Even when it is difficult to communicate at times, they still try to help. And it helps that I am Jamaican. Daegu has a certain love for Usain Bolt, which has been passed on to the Jamaicans, apparently," she laughed.

Gordon has so far completed approximately a year of study and is pleased to reveal that she has been doing really well.

"My major is public policy and leadership. My economics background has proven to be very helpful and the courses offered have given me some good insight on the Korean economy and their rapid development. I now have an understanding of how it is Korea was able to grow so quickly and become one of the top 10 economies in the world after being so poor 50 years ago," she shared.

 

Changed mindset

 

The 28-year-old, who was a teacher of economics at the Morant Bay High School, told Rural Xpress that if given the chance to put into practice what she has learnt in South Korea, then she will be able to spark growth in the parish.

"My experience here has had a very big impact on my understanding and outlook on development. Learning about how the people here were able to come together with no resources besides human resource and change their country from one of the poorest in the world to now being one of the top 10 economies, a major part of this was due to the changed mindset and the cooperative and self-help nature of the people. This has shown me that you can achieve anything you want to if you work hard towards it," she said.

"School is good and the grades are up, but all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I have taken every opportunity that has presented itself for me to immerse myself into the Korean culture. Because of the diversity of my grad school, I'm able to meet people from approximately 40 different nationalities including Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. I have a great opportunity to network.

One thing that I have had to get used to, though, is the constant stares and people wanting to touch me.

South Korea is still relatively homogeneous and many people haven't had much contact with a lot of foreigners and especially black people, so they stare and want to touch and take pictures with you. That took some getting used to," she said.

Gordon, who, based on her grades and co-curricular involvement has been offered an internship opportunity for the next semester told Rural Xpress that she is very grateful.

"I have no regrets at all. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to obtain a master's degree on a full scholarship while being able to learn an entirely new culture halfway across the world. I couldn't ask for anything else.

And surprisingly, the academic and administrative staff has been quite understanding of my religious beliefs (SDA) though. Prior to me coming here, they had no idea such a denomination existed, which makes this opportunity even more special because I have been able to minister to people," she said.