Korean instructors bring real life experience to classroom

By Natela Cutter

Joosik Choi and Young Shin

MONTEREY, Calif. – Nearly 20 years ago, two young linguists bumped into each other at Army’s Yongsan installation in Seoul, Korea, during a competition then known as the “Language Olympics,” a fun event that military linguists from all over the world would vie to compete in.

Little did they know, after a full career as military linguists they would find themselves working together again, as Korean language instructors at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, employed at almost the exact same time and in the same office as civilian faculty members.

“Back then, I was a Command Language Program Manager and we all supported the brigade command at Yongsang,” said Joosik Choi, sporting a red bow tie and a broad smile. As a CLPM manager, Choi’s duties included taking care of career linguists under his supervision, but also tending to much of the sensitive analysis work that involved using high level Korean.

Both instructors joined the military in the early 1990s, deployed several times, and became warrant officers before retiring.

“I enlisted in the Army from Texas in 1992 and then went on to do various jobs, including working at DLIFLC as a Military Language Instructor from 2001 to 2003,” said Young Shin, who retired in 2014.

(L->R) Joosik Choi and Young Shin

The experience gained in the field and as an instructor, in the case of Shin, is invaluable in the classroom, the benefits of which are yet to be seen; Choi and Shin just began their civilian teaching careers this spring.

“We know how language is used to do their jobs,” explained Shin. “I can give students the right tools to perform their jobs because there are times when I can use my own military background to help them. I really understand their (language learning) problems and can relate to those issues,” said Shin.

“They (students) will get first-hand knowledge, from the strategic to the tactical,” added Choi.

“This is my opportunity to give back and I believe with all my heart that we (as instructors) can do a great job because we really understand them (students). That is why I am here,” said Choi.

Posted Date: 22 September 2018