Profile: David Kim (aka “Handsome David”)

David must have a Korean name too (other than “Kim”), but I never asked him about it. He was always just “David Kim” to me. Or just “David.” Or just “buddy.”

He introduced me to Korea. He taught me how to teach at the academy, helped me set up a bank account, showed me how to get around Seoul, got me tickets to some shows, ordered food I couldn’t have tried otherwise, and walked down to the subway station with me almost every evening. We spent a lot of time together that year.

How I met David Kim

I met David the day after I landed in Korea. My boss introduced him to me. He smiled, and I was happy he spoke English.

Who David Kim is

  • Canadian Korean
  • English teacher in Seoul, South Korea
  • One of my closest friends in east Asia

What David Kim likes

  • Sashimi
  • Theater
  • His girlfriend

One fact about David Kim

He worked as a door-to-door salesman in Canada. Just after university (if I remember correctly), he got a job selling vacuums or subscriptions or whatever house to house. He learned all the tricks for getting through the door, since that’s the biggest hurdle in that kind of business.

Talk about stress, though, especially for someone who speaks English as a second language. Imagine, as he put it, “some Asian kid knocking on your door trying to sell… whatever.” But that’s David: willing to give it a go anyway, the kind of guy you might actually let into your home on a cold evening right before dinner just because you like his personality.

One reason I like David Kim

His enthusiasm. I admire his enthusiasm. More than any one else at work, he tried each day to keep his classes exciting, to constantly improve himself, to stay optimistic, to get his students interested in class, to help them work hard, to help his co-workers work hard, and to keep everyone upbeat as we walked home afterward.

One memory I have of David Kim

This is tough because I spent so much time with him in Korea. Probably the most memorable experience was when I got locked out of my apartment. Since I’ve already shared that one, though, I’ll have to go with the time we hosted the speech competition.

The boss decided that he and I would act as hosts for a speech competition, JLS’s Got Talent. So students prepared speeches, gave them, and then he and I would judge how they did. At the end, the students’ voted, and the contestants with the highest scores overall, both from the judges and the students, won.

That part was pretty straight forward. What wasn’t so straight forward was that the contest itself wasn’t going to come anywhere close to filling the amount of time we needed to fill.

So that’s when we broke out our mad entertainment skills. We made up games on the spot, sang some songs, and got the kids to dance. (One of the songs was “In The Secret,” a Christian worship song, which seemed like a good idea ahead of time, but sounded kind of creepy to be teaching a bunch of elementary and middle school students.)

That’s when I realized how fun David is with students, and it rubbed off on me.

David Kim in one word