In honor of AAPI Month 2023, GG+A is celebrating members of our team and the ways that they, as Asian Americans, enrich our community with their heritage, insights, and perspectives. Today, meet our Senior Staff Accountant, Eddy Park.
1. What is your cultural heritage? In what ways has your cultural heritage shaped your identity and values?
My family is from South Korea. Because of this, I was able to learn another language while learning English at a young age. Because I grew up in the United States, my parents wanted to make sure I knew my background. Korea has been in many wars, but that is how the country was built. Through sacrifice and suffering, Korea is now where it is today. Korean history goes back thousands of years, and learning about the history and how the country has evolved is simply amazing.
2. What are some distinctions and traditions from your culture that are particularly meaningful to you?
One tradition that has been very meaningful for me is the way we celebrate many different things. In our culture, we are taught to respect our elders. Dead or alive, we always honor them on their birthday and Memorial Day.
3. Who are your greatest influences? Do you have any role models?
My grandmother had the greatest impact on my life. Growing up, while my parents were working, my grandmother would take care of my sister and me. Just hearing stories about the period when she was young gave us a different view of life and showed us how lucky we were. My grandmother lived and survived through the Japanese invasion, World War II, and the Korean War. During this time, she went from being a child to raising 13 children while my grandfather was out fighting in the war.
My greatest role model would be my father. He always had a way of teaching me life lessons, no matter where we were and what we were doing. At a young age, I never understood why he did it, but as I got older, I understood why.
4. What is the best advice you have ever received? What are some words of wisdom that have had the greatest impact on you?
Great opportunities do not come by very often, so when one appears in front of you, take it.
When you fail, don’t give up, but get back up and try again.
5. What do you value most about your heritage?
I value art from Korea. Every piece of clothing, every painting, song, and poem – the artist tells a story within their artwork. From the fine details to the words of the song, the Korean people have taken pride in all they have done.
6. What are some of the ways you celebrate and honor your heritage?
We celebrate Seollal which is the equivalent of the Chinese New Year. All the other holidays we celebrate are the same as [in the United States}; however, we have special first and 60th birthday celebrations.
7. How has your heritage influenced your academic and professional life?
While growing up, my parents would be very strict about studying first and then playing. At the same time, they encouraged my sister and me to play sports and learn instruments. I believe they wanted us to excel academically and develop special skills or learn things they did not have the chance to learn while they were growing up in Korea. This also kept us out of trouble and kept us busy.
My father would always say that to play for one hour, we had to study/work for two hours.
8. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Every Asian culture is different in many ways, but we also share a lot of similarities. Just like Europe, every nation has its own culture and way of doing things. Every Asian country has unique characteristics that are worth learning and experiencing.
Learn more about Eddy and his role at GG+A.