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TNKR Member Jeff Villa: Finding Opportunity in Adversity

Jeff Villa recently returned to TNKR. He has been a Track 1 tutor, Track 2 speech coach, fundraiser, donor, and event attendee.

He is enthusiastic, the kind of person who tackles life. But as he writes below, life (with the aid of the coronavirus) tackled him back.

--Casey



Finding Opportunity in Adversity 


  "It’s amazing how quickly plans can change.  I was supposed to start a new job this month in Europe, contract was signed, plane ticket reserved, new apartment deposit was paid.  I was also going to wrap up graduate school alongside.  I was happy, excited, anxious to get started.  I was already saying my goodbyes here in Seoul, and my friends had a going away party for me.  I just couldn’t wait to get on the plane and start my new adventure.

  "I woke up one morning and read that Europe was closing their borders to non Europeans just days before my arrival.  Later that day my flight was canceled.  I got a call from the landlord of the apartment I rented saying they need to cancel the contract.  Every hour it seemed like more dominos just kept falling.  The company initiated a hiring freeze, so the job was off the table.  College campus was closed, so the classes I was enrolled in canceled.  Nobody giving me a refund.  Korean visa about to expire.  

  "Fast forward a bit and I am now staying in Korea for another year at least, all previous plans a big question mark.  Admittedly, I wasn’t feeling well.  Not to mention as my plans were falling apart I was stuck alone in my apartment.  Where am I going to refocus all of that energy now?  Feeling like the whole world was against me, it dawned on me to contact TNKR and see what was going on, and sure enough a matching session just around the corner.  I am so thrilled to be back with TNKR and helping these amazing refugees learn English!  The matching session was very exciting, I now have three students!  I thought two would be enough, but this group was so eager to learn, they laid out well defined goals, and expressed a serious desire to study hard, how could I not take a third??  Now I have my work cut out for me, now I have something meaningful and positive to focus on, so I can’t wait to get into it!

  "There is always opportunity in adversity.  TNKR offers such opportunities, not just to the refugees, but equally to the tutors to undertake something truly meaningful in life.  If anyone is experiencing adversity during these difficult times, I encourage you to get involved with TNKR and turn that into one of the most fascinating, unique, and meaningful opportunities you just may ever have." --Jeff Villa
Jeff joining TNKR, April 2018.
Jeff with Thae Yong-ho at a TNKR event in July 2018. Mr. Thae recently became the first North Korean defector to be elected to South Korea's National Assembly.


Jeff with TNKR student and author Sungju Lee. Jeff won a free copy of Sungju's book by having the most successful fundraiser in his Matching session group.


Jeff (sitting next to me) was also a speech coach for a special contest TNKR helped facilitate for the Hana Foundation in 2018.


Support TNKR: www.lovetnkr.org/donate

Jeff Villa's fundraiser for TNKR: https://give.lovetnkr.com/en/fundraisers/Donate-to-help-North-Korean-refugees-learn-E

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