She was a bright student who attended the town's mission school and later went to Seoul to attend Ewha College. She graduated from her college with honours, enough so that she was sent to the USA to finish her education. She lived during a time of the Japanese occupation of Korea.
Helen studied with the intent to learn as much as she could in order to fulfill a promise to her father "that she would never forget Korea and would study how to help teach the women of her country". She believed that Kora needed women well educated in a variety of things. She was a bright cheerful girl who liked to have fun, make friends and satisfy her curiousity. She was kind and helpful with those she met.
She became "an educator, stateswoman, churchwoman, and feminist intellectual"
One of the things I found interesting about her, is on the voyage over she was curious all the different foods offered, that she would order different things from the menu every night so she tasted a whole variety of cuisine. I would find it hard to be that brave. :)
Upon finishing her education (getting her doctorate at Teacher's college at Columbia University) she returned home to become a professor at Ewha collage. When the USA entered the war to fight against Japan all the American missionaries had to leave Korea. This left Helen as the leader of the college. She found it a difficult challenge to continue to run the college as a Christian college and not get the Japanese upset with her. She simply didn't leave the college day or night and she kept it open throughout the war.
When ordered to take a Japanese name she chose "Amagi" as meant 'heavenly city' and she wanted that daily challenge to live as a citizen of heaven.
In 1954, Columbia's Korean alumni gathered at a ceremony in Seoul to mark the University's bicentennial. The New York Times reported that Kim, the only women among the 30 attendees, was praised by her fellow alumni "for perpetuating the traditional policy of free inquiry, free speech and free press." (source)
Book: Missionary Heroes