As vacation begins, students set goals for the future. However, they have often hard time finding proper activities that can help them achieve these goals. The UOS Times met students who participated in activities offered by UOS and asked them some questions. This article is recommended to students who are considering proper enrichment activities during this year’s winter break.
Volunteer Activities for a Farming Village
From July 23 to July 28, UOS sent volunteers to a farming village, the ginkgo village (or EunhaengMaeul, in Korean) in Boryeong-si, Chungcheongnam-do. “During the planning phase, I discussed what kinds of activities were suitable for participants in the EunhaengMaeul program with the Seoul city community service center. We decided that making autobiographies for seniors and history books about the EunhaengMaeul was meaningful,” said the vice president of the Student Council, Kim Jeong-hyun (Dept. of Science in Taxation, ’12). Kim explained that, since most seniors at the EunhaengMaeul were born in the 1930s, recording their stories about the Korean War was a more meaningful activity than others. Additionally, even though city of Boryeong maintains a historical record of the EunhaengMaeul, it lacks specific details. Besides producing the recording, UOS student volunteers also helped perform chores such as planting chrysanthemums and harvesting chili peppers.
According to Kim, some local people thought there were negative aspects to having student volunteers working in the farming village. In some rare instances, students from other universities got drunk and made loud noises in front of the village hall, apparently forgetting the reasons why they came there to begin with. “I was worried about such deviating students. In contrast to my concerns, students from UOS followed instructions from the seniors and behaved well,” said Kim.
He added, “It is a great chance to make new friends and create good memories. Getting out of the heart of the busy city for few days, I felt relieved and happy. Furthermore, I felt that under-developed rural communities, such as EunhaengMaeul, are becoming more and more isolated from big cities. After experiencing that reality, I discovered how important it is to take care of such villages.” As Kim mentioned, this volunteer program, while providing only 30 hours of work, also allows the opportunity to widen perspectives.
International Summer School
Each summer, the International Summer School (ISS) is held by the Institute of International Cooperation and Education. It is a program which lasts for about a month during the summer vacation. UOS provides a free dormitory room, and students can have the chance to meet and live alongside foreign students. “The point I love most about ISS is living in a dormitory with foreign students. It felt like I was visiting the university as an exchange student myself. While doing activities like traveling to Jeonju and the DMZ, making traditional masks, and dancing to K-pop music, I became more intimate with my foreign friends,” said Sidney Seo (School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, ’15).
The reason for Seo's applying to ISS was due to an interest in communicating with foreign students. This came from his own experience studying abroad in the Philippines. During ISS, even though Seo had fewer problems than others because of his prior experiences abroad, he sometimes still had trouble speaking. To overcome this, Seo memorized appropriate English phrases, which enabled him to speak fluently when similar situations occurred.
“Besides official university events, I also joined parties and just hung out. It was my first time to mingle with them and I learned a lot about my European friends’ habits, too. I think ISS is the best way to spend a worthwhile vacation. It was also a good opportunity to gain volunteer work hours, advance your career, and develop interpersonal communication skills. Do not hesitate to apply!”, said Seo when The UOS Times requested his advice for future applicants. Seo even expressed that ISS was the best experience he had ever had in his whole life.
Besides these programs, UOS offers students many other activities. By checking UOS's homepage announcements on a regular basis, how about preparing for these and other such programs happening during the next vacation?
Seoul City Administrative Internship Program
In May, UOS posted an announcement for an internship program with the Seoul city government administration on its homepage. To apply for this program, students must prepare a letter of self-introduction and a résumé. After the school examines these documents, students must go through a qualifying round by having an interview. Lee Ji-hun (School of Environmental Engineering, '12) talked about how competitive it was, since three students applied for every open internship. Because both the hiring quota and recruiting departments change on a yearly basis, the number of applicants and available internships also varies.
“Although preparing for the internship program was annoying because the interview was scheduled during the exam period, it was also attractive work because this was a good opportunity to experience public affairs before I began my career,” said Lee. On the other hand, Lee said the internship period is too short. This program was carried out from July 7 to August 25 -roughly two months. However, many private firms regard an internship period of at least three months as a viable career step. Therefore, he believes the time period for the Seoul city administrative internship program is rather short.