Thirty students of the University of Seoul (UOS) visitedGoryeo Community, Partizansk near Vladivostok,Russia to do volunteer work from June 25th to July10th.
This program is a part of the foreign volunteer activitiesand local experiences, which started in 1999 and registered as aformal cultural study in 2002. NEWS@UOS interviewed Prof.Keum Hi-yeon of the Dept. ofInternational Relations.
The voluntary activities forrural communities were madeup of two Professors, thirty studentsand the SBS Broadcastingteam. Prof. Keum said “Thisexperience was very meaningfulto me.” The Professor who wasdeeply interested in Russia, happenedto read an article abouthelpless children in Goryeo. Hewas surprised that they use theirbare hands for farm work.
For that reason, he decided the nextvolunteer work location for poor children would be Russia.Also, Partizansk, one of the bases of the anti-JapaneseMovement, is a very important area in our history.
After achieving independence, many Korean descendents started tolive in Partizansk as many people had already settled there andcontinued to live.The Professor said that everything was inferior inPartizansk.
However, they repaired almost all of the houses andschools with warm heart because they felt a certain kinship.One of the most impressive experiences was meeting Ahn Ricewho is a relative of Ahn Joong-geun, a righteous freedom fighter.They repapered her room and painted walls. Ahn Joonggeunwas the eminent leader of the national independencemovement but his relative is living poorly.
So the Professor feltsad at this situation. Other than that, they mended the villageassembly hall. “If we had raised 10,000 dollars, they wouldhave got a new community hall. But we couldn’`t.” TheProfessor sighed his grief.In addition, students taught their various skills to residentsin Partizansk school.
They introduced new things such asTaekwondo, acupuncture, facial beauty treatments, photographyetc. Also students performed folk music. Showing themovie ‘TaeGukGi: Brotherhood Of War’ aroused nationalconsciousness. Besides people in Partizansk wanted to take aportrait of themselves wearing Hanbok.
So the Professorbrought 10 sets of Hanbok and printing equipment for them.After finishing taking portraits, he donated them.During the day time, students worked, and at night, theywent to their own home-stayhouses and helped with gardeningand kitchen work.
They talked a lot with the people ofPartizansk about how residentswere deported during Stalin`sreign and what kind of effortsthey made to protect our traditionalculture. Before the lastday, they gave a banquet.Students expressed their affectionthrough their willingness tocook for the residents ofPartizansk and performed a delightful play.
That was the end ofthe volunteer trip.In the near future, the Professor hopes that many studentscan have various cross-cultural experiences through this program.The competition rate was very high. However the Professor said to students who want to participate in the voluntaryactivities for farmers that if you lack a love of challenges,philanthropy and a readiness to accept hardship, you can’t takepart.
If you consider this activity to be like normal foreign travel,you misjudge the value of this program. You should notonly accept foreign culture, but also love their cultures. Whenyou get to love foreign culture, you can truly participate in voluntaryactivities. You can gain maturity for the first timethrough this experience.
Lastly, the Professor said if you wantto take part in this activity, you should have a unique skill, atleast one.Even though this activity was only a short volunteer trip, itwas a meaningful experience for both of the Professor and students.Next are voluntary activities for farmers. The Professorwants to go to unfamiliar regions for these activities.Experience an unforgettable moment with the UOS!