Nov. 11 to 12 was the historic moment in Korea as the host nation for the fifth G20 summit for the first time in Asia.
The summit, successor of G7 and G8 summit in previous decades or so, is a party of leaders of 20 countries who gathered at Washington D.C. in 2008 after the breakout of the financial crisis that spread like an epidemic starting from the U.S.
Korea was named as the host nation for 2010 G20 summit just at the end of the 2009 Pittsburgh G20, promoting herself as the “bridge” between the developed and developing member nations.
For Seoul summit in 2010, head of 20 member nations, five invited leaders and heads of international organizations have gathered in Korea’s capital to discuss the matter of currency problem, full recovery from the recent financial crisis and development plans for developing and under developed nations.
To the globally significant event, COEX, the venue for Seoul summit has prepared a space to host more than 2,000 presses coming from in and out of Korea and many delegates from organizations.
And with such a large event promotion in Korea, university students perfected the smooth proceeding of the event in and out of the venue.
Some thousands of university students were stationed at nearly all subway stations to help translate and guide the ways for foreign correspondents, while more than 500 volunteers were posted inside the venue to help delegates and the press carry out their duties well.
Wearing a light green colored shirts with dark green scarf and a badge that said “Ask Me!” to symbolize the eco-friendly policy in Korea, the volunteers roamed around the area being of a every help to the press.
Sometimes it required them to translate in about 15 languages, and sometimes they needed to guide where to go in the bigger-than-soccer-field press centers, but they surely were professionals who never tired out or were frustrated because they didn’t have the answers.
“I wanted to volunteer to build on my international experiences and also to advertise Korea to the foreigners coming to Korea for the event,” said Ha Mi-yeon (English, 3), one of the volunteers at the central operation room.
G20 became an event that gave a win-win effect to both Korea and university students—effectiveness for experiences.
They never looked worn out or tedious doing their job, but rather looked as if they were enjoying the international event; so did the visitors.
Volunteers also promoted press tour program for the journalists and visited the booths to advertise the program.
At first, people didn’t look so interested, but they asked at least one question after conversation with volunteers.
“Is DMZ (one of hotspots in the press tour program) really interesting to visit?”
All the efforts of the volunteers paid off without any doubt. People might not have gone to the press tour after all, but they definitely made a strong impression to the first-time-visitors to Korea.
There might have been some problems in the technical setups, but all went well and the venue was showed the best of IT-nation Korea as well as its cultural beauty using a humongous screen posted at the international media center which played Korea’s culture documentary repeatedly.
“While working, I could sense that Korea is not the same Korea ten years ago, and it is definitely evolving, fast,” Ha said.
There was the strong atmosphere that at the end of the summit, when all the hard and busy parts are over, someone will ask “So, how was Korea?” and people will definitely say “Great.”