Chasing Philanthropic Deeds this Winter by Volunteering Overseas
Chasing Philanthropic Deeds this Winter by Volunteering Overseas
  • 임리영 기자
  • 승인 2005.11.30 00:00
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▲ Both photo by Lim Rhie-young Before holding the sports carnival, student volunteer workers from Korea talk to elementary school students about Korean culture in Cambodia. (Left)An Asia Foundation representative talks about opportunities for community service abroad.(Right)

   After college students are finished with their long-dreaded yet almost cathartic encounter with finals, a whole three months of jolly winter break awaits them. During this golden period, students often use the time to go on road trips abroad, enhance their foreign language skills, or intern at well-known organization. Nowadays, however, more and more students are participating in volunteer service programs abroad. These volunteer programs give opportunities for students to travel and learn the indigenous languages and cultures of another country and, at the same time discover the reality of the humanitarian goals nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) promote in communities under destitute circumstances.
   Numerous students apply for these volunteer positions abroad. Nonetheless, as there are always two sides to a coin, both positive and negative aspects exist to volunteer service abroad.
   ◆Volunteering Services Hosted by Domestic NGOs
   Perhaps the best known domestic NGO that sponsors students to volunteer abroad is Korean Pioneers in Overseas NGOs, Inc (KOPION). KOPION is registered with the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. According to the president of KOPION, the NGO dispatches volunteers to overseas NGOs carrying out community development projects in developing countries. During the summer and winter break, most students participate in the short-term overseas volunteer program.
   Jang Baek-sun (International Studies, 2), who participated in the volunteer program hosted by KOPION last summer, went to the Philippines for about seven days. There, student volunteers helped reconstruct a small elementary school located in the countryside. ?lthough the volunteer service was sheer labor and hard work, I still felt the fulfillment of helping enhance the lives of people less privileged,?said Jang. She also enjoyed her home stay at a Filipino teacher? house, where she could learn both the culture and values.
   ?he one disappointment Jang had with the program provided by KOPION was that it did not have any budget transparency. ? paid about 1.1 million won to participate in the program but I really had no idea how the money was being used throughout the event,?said Jang.
   On the other hand, according to Jang, Good Hands for Global, a Buddhist NGO which has an agenda very similar to KOPION?, provided a more effective program for students. ?his volunteer service program not only provided a transparent system for letting participants know where the money was flowing, but also a truly exhilarating cultural exchange, which the students really liked,?said Jang who visited Cambodia through the program. Throughout the program, the student volunteers held cultural events such as sports carnivals. Also the volunteers were in charge of giving out food, water and basic necessities to Cambodian citizens.
   ◆Volunteer Services Hosted by International NGOs
   The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) host various work camps for students all over the world. When volunteering with UNESCO, each student works with a particular NGO in the country that she/he visits for two to three weeks. Usually the students help with field work, school construction, preventing environmental pollution, and protecting the cultural heritage of the nation that they go to. Shin Eun-jung (International Studies, 2) who attended a work camp this summer in a small village called Ranong in Thailand worked with an NGO called Green Way which conducted tsunami relief projects. ? made crab cages for the Thai people and helped with crab farm work while I was there. Also, I went on rallies against AIDS,?says Shin. In the process of applying for the work camp, Shin had to wait a week to receive an answer from an NGO in the country that she wished to work with. ?hat process was a little tedious but, other than that, it was a meaningful experience. Also, my friend and I were the only Koreans in the volunteer service program and we were able to mingle with people our age with diverse backgrounds,?comments Shin.?
   ◆Global Community Service and Professional Career
   With the opening event of the Global Career Management Center at Ewha Graduate School of International Studies, a workshop entitled ?lobal Community Service and Professional Career?was held on November 23 for students. The workshop mainly focused on introducing overseas volunteer programs and careers related to community service.
   The representative from Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Choi Won-suk, talked about the overseas volunteer opportunities for students. KOICA seeks more women workforce to participate in projects. as a mutual business cooperation agreement with Ewha was signed on July 20.

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