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  • Foreigners Living in Seoul Become True Koreans through Volunteer Work

    SMG 3085
  • Volunteer work at Seoul Global Center is having its heyday, with foreigners living in Seoul feeling a great sense of community and achievement through volunteer work.

    According to Seoul Global Center, the biggest general foreign assistance institution in Korea operated by Seoul Metropolitan Government, they have already recorded 738 volunteer work participants this year, which is a big leap from last year’s 596.

    There are 720 registered volunteers in the Seoul Global Volunteer Group, which, aside from domestic members, has 250 foreign members. They come from more than 40 countries including China (80), US (40), Japan (19), Philippines (12), Taiwan (8), Canada (8), Russia (8), etc.

    To date, foreigners’ volunteer work has been limited to helping the elderly with meals in social welfare institutions and cleaning of facilities, etc.; nowadays, however, it is expanding to global cultural experience instruction posts at care centers, Seoul Metropolitan Government’s foreign language writing environment inspection jobs, and other areas that make good use of the foreigners’ advantage.

    Every second Saturday of the month, foreigners introduce world culture and food to elementary school children and have recreation classes with them in the Samseon-dong Dream Tree Welfare Center. The participation of foreigners from numerous countries is earning favorable responses, since it provides Korean children with natural opportunities to meet foreigners and experience foreign culture.

    Every last Friday of the month, foreigners help the elderly have meals and walk and converse with them and clean the city’s Dongbu Senior Care Center. The elderly react very positively toward the foreigners who come to work on this day, since it is a rare occasion for them to meet foreigners.

    Correction efforts are also very active; a volunteer group of 22 foreigners participated in Seoul Metropolitan Government’s foreign language writing environment inspection in April and corrected 92 cases of erroneous writings on City Hall direction boards, subway direction boards, restaurant menus, etc.

    For their part, foreigners reportedly adapt themselves quickly to life in Korea through such volunteer work and experience a great sense of achievement as well.

    “As a foreigner, I did not have that many opportunities to come across Korean children. By doing volunteer work, however, I was able to see the differences between the Korean and Mongolian educational environments and cultures. It also felt very rewarding to introduce the Mongolian culture to Korean children. I wish to do more various types of volunteer work and meet more Korean people,” said MUNKHZAYA (22) from Mongolia, who currently attends Hansung University.

    With the demand for domestic․foreign volunteer work increasing, Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to expand volunteer work dispatches to Seobu Senior Care Center, Itaewon Station, regional day care centers, and other places requiring volunteer works in the form of talent donation, effort donation, etc.

    Application for and inquiries on volunteer work
    Seoul Global Center Homepage: http://global.seoul.go.kr [Application]
    Seoul City Multiculturalism Division (☎ +82-2-2075-4118) [Inquiry]

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