When the summer vacation starts, all students are busy planning their free time. There are various things to do during the vacation. Someone who has been harassed by studying might go on a trip with friends and someone who needs money can work a part-time job. For another option, CBNU has sent about 250 students overseas for volunteering every year. While doing volunteer activities, students can experience lots of valuable things. If you want to join this program, you have to check out the following.
Overseas Volunteer Program of CBNU
CBNU holds an Overseas Volunteer Program during both the summer and winter vacation. Students are sent to several countries such as China, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Laos, Vietnam and Nepal. They perform labor service, educational service activities, cultural exchanges and many other activities.
To apply for this program, applicants should be undergraduates and their recent grade point averages must be over 2.75. There are also some preferential conditions for being selected. One of the conditions is receiving a high score on internationally authorized English tests, such as TOEIC. Students who have special abilities or volunteer over 100 hours are also preferred.
The application period for summer season starts in the beginning of March, while the period for winter season starts in the beginning of October. Applicants should submit application forms and grade transcripts and should also pass the interview.
Air fare and expenses for advance preparation are paid through scholarship, but lodging charges and expenses for culture experience in the country should be paid individually.
This summer, two reporters of The CBNU Globe, Park Da-hee and HeoJeong-in, went to China to volunteer for two weeks. Reporter Park volunteered in Hebei University of Economics & Business. Reporter Heo taught Chinese students in Jilin Agricultural Science and Technology College. Let’s see what they learned from this great opportunity.
Reporter Park’s Notes
In China, my team performed in the university, in a middle school, and at the airport. We prepared many performances such as taekwondo(Korean martial arts), Korean
fan dance, samulnori(Korean traditional percussion quartet), and K-pop dances. At the end of each show, all of my team sang together in chorus with many colorful costumes on, like hanboks, uniforms of taekwondo and clothes for samulnori. At that moment, I was really happy to show the audience Korean-style beauty, and I felt a sense of accomplishment sharing our culture with the Chinese through the performances. Before the performance, I thought that most of the audience would be only students and teachers of the school, but it was surprising to have many local residents in the seats of the performance hall. When we were performing K-pop dances, we could capture some audience members who were following our dance. It seemed like we were dancing together! After we finished our performances, many of the Chinese came to us to take pictures and asked how to do taekwondo and how to dance K-pop. Also, some of the Chinese spectators showed us K-pop dances which they might have learned before. Talking with many of the Chinese after the performance, I was surprised that they knew so many more things about Korea than I expected. Even though there was a language barrier and we were meeting each other for the first time, it was a really great opportunity to spread and share our culture.
-Coloring Fingernails with Balsam
Since the old days, Korean girls have colored their fingernails with balsam. We visited a middle school with crushed garden balsam leaves. On the students’ fingernails, we put the balsam and wrapped their fingers in vinyl using threads. We told them to keep the wraps on until we removed them the next morning. On the next day, we removed the wraps and checked that their fingernails had turned to the color of balsam. They were really excited to see their balsam-colored fingernails and we were also excited to see they had enjoyed it.
We made the children animals, flowers and crowns with balloons. When I learned how to make things with balloons before we went to China, I doubted if that would make children happy, but I was wrong. They were so happy with the balloons even though they had to be alert continuously because of popping balloons.
Reporter Heo’s Notes
As my team went to China for educational volunteering, we devoted ourselves to teaching Chinese friends who majored in Korean. All of us were in charge of educating Chinese students one-on-one. Therefore, we could teach them in depth and notice which things they didn’t understand easily. First, we met students in the second grade to prepare the Korean traditional play ‘Heungbujeon’. Since this play would be evaluated for their grades, we felt great responsibility. When we started to read the script for the first time, we were surprised because of their faculties of speaking Korean. They asked questions to us constantly as they tried not to miss even small words, so we asked one of them that how she could speak Korean so well.
“All of us are interested in Korea, and we hope to go to Korea someday,” she said. “For that we learn Korean from K-pop or Korean drama. We love them crazily!”
We were moved by their concern for Korea and their strong will to learn Korean. We were divided into three teams and each team made its own concept of Heungbujeon. Some teams dramatized the scripts and some teams made props. We tried our best to perform the plays for Chinese students and professors. Fortunately, every spectator laughed and enjoyed our acting. All were satisfied with their reaction and did not care about rank.
After the play, we met students in the first grade to help with their presentation for introducing Korean culture. At first, we were frustrated because they could not speak and understand Korean well when compared with second grade. However, their eyes sparkled with the passion of learning. We used English, gestures and even acting if they could not understand our words. It was a really hard time, but when we saw their presentation, we felt proud of them. Only two days were given to them for practicing. However, they read the scripts over and over, so they memorized it all. We were grateful that they had followed us well and introduced our cultural items such as Dokdo and Hangeul so well.
Not only did we teach them, but we practiced writing Korean fonts using the famous Korean poem ‘Jindalaeggot’. We also played Jaenmalnori, a game in which people should read confusing Korean words rapidly, for fun. Through this activity, we corrected their Korean pronunciation. It was a meaningful time in which Chinese students could become much better in using Korean through our educational volunteering. Thanks to their passion for learning Korean, we could be good friends as well as teachers. They always appreciated our teachings, even the small things. We cannot forget their pure smiles or sincerity to us.
We held an athletic meet to introduce Korean games and sports on June 30th. We divided into two teams, white and blue. The first activity was a Korean traditional game, Yutnori. We explained how to play and felt the strain of its many turnovers. The second game was Jegichagi, a Korean shuttlecock game. We were surprised that the Chinese students kicked around a jegi much better than we did. The third game was foot volleyball(jokgu). As it is done only in Korea, boys showed them how to play and girls were cheering each team. Then we did a three-legged race in which pairs of players had their legs bound together. After that we played dodgeball. We played it differently by matching girls with boys. Girls hid behind partnered boys and boys had to protect those girls. It was an exciting and thrilling game. Everybody ran a large amount so our clothes became drenched with sweat. Lastly, we had a relay race. The winner was the white team, but everyone enjoyed the athletic meet and nobody cared about victory or defeat. We were happy to see our Chinese friends’ smiles of joy. It was worth the time for two cultures to meet and become unified through play.
-Korean food tasting
We made Korean foods such as gimbap, tteokbokki, and pajeon with Chinese students on July 7th. They looked interested and when they ate the foods, they gave the thumbs up. We took the foods outside for food tasting. Many Chinese students and professors visited to eat those samples. All of them enjoyed the foods and even asked how to make them and which ingredients were used. Our Chinese friends answered and explained these things to them. We forgot our tiredness while receiving enthusiastic responses and praise. Furthermore, we felt that we had become honorary ambassadors of Korea, so we were proud of ourselves.
<Visiting KOREA in China>
On July 6th, we climbed Mt.Baekdu which is located on the boundary of China and North Korea, to see Cheonji, a natural lake that exists on the top of the mountain. We were worried whether we could see Cheonji, because the weather of Mt.Baekdu changes frequently. Luckily, the day that we climbed the mountain had the best weather of any of the previous days, so we could see the entirety of Cheonji with our mouths gaping at nature’s wonder. The lake was so clear and azure, and the mountain was high and magnificent. It is a very rare opportunity not only to see Cheonji but also to climb Mt.Baekdu, because Korea is separated into north and south. Thus, all of us appreciated to this aspect of the volunteer program.
The next day, we went to Daesung School, which was built in 1912 by independence fighter An Chang-ho. It is a school which trained Korean youths to fight against Japanese domination. We looked around its museum, which exhibited the history of Daesung School and of how our ancestors fought against Japan during theJapanese colonial era. We became solemn while hearing the sad history of Korea and paid reverence to those ancestors.
Some may think that volunteering only includes physical labor which is beneficial to the locals. Nevertheless, the concept of volunteering has changed. Of course, labor services are needed, but they are limited to helping a few people. However, the ripple effect of educational services can spread infinitely and isa more advanced method of volunteering. If you want to do something that helps you develop, why don’t you participate in the overseas volunteer program of CBNU? It will make you a mature member of CBNU.