KMU Focus

Sungkok Global Volunteer holds first overseas volunteer service program in Laos

  • 15.07.29 / 박차현

 

Exploring other countries is definitely the most preferred activity among university students since it can be a chance for them to learn and enjoy something new away from their own familiar culture. There are Kookmin*People who are able to share their precious time and communicate Korean culture, in addition to learning other cultures. Through the Sungkok Global Volunteer (SGV) program, 19 Kookmin*People including Team Manger Jong-hun Jeon (Class 2011, Sports, Health, and Rehabilitation Department of Physical Education) rendered volunteer services in Laos. There, they joined university students from Soongsil University, Dongguk University, and Sejong University. For 13 days from January 7th to 19th, they experienced school building construction for the children in Laos and also cultural exchange. Through a photo exhibition, the Kookmin volunteers’ experiences and worthwhile adventures were showcased. Let us now find out more about their overseas volunteer experience.

 

 

Q. The team name ‘A Step Forward, IRIORAO (which means come closer in Korean)’ sounds interesting. Is there any particular reason why you chose this name?
The overseas service activity in Laos was undertaken together with students from other universities. The students were then divided into teams and the team name should have a sense of unity. The team name of Kookmin University was ‘A Step Forward, IRIORAO’ which combined well with Laos. I thought this name appropriately reflected the pioneering spirit shared with new people under new environment.

 


▲ Location of Oudomxay in Laos. This area is considered to have poor surroundings even in Laos.

Q. Oudomxay in Laos sound unfamiliar. Why did you conduct service activities in Oudomxay instead of any other place?
Oudomxay is surrounded with poor environment, without any facility to accommodate students in Laos. So there were many students in Laos who gave up studying or commuted to distant schools. Since the children studying in Oudomxay live in a weak building made from wood, a sturdy school building was needed. Accordingly, Kookmin University, in alliance with Myongji University and Sejong University, rendered overseas volunteer services in Oudomxay, Laos to construct a school building.

 


▲ The school building was constructed in this order: soil compaction, column building, and brickwork.

 

Q. You said you participated in various activities like school building construction and cultural exchange. It seems that school building construction required much physical labor. Tell us how it went and how challenging it was.
For the school building construction, a specific type and amount of work was assigned to each university. The first team completed basic work like soil compaction and banking, while the second team performed column building and brickwork. Lastly, the third team finished painting work. The IRIORAO team was assigned as the second team. We packed and compressed soil that became the foundation of the school building and then we laid bricks after building the columns.

 

 


▲ The students of Kookmin University who worked together with the second team
from Dongguk University for school building construction

 

Since constructing a school building demanded physical labor, it was really challenging. The time when we did the work was not rainy season in general but unexpectedly, it rained for two days. We had limited time to work so we just did our best. We carried soil after shoveling, pasted cement, and laid heavy bricks. These types of work were hard to do even if I am a healthy man.

 


▲ Although school building was hard work, the volunteers successfully accomplished it
with the support of team members and children.

 

Actually, there were more female than male members in IRIORAO. But no one complained about the hard work. I really appreciated that. Some female members even took shovels from the males so they can share the tough work. Also, there were female members who carried a very heavy container with soil. Although it was tough, we enjoyed the spirit of service and we pushed through the hard work by thinking of the Laos children who will safely study in the new school building.

 

 

Q. Wow! The children in the photos look like real angels. How did you spend your time with the Laos children?
We not only managed to build the school building, but we also spent time sharing our culture with the Laos children. While playing with the children who enjoyed k-pop singing, colored paper folding, jumping rope, face painting, and Korean language classes, we also performed cultural entertainment. We were able to conduct cultural exchange with the children of Laos.

 


▲ Various activities like colored paper folding and face painting were offered
in the cultural exchange sessions.

 

What I observed while communicating with the Laos children was that they were really ‘beautiful.’ The school building construction was dangerous to the children as sharp nails and hard bricks were used. Regardless of danger, they helped us construct the school building. They looked really pure and innocent. At the end of the construction work, the construction site was packed with 150 ~ 200 people who worked together.

 


▲ There was allotted time to taste the exotic foods and visit interesting places in Laos.

 

Q. I heard that you were given some time to freely tour the downtown of Laos. Is there any special place or activity that you want to mention?
In the free exploration time, we walked downtown with our friends and acquaintances without having any particular schedule. There were many places and activities to enjoy like the Mekong River, intimate restaurants, and the vibrant night market. I especially enjoyed touring the town by renting a bicycle which cost about 1 ~ 2 USD. We were able to sample delicacies that are hard to find in Korea such as lamb chops and tropical fruit juices at cheap prices.

 


▲ The photo exhibition of SGV program was held for two days on March 3rd and 4th
on the first floor of the Administration Hall.

 

Q. The photo exhibition was held at the Administration Hall on March 3rd and 4th. What did you want to share through the photo exhibition?
I think there are not many opportunities provided to Kookmin University students to participate in volunteer service programs. Except for briquette sharing event and volunteer activities for rural communities, not many people are aware of voluntary service activities. Since we want to introduce the SGV program and encourage students’ further participation in it, we planned and held the photo exhibition. Aside from the photo exhibition, we produced a video and booklet of volunteer activities to help other students understand what we do.

 

 

Q. Lastly, is there any message that you want to share with Kookmin*People who consider rendering overseas volunteer services?
While participating in the volunteer service program, I personally met many people with diverse backgrounds. Among them, there were some students who wanted to render voluntary service as a means to expand their horizons or who just wanted to experience traveling to foreign countries. But if you participate in the program in order to truly help someone, there will be much more to gain than just experience or personal achievement. Any Kookmin*People who want to serve the innocent angel-like children will have unforgettable and life-changing experiences.

Through the SGV program, Kookmin*People who participated in the overseas volunteer service program in Laos were able to genuinely share their assistance to people in need. Their experiences captured through the photos and stories were very hard and challenging. Some wanted to give up due to the heavy physical labor required; however, they were able to persevere and find deeper meaning of sharing with their team members. The colorful painting of the faces of Laos children is still in the possession of Kookmin University students who witnessed the angel-like smiles of the Laos children.

 

- Web journalist, PR Team

Kookmin Review Won-seok Choi 이메일

Sungkok Global Volunteer holds first overseas volunteer service program in Laos

 

Exploring other countries is definitely the most preferred activity among university students since it can be a chance for them to learn and enjoy something new away from their own familiar culture. There are Kookmin*People who are able to share their precious time and communicate Korean culture, in addition to learning other cultures. Through the Sungkok Global Volunteer (SGV) program, 19 Kookmin*People including Team Manger Jong-hun Jeon (Class 2011, Sports, Health, and Rehabilitation Department of Physical Education) rendered volunteer services in Laos. There, they joined university students from Soongsil University, Dongguk University, and Sejong University. For 13 days from January 7th to 19th, they experienced school building construction for the children in Laos and also cultural exchange. Through a photo exhibition, the Kookmin volunteers’ experiences and worthwhile adventures were showcased. Let us now find out more about their overseas volunteer experience.

 

 

Q. The team name ‘A Step Forward, IRIORAO (which means come closer in Korean)’ sounds interesting. Is there any particular reason why you chose this name?
The overseas service activity in Laos was undertaken together with students from other universities. The students were then divided into teams and the team name should have a sense of unity. The team name of Kookmin University was ‘A Step Forward, IRIORAO’ which combined well with Laos. I thought this name appropriately reflected the pioneering spirit shared with new people under new environment.

 


▲ Location of Oudomxay in Laos. This area is considered to have poor surroundings even in Laos.

Q. Oudomxay in Laos sound unfamiliar. Why did you conduct service activities in Oudomxay instead of any other place?
Oudomxay is surrounded with poor environment, without any facility to accommodate students in Laos. So there were many students in Laos who gave up studying or commuted to distant schools. Since the children studying in Oudomxay live in a weak building made from wood, a sturdy school building was needed. Accordingly, Kookmin University, in alliance with Myongji University and Sejong University, rendered overseas volunteer services in Oudomxay, Laos to construct a school building.

 


▲ The school building was constructed in this order: soil compaction, column building, and brickwork.

 

Q. You said you participated in various activities like school building construction and cultural exchange. It seems that school building construction required much physical labor. Tell us how it went and how challenging it was.
For the school building construction, a specific type and amount of work was assigned to each university. The first team completed basic work like soil compaction and banking, while the second team performed column building and brickwork. Lastly, the third team finished painting work. The IRIORAO team was assigned as the second team. We packed and compressed soil that became the foundation of the school building and then we laid bricks after building the columns.

 

 


▲ The students of Kookmin University who worked together with the second team
from Dongguk University for school building construction

 

Since constructing a school building demanded physical labor, it was really challenging. The time when we did the work was not rainy season in general but unexpectedly, it rained for two days. We had limited time to work so we just did our best. We carried soil after shoveling, pasted cement, and laid heavy bricks. These types of work were hard to do even if I am a healthy man.

 


▲ Although school building was hard work, the volunteers successfully accomplished it
with the support of team members and children.

 

Actually, there were more female than male members in IRIORAO. But no one complained about the hard work. I really appreciated that. Some female members even took shovels from the males so they can share the tough work. Also, there were female members who carried a very heavy container with soil. Although it was tough, we enjoyed the spirit of service and we pushed through the hard work by thinking of the Laos children who will safely study in the new school building.

 

 

Q. Wow! The children in the photos look like real angels. How did you spend your time with the Laos children?
We not only managed to build the school building, but we also spent time sharing our culture with the Laos children. While playing with the children who enjoyed k-pop singing, colored paper folding, jumping rope, face painting, and Korean language classes, we also performed cultural entertainment. We were able to conduct cultural exchange with the children of Laos.

 


▲ Various activities like colored paper folding and face painting were offered
in the cultural exchange sessions.

 

What I observed while communicating with the Laos children was that they were really ‘beautiful.’ The school building construction was dangerous to the children as sharp nails and hard bricks were used. Regardless of danger, they helped us construct the school building. They looked really pure and innocent. At the end of the construction work, the construction site was packed with 150 ~ 200 people who worked together.

 


▲ There was allotted time to taste the exotic foods and visit interesting places in Laos.

 

Q. I heard that you were given some time to freely tour the downtown of Laos. Is there any special place or activity that you want to mention?
In the free exploration time, we walked downtown with our friends and acquaintances without having any particular schedule. There were many places and activities to enjoy like the Mekong River, intimate restaurants, and the vibrant night market. I especially enjoyed touring the town by renting a bicycle which cost about 1 ~ 2 USD. We were able to sample delicacies that are hard to find in Korea such as lamb chops and tropical fruit juices at cheap prices.

 


▲ The photo exhibition of SGV program was held for two days on March 3rd and 4th
on the first floor of the Administration Hall.

 

Q. The photo exhibition was held at the Administration Hall on March 3rd and 4th. What did you want to share through the photo exhibition?
I think there are not many opportunities provided to Kookmin University students to participate in volunteer service programs. Except for briquette sharing event and volunteer activities for rural communities, not many people are aware of voluntary service activities. Since we want to introduce the SGV program and encourage students’ further participation in it, we planned and held the photo exhibition. Aside from the photo exhibition, we produced a video and booklet of volunteer activities to help other students understand what we do.

 

 

Q. Lastly, is there any message that you want to share with Kookmin*People who consider rendering overseas volunteer services?
While participating in the volunteer service program, I personally met many people with diverse backgrounds. Among them, there were some students who wanted to render voluntary service as a means to expand their horizons or who just wanted to experience traveling to foreign countries. But if you participate in the program in order to truly help someone, there will be much more to gain than just experience or personal achievement. Any Kookmin*People who want to serve the innocent angel-like children will have unforgettable and life-changing experiences.

Through the SGV program, Kookmin*People who participated in the overseas volunteer service program in Laos were able to genuinely share their assistance to people in need. Their experiences captured through the photos and stories were very hard and challenging. Some wanted to give up due to the heavy physical labor required; however, they were able to persevere and find deeper meaning of sharing with their team members. The colorful painting of the faces of Laos children is still in the possession of Kookmin University students who witnessed the angel-like smiles of the Laos children.

 

- Web journalist, PR Team

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