Hello my name is Arga, I am a Psychology student at Soegijapranata Catholic University. I just finished my 3 months volunteering experience in South Korea. In this good chance, I would like to share my story and experience about volunteering project in South Korea. How do I get this project? Going abroad is one of my biggest dreams, so I am always trying to find opportunity for going abroad. Until one day I found an opportunity from an organization called Dejavato Foundation. The program is called “LOVE Korea” and I decided to apply. Then I had interview with Dejavato and the host country organization, and I’m selected. Then I prepared all the requirements for this program. I felt a little worried because I never going abroad before, but I also felt excited.
My journey began after I arrived in Seoul, South Korea. I met other volunteers, they came from Russia, Germany and Vietnam. I am happy because I got new friends from various countries and finally I reached my dream of going abroad. Before we will go to our project site, we had training for four days. The training was about introducing the project, Korean culture and getting know to each other. We shared our culture, our stories and many more. After the training finished, we are ready to go to our project site. My project is in Muju, a small city located in the middle of South Korea. It takes about 3 hours from Seoul to Muju. I will teach English at an alternative school called Purunkum High School for 3 months. I will work with another volunteer from Russia, and we will be partners during the project. In Purunkum High School there are around 120 students, and they came from various regions.
At the beginning the students in Purunkum high school are still a little embarrassed to talk and interact with me. Some of them are not very fluent in English, so they only said “hai” and go away. But sometimes it looks funny. I work as a volunteer and teach English from Monday to Friday and my working hours per day are around 4 – 5 hours. We teach simpel materials like simple grammar, give new vocabulary and give some games. In the first class we showed presentations about our country. I shared some stories about Indonesia such as culture, food, tourist attractions, batik and many more. Then in the next class we started giving some materials and games. Sometimes it’s a little difficult to teach them, because sometimes they are not interested and lazy to study, but I still enjoy in every activities. In free time, we also participated in other activities. We joined poterry class every Wednesday, in pottery class we made some crafts such as cup, bowl and plate. And after poterry class we went to Children Center to played with the children there. Every Thrusday night I also played badminton with some students. When I had free time I usually played piano, played board games, or just talked with students. On the weekend I have free time, and usually I travel to other cities. I have been to several cities like Seoul, Busan, Gwangju, Jeonju, Daejeon, Muju, Namwon and Suwon. I visited tourist attractions in each citiy with the aim of getting to know more about Korea and its culture. My favorite cities so far are Seoul and Busan.
I really had a good time in South Korea especially in my project site. All of the teachers and the students in my school are really kind and friendly. They made me very welcome during my stay at Purunkum high school. I learnd a lot of new things from this project. Especially I can improve my personality, increase self confident, languange skill, leadership, teaching skill and be more respect for cultural differences. I also improve my social skills, how to interact with people from different cultures, how to live and how to solve problems when you are in another country. The most satisfied point is when I saw students smiling, happy and excited during the class activities. And also when we have time together and playing together. I never ever expect to have this kind of experience in South Korea, I feel really happy and blessed. I met so many people with different background and I’ve learnt a lot from them. For people who want to experience life with local Korean people, learn Korean languange and culture directly in their country and experience teaching in Korea, this project is good for you. Volunteering is not only helping people who got disaster, but there are many more volunteering program with different activities, and also could change the way you think about life. For sure it is for helping other people, but also to build your personality to be a better person. I had many cheerful and awesome moments. I hope I can come back to South Korea and to Purunkum high school in the future.