|When Um Hee-jun went to Vietnam|
Have you tried volunteering? Today, I met Um Hee-jun who received ‘A model of Korea Volunteering Award’
Q: Hello! Can you introduce yourself, briefly?
Um: I’m a 4th year student in the Department of Business Administration. I often read the Campus Journal including the previous issue. I feel honored to be published!
Q: I heard that you won an award with overseas volunteer programs as a representative! What kind of program was it?
Um: I went to Vietnam with about 20 students, which the Student Affairs Department hosted. The town where we went was a rich town compared to others but it was really hard to find a house equipped with toilets. All people had to relieve themselves in the lake, so every family lived in poor surroundings. Therefore, what we did was build toilets.
Q: How did you get the award as a representative among about 20 students?
Um: What I did was just lifting heavy luggage and running errands but all my friends started to call me ‘Leader Um’. The nickname made me feel more responsibility and I thought, “What can I do for the teachers in charge in Vietnam?” Therefore, I visited all students and checked if someone was sick in the morning. Teachers considered this good, so I think I could be the representative to receive the award.
Q: Do you have any episodes you remember the most?
A: There were many cute kids in Vietnam. There was a girl who regarded us unfamiliar in my village. Whenever I tried to talk to her, she ran away from me. As time passed, it was the last day of my staying. She visited me for the first time. I conveyed, “I will leave tomorrow and hope you stay beautiful.” What surprised me was that she cried. Because I never expected that she would be sad, I was heartbroken. The mother and father in the house that I stayed also cried. This is what I remember the most.
Q: You must have had an uneasy mind when leaving them.
A: Certainly. This is also the most meaningful program that affected my path and life.
A: How did it affect your path and life?
Um: I’m preparing to enter banks. When I saw Shinhan Bank in Vietnam, I was so surprised. I got to know that a number of local banks are being judged for the overseas expansion. I thought that if I work in Vietnam, even though it’s so small, my help can be meaningful. I cannot make institutional improvements but the bank in Vietnam is in the developmental stage, so there, my help will certainly be useful.
Q: It seems you participated in a lot of volunteering programs. What prompted you to do so?
A: When think when we hear ‘volunteer’, it is easy to regard this as giving hands to others worse off than us. However, I got more from the people I helped. I learned the real meaning of volunteering after the mentoring in the 1st year of university. It was teaching school subjects to low-income elementary students. The kid that I met always laid down flat on the table whenever she felt uncomfortable. I didn’t know why and asked many times but I couldn’t figure out why at the end of the program. After the program, I got a photo and letter from her. I kind of disliked her at that time but when I read it after discharging; I felt a lump in my throat. From that time, I started volunteering in programs steadily.
Q: Can you recommend any voluntary activities?
A: Umm.. All the voluntary activities are meaningful but what I want to recommend the most is that I assisted a Nanta and play in KungNam Rehabilitation Center for the Disabled. As I was a member of the theater club, I thought that there will be much I can do to help. We aimed at 2014 year-end performance at that time. Most people say, “We have to consider and help the disabled,” but by extension, when they communicate with the handicapped and achieve common plans, their saying must have more responsibility. I want as many students as possible to have a brush with these great experiences not taking too seriously.
Seo Su-jin,reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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