From January 7th to February 5th, 2020, a short-term overseas education service group of 20 Seowon University Students traveled to East Timor. The service group was run by the Ministry of Education National Institute for International Education. 20 of East Timor volunteers have spent six months. Prior to going to East Timor, they received education in the local language, math, and science classes. To learn about the trip, two of the service members Hyeon Sung Lee, and So Young Eom shared their experiences with The Seowon News.
- Experience of Hyeon Sung Lee, Major: Department of Hotel Cooking
I was really excited when I first learned through service about the opportunity to travel to East Timor. It was a country that I didn’t know well so I researched and learned about it as much as I could. While preparing for the service, I looked for various information and studied the local language. Our volunteer group worked hard to provide a 1-month teaching service in the subjects of science and mathematics.
Shortly after arrival, we conducted education service at two schools, EBC Tirilolo and EBC Vilanova. It was very difficult because I had to teach classes in two subjects, math and science. I also had a lot of trouble because I had to teach in the local language, and the subjects were not even related to my major. However, for a month-long service, we prepared by studying hard with our own theme map. Thanks to a local of East Timor, a friend of one of the service members, we received a lot of help in studying the local languages. Before starting the service, I had time to teach local teachers in advance and make supplements for our classes. I was very grateful to the local teachers for attending our classes and working hard. With the help and training from teachers, we carried out the education service at the first school.
We still remember the students and staff members welcoming us when we arrived on our first day of service. Though providing education to a variety of students had some difficulties, we were pleased because every student took the classes seriously with interest. After receiving positive feedback from the first school, we continued the service faithfully at the last school. On the last day of the service, we felt sad, because we made a lot of memories of the students and it was hard to say goodbye. For a month, we were able to experience a lot in the country called East Timor and live together.
Finally, the team leader of Bondia’s second period, assistant managers, and all the members of our team well done everyone!
- Experience of So Young Eom, Major: Department of Korean Language Education
East Timor, a strange country, even its name, made me feel as if I had come down to the country, where there were so many kind and friendly people. After a long journey of traveling to East Timor, we spent 27 days there. To some, it felt short but to others, it felt long.
In the first week program, we spent time preparing in teacher’s training, and in the second week, we started volunteering at school. I was not focused on the preparation of a science class which was unrelated to my major. In the process of selecting and preparing for the lesson, ‘Creating a Three Dimensional Truss’, I was concerned about how to make my classes easy for my students and have fun. During the course, a local interpreter named Zelly, helped me prepare for classes in East Timor. She is a smart and sincere person. Having done her best along with me, Zelly is now my best friend. I am really grateful to my teammates for participating in my classes as well as Zelly.
I also faithfully served as an assistant teacher to help develop the structure for children to become more creative. All of the teachers, students, assistants, and interpreters formed classes together. It was something I could have never done alone. This volunteer work contributed not only to the growth of me but also to the growth of all of the members. Preparing a class that was unrelated to my major was a new challenge. Perhaps, it was a one-time chance I will never experience again. I am thankful for a kind and warm woman who prepared three meals a day for us. I also appreciate the members who went out to the grocery store to buy food every day and to prepare for classes together at night. I have many good memories as a result of working in this program.
More Information on Volunteer Programs
These volunteering programs also operate to promote pride and leadership in students who will positively impact the world through overseas community service, which improves national competitiveness, self-development, volunteer work, and mutual understanding through cultural exchanges. The countries we provide service to are Vietnam: From June to July (14 nights and 15 days), and Cambodia: December to January (14 nights and 15 days). To learn more about volunteer work, visit the Seowon Society Volunteer Center webpage.