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Semester in Review…The Local Experience

By heatherlgilbert

The most valuable part of my experience in Korea is my wonderful home stay family. They have taught me so much and have given me an insider look at the everyday life of a typical korean family. Last weekend again, I was able to experience the local life by volunteering with my homestay mother at their church.

The third week of every month, the church holds a community service event for the elderly in the area to gather and eat together. The church provides all the food and the venue. Volunteers are responsible for preparing and serving the food and clean up.

Working side by side with other volunteers and talking to the elderly allowed me to understand new dimensions and problems facing Korean society. With the continual modernization and growth of Seoul, the government has supported the construction of many apartment complexes. While this supplies a greater number of living areas, it also displaces many of the elderly who lived in old houses.

Listening to locals and understanding their needs gives me a greater appreciation for my circumstances.