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Young go abroad on gov’t program

Dec 16,2017
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Yu Jae-yeong, left, and Jung Ji-yeon attend the Homecoming Day event hosted by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. [MINISTRY OF GENDER EQUALITY AND FAMILY]
“I thought Vietnam was just a country where you can ride old buses around,” said a 22-year-old student, “but now it’s preparing to develop eco-cities!”

Every year, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family gives hundreds of students the opportunity to travel abroad through the Korea Youth Work Agency (KYWA), and also gives awards to students who participate in outstanding ways.

Two college students, Jung Ji-yeon and Yu Jae-yeong, shared their experiences abroad with the JoongAng Ilbo at the agency’s Homecoming Day event held Dec. 9 at Blue Square in Itaewon, central Seoul.

After having visited Hanoi as a tourist five years ago, Jung, a junior majoring in education at Sungshin Women’s University, had the chance to live with a host family for 10 days and also visit a youth group in Vietnam.

“My awareness of Vietnamese culture has widened,” said Jung, “and I see more of its potential to develop through renewable resources.”

Jung received the minister’s award as the outstanding member of the group of 20 students who went to Vietnam.

“Overseas student exchange programs provide valuable opportunities to experience different cultures and broaden the youth’s perspective on the world,” said Jung.

Guest speakers at the event were Tyler Rasch, an American who is featured on the South Korean television travel show ‘Where is my Friend’s Home?’ and Michelle Lee, a South Korean artist who appeared on the talent show “K-pop Star.”

Yu received the minister’s award for her work as a youth counselor for the KYWA in South Chungcheong. Youth counselors promote the international exchange programs and give guidance to young people considering traveling abroad.

“I teach the young what it means to be a global citizen,” said Yu. Yu is a 20-year-old youth education and counseling major at Soon Chun Hyang University in Asan, South Chungcheong. She traveled to Beijing and Yancheng in China last year through the agency’s Korea-China Special Youth Exchange Program.

“Before, I only considered jobs in youth counseling,” said Yu, “but now, I have a dream to work for an international organization such as the Korea International Cooperation Agency.”

BY PECK SOO-JIN, LAURA SONG [song.hankyul@joongang.co.kr]