Posted January. 25, 2018 08:02,
Updated January. 25, 2018 08:30
Even the cold snap couldn’t block their laughter. Dozens of teenagers joyfully boarded amusement rides Wednesday at Lotte World in Songpa-gu, Seoul despite the freezing weather. Fifty-six adolescents are participating as part of the “Visit Korea” program for overseas Korean adolescents in China. These students have been chosen after passing tests at schools. The program was co-hosted by the Young Korean Academy and the Korean Chinese Students Network.
The students arrived in Korea Monday for a six-day, five-night journey. For most of them, it is not their first visit to Korea. They have previously visited Korea to see their parents or relatives working in Korea. For Kim Mi-hye (aged 15), this is her fifth visit, as she has come often to visit her father, who works for a trading company in Korea. For Kim, Korea has become familiar and comfortable like an old friend.
The Korean Wave has also played a part in the familiarity. Kim talked about Korean idol group Wanna One while waiting in line. “Whenever I see them, I feel proud to be a Korean. It’s nice to talk about a subject that I know well,” she smiled. Some of the students expressed disappointment, saying that Korean Chinese were depicted negatively in a recent Korean movie, but believed that such perspectives would change soon.
The students also attended academic and career advice programs. They visited Seoul National University on Tuesday and attended a special lecture to listen to Korean Chinese graduates working at Korean companies. They learned about how to enter and study at Korean universities.
They also visited the National Hangeul Museum in Yongsan and learned of the origin of Hangeul. They all agreed that the visit helped them better understand Korean culture. The remaining leg of their trip is Jeonju Hanok Village and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in Paju. “We hope that the program will help the students feel proud as Koreans,” said an official of the Young Korean Academy.