Students from abroad teach village childrenIn a study room of a Habitat Village of Reconciliation in Geumsan-ri, Dogo-myeon, in Asan city, South Chungcheong province, eight young Westerners teach English to primary and middle school children. The one Australian and seven Americans all currently attend Soonchunhyang University. They began teaching in the village on April 5.
All are exchange students from colleges that have sisterly relationships with Soonchunhyang University. They were chosen partly because they all had interests in Korean culture and tradition, and three are Korean-American.
The eight were introduced to a children’s center in the village by Soonchunhyang University, which wanted to help less privileged children in the region whose families were unable to provide them with after-school education.
About 135 elementary, middle and high school students live in the village, and attending private English lessons was beyond their families’ means. Soonchunhyang University suggested that the exchange students might teach the children English and they all agreed willingly. They will continue teaching until they depart Korea at the end of this year.
“I am glad that I can be a teacher for children who cannot afford to learn English,” said Joseph Kenny, 24, a student from Portland State University. “My goal is to see these students being able to speak fluently.”
“It is very interesting and rewarding to be an English teacher,” said Sonia Schiller, 21.
“The teachers are so kind that it is fun to study English,” said Park Si-on, 12, from Dogo Oncheon Elementary School.
Habitat for Humanity is a Christian civic group founded in the United States by Millard and Linda Fuller to provide the poor with houses. It has thus far built more than 100,000 houses in over 100 countries.
Habitat for Humanity Korea was formed in 1992.
More than 136 houses were built in the Habitat Village of Reconciliation in Dogo-myeon between 2001 and 2003 for 370 residents.
by Kim Bang-hyeon