After school on Wednesday (7/20/2016) I did some community service with my supporter group and one other group at this facility for disabled teens and young adults. Jodi, Casey, and I stopped at a convenience store to pick up some lunch before we met up with Sujin at Seoul station where we took the subway all the way to Banghwa station (방화역) which is a few stops away from Gimpo International Airport. It was a very long subway ride, but luckily we were able to get some seats.
The main guy at the center was really nice to all of us and his English was actually very good. I asked him later and he hadn’t even studied abroad in any English speaking country. For our community service, we helped everyone at the facility make a dinner of pizza with tomato sauce, cheese, corn (such a Korean thing!), and bacon. Some of them needed more help than others but it felt really great working through certain setbacks and making something together like the pizza. It was a lot of fun too.
After we finished up all the pizzas, we also made some for ourselves and ate them for lunch.
Afterwards we completed some of these worksheets that showed you what it could be like having certain disabilities. One of the activities included looking into mirror while trying to solve math problems and finding the exit of a maze. They were very eye-opening for me.
Before we left, we helped the center even more by cleaning up for the night. We split everyone up into groups for chores such as cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming the rooms and hallways, cleaning the dishes, and bagging the food waste. I was put on dish duty with my supporter Sujin while Teresa also worked with us in the kitchen bagging the food waste from our pizza activity and some days previous.
My Reflection On The Experience –
This experience was just what I needed to fulfill part of my goals for this program. Back in October when I filled out my Nsli-y application, I had written in one of the essays that I wanted to go to Korea to not only learn the language, but to also get to know the different people of the society. I haven’t had much time to do that besides with my host family. This was the first experience I had where I got to work with a bunch of other people (Nsliyians and Koreans alike) to reach a common goal and get to know some pretty great people. I will definitely look into volunteering there again when I hopefully come back to Seoul because it was such an amazing experience and I would love to come back and help again.
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- 엠마 (Emma)