Talent Sharing Volunteer, New Trend in Universities
By Kang Shin-who
Kim Na-ra, 19, a freshman of Ewha Womans University spent her winter vacation in Goseong, South Gyeongsang Province teaching children as a member of the ``Ewha Volunteer Team.''
``I and my friends prepared various programs so earnestly before we went to Goseong, but I was rather nervous as I was not sure whether young children would like them or not.''
Unexpectedly, the children showed an enthusiastic reaction to the programs she prepared for them such as ``learning an English chant,'' ``face painting,'' ``making sandwiches'' and ``drama plays.'' Kim promised to visit them again during her summer vacation again as she sincerely fell in love with the children even though it was only a four-day short program.
She still keeps in touch with the children through an online community. Kim said she feels like she has met angels in Goseong and realized how one's talent and knowledge can be used for others; she plans to participate in various talent sharing programs from now on.
Talent sharing has become a new volunteering trend in university, and started from the current problems that many children and adolescents are isolated from education opportunities caused by deepening education inequity and an excessive increase in private education.
While ``nonghwal,'' or helping rural communities, in the past was to provide labor during the day and educate children and community residents at night, talent sharing is to provide intensive education programs to children in remote areas. In addition, while individual colleges or faculties ran nonghwal, universities run the various talent-sharing programs more systemically.
Ewha also dispatches its ``Ewha Education Volunteer Team'' to remote areas every vacation. This winter, 60 students from the team ran various tutoring programs in 11 remote areas around the country. Ewha also runs a mentoring program that connects its students with young children during the semester.
Seoul National University (SNU) runs mentor program named ``Bud Mentoring.'' Some 1,000 students covered by scholarships tutor young students from low income families once a week. The program started with 70 students last semester and SNU plans to expand the program as it showed good results. If talent-sharing programs spread widely, they will bring fruitful effects to all society.
Inje University has a ``Chinese Knowledge Volunteering'' program that teaches the language to elementary school students and is run by Chinese students. Thanks to the program, elementary school students can get lessons from native speakers. Pusan National University also run ``Tutoring Volunteer'' for middle school students to an enthusiastic reaction from locals.
Education experts say that the volunteering trend has been changed from providing a labor force to sharing talents and knowledge, and the trend fully reflects the need for a current information and knowledge focused society. They also expect that more students will participate in the programs as a new paradigm to share their talent not only during vacations but also during semesters.