Eastern Social Welfare Society (ESWS) is once again accepting applications for its Korean Language and Culture Program. We hope you will take a moment to read about Ginny’s experience and consider applying for 2016. With the scholarship funding, this program offers a lower-cost opportunity to learn about Korean language, culture and yourself.
I was adopted from Korea when I was six months old and 28 years later I finally had the opportunity to return to my birth country. I was awarded a scholarship through Eastern Social Welfare Society to study Korean language at Hallym University and also to learn about Korean culture. I did not know what to expect when I decided to take this journey. I hoped to make some friends, see some sights and hopefully eat some delicious Korean food, however, my first experience in Korea ended up being so much more than I could have ever imagined.
These people would not only become my friends, but the bond we would form as we explored Korea together would be something remarkable.
Eleven other adoptees and I arrived in Seoul, Korea at the ESWS guesthouse, these people would not only become my friends, but the bond we would form as we explored Korea together would be something remarkable. Having never been to Korea, not knowing any Korean and with very little knowledge of Korean culture, I found myself feeling like an outsider even though, for the first time, I looked like everyone around me. The other adoptees helped me navigate these different experiences and their guidance, support, and friendship made my experience exponentially better. They explained to me what K-Pop was, showed me how to properly eat bulgogi, and introduced me to Korean cosmetic products.
Here I was thinking that I was experiencing all these new things in Korea, when in fact I had already been in this specific room. My Korean adoption story had, in a way, come full circle.
I think one of the most memorable parts of the trip for me was volunteering at Eastern’s Babies Home, where infants waiting for adoption are kept until a foster family can be arranged. Holding the babies, I was suddenly struck with the realization that I too had once been an Eastern baby who resided in this exact spot. Here I was thinking that I was experiencing all these new things in Korea, when in fact I had already been in this specific room. My Korean adoption story had, in a way, come full circle. I, as a Korean adoptee, was now holding the next generation of Korean adoptees.
Returning to Korea was an amazing, emotional and an unforgettable journey. Climbing mountains, visiting temples, studying at university and most importantly sharing this experience with other Korean adoptees will be something I will always cherish.
About the 2016 Korean Language and Culture Program
Eastern Social Welfare Society (ESWS) is once again accepting applications for its Korean Language and Culture Program. ESWS has been running the scholarship program for years to help Korean adoptees learn the Korean language and gain exposure to Korean culture. By doing so, they aim to help adoptees learn and understand their heritage better and instill pride in their birthland.
This year, the program includes cultural immersion activities within the language program for relaxation and real-life experiences that help the participants practice what they learn in classes and sessions. These include: sightseeing, volunteer opportunities, watching cultural performances, and more.
The program is held in cooperation with Hallym University’s International School in Chuncheon, Korea. Participants will be exposed to the college atmosphere and life in Korea as well as have the opportunity to start and/or improve their Korean language skills by interacting with student groups on the campus.
Details of the Program
Participants will arrive between June 19 and June 20, 2016 and depart between July 21 and July 22, 2016.
From June 27 to July 15, 2016, they will spend their time at the Korean Language and Culture Program at Hallym University. Hallym University is located in a very quiet city about 80 km northeast of Seoul. All participants will live in a double-occupancy dormitory at Hallym. One Korean student will accompany and help three participants.
From July 15 to July 20, 2016, adoptees will participate in the ESWS program and stay in the ESWS guest house.
What is Included
ESWS will provide a scholarship to cover the costs of: the Hallym program (tuition, dormitory accommodations, partial meals) and the ESWS program (ESWS guest house accommodations, partial meals). Round-trip air fair and personal expenses such as some meals and transportation are not included/covered by ESWS.
Who is Eligible
Korean adoptees that desire to learn Korean language and culture are encouraged to apply. All participants should be fully devoted to embracing the opportunities provided through this program and attending classes. Adoptees must be over the age of 19 and have a minimum of a high school education (with diploma). Adoptees through ESWS and first-time applicants will have first priority. Family members are not allowed to join this program.
How to Apply
To apply, students must submit an application, one self-introductory essay (including a description of how you plan to adapt to cultural differences), three photos (size 4×5 cm or passport photo), one letter of recommendation from the adoption agency, a copy of either the final graduation diploma or a student ID, a copy of their passport, and a medical report issued within the past year (including hepatitis and tuberculosis).
All application documents must be compiled and ready for submission by April 28, 2016.