Campus ReportingCampus Issue
Profiles in WorkcampFor those who want to make their overseas journey memorable
Hyun Ye-rim Reporter  |  pring_yasmin@yonsei.ac.kr
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승인 2007.02.22  14:48:27
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리

OVERSEAS TRIPS may have different meaning and purpose to every individual. What do you have in your concept?
You want to make overseas journey meaningful and more than a simple sight seeing trip, here is the answer. Try this. A workcamp is a combination word originating from working and camping. This word might seem unfamiliar to most of the students. In detail, it is a camp which is held by a local sponsor in carious countries and its purpose is to provide a labor force for local development. Workcamps run from two to three weeks and include the young people from various nationalities. Most of the workcamps take place during the summer and winter term, involving 10-30 participants from various countries.

What’s work camp?
   The term workcamp originates from a spontaneous gathering which was led by a young Swiss man named Pierre Ceresole, who was against World War I. He had started getting more young men together and began to help postwar rehabilitation of defeated nations in 1920. Now, workcamps are held in over 86 countries with over 2,500 workcamps held annually. This concept has been introduced to Korea in the late ‘90’s and started its very first beginning with 24 volunteers in 1999, and it has remarkably increased to 1,200 participants in recent years.
Workcamp provides an opportunity for volunteers to combine their energies and together address problems vital to our future. Participation in a workcamp has its essential meaning not only on public service but in studying or professional realization. In a workcamp, participants complete work activities, creative workshops as well as many worthwhile activities in various fields such as environmental, agricultural, constructional, social, cultural, and educational. Kim Yong-hwan (director of the IWO), said that “A volunteer experience may give you ideas or a push in deciding participants’ professional aspirations- one of the most important and difficult decisions one should make in life. It can increase or enhance you motivation or give additional inspiration in your studies or work.”

For your motivation
 Participants find it very instructive and inspirable in that they had a great chance to develop themselves. Some find their potential while attending workcamp and overcome their incorrigible selves. “The more workcamps I attended, the more I found myself growing in every other aspect; communicating with others, speaking advice from others, open-mindedness and consideration of others,” says Son Bo-mi (Sr., S.N.U.T). Some participants say workcamp also helps them to have confidence. “The more I exposed myself to the unexpected and emergent situations, the more I grew up by thinking how the situation might be. Confidence stemming from this realization is one of the biggest yields I obtained from traveling,” says the author of the book “Vagabond Journey,” Park Hye-joon.
 Opportunities to get along with foreign fellows are one of the most attractive things of workcamp. “Now I have a certain confidence in making friends with any one coming from all over the world. In my case I’m still keeping in touch with a Japanese girl whom I met in workcamp,” said Son Bomi(Sr., S.N.U.T). Moreover, participants develop their cultural variety points of view and begin to understand diversity. “My first workcamp experience started from the Philippines and reckless superiority comes from racial differences. As soon as I spent time with them, I realized there that cultural relativity truly exists,” said Kwon Oh-hun (Soph., President of the Hanyang Univ. Workcamp)
 Volunteering is thought to be a pivotal purpose for the workcamp, at a most conceivable level. Students usually think of volunteering as a difficult task which features altruism from the bottom and requires correction from that starting point. Volunteering service in a workcamp is characterized by three main slogans. “Work together,” “Live together,” and “Learn from each other.” That means it is most important to enjoy yourself while volunteering. “More than just a tourist, I could act like other natives and that way I could establish a new concept of volunteering and serve myself through globalization,” says Lee Sun-mee(Sr., Ewha Woman’s Univ.)

For a better workcamp
 Some participants tend to think that workcamp is no more than a one-bit camp and never grasp the right meaning of volunteering. As a countermeasure to this problem, networking between participants should continue and they should have meetings regularly in order to strengthen their motivation regarding attending international workcamps and find what they can complete further volunteering service in Korea.
Moreover, it is noteworthy that applying procedures for workcamps are too complicated. Some students might show interest and have thoughts about participating in at least one, but when they visit the intermediating organization sites such as the IWO, they find the processes are too intricate. To save participants’ frustration, workcamp organizers should find a way that an individual can simplify the application process by directly contracting a certain agency.
 Self-control is one of the dominating and distinctive characteristics of workcamp. Every decision occurring in a workcamp is entirely left to each participant. Resolving difficulties or conflicts is the main point of workcamp, but most of the students are accustomed to planned and organized traveling, so they are perplexed when facing inundating independency. When it’s excessive, there are some possibilities that some of the unadjusted students return home much earlier than before the program ends. A sufficient and detailed educational training workshop can help solve and ameliorate these problems.

*                *               *

 During our college days, why don’t we create a chance for ourselves to pour passion into where we are not used to belonging? Do not plan too much. Rather, have a firm belief in passion as well as the youth of your twenties and follow what your heart really tells you. Too much planning and worrying restrain oneself from acting in one’s own unique way. Regretting something after you’ve done it is definitely different from regretting why you haven’t done it. Join motivated and dynamic young people who are majoring in challenge through what they can learn, any you too can learn so much about yourself which you haven’t yet discovered.

* How to apply
 For those whom are interested in and want to apply for volunteer exchange workcamps, here are the steps to take.
1. Visit the site www.1.or.kr, www.kiva.co.kr, www.sci.co.kr, and join.
2. The sites above update workcamp lists from March to May every year. Pick one of the workcamps on the list by checking its details.
3. Check whether there is a room for the table of orientation and if there is, fill out the forms to apply. Download the application form from the each site you are joining. You only have to fill out some of your personal experience with workcamps.
4. Check the official announcement of the sites or check your e-mail in order to see whether you are chosen as a participant of your desired workcamp. If you are not chosen to participate in the workcamp you have applied for, you can get a refund anytime.
For a further questions, check out www.1.or.kr Q&A

   
  The map of India  

* Report on UPM in India
The numbers of university students who are aware of international workcamps and who were already participated in them are increasing remarkably each year. Hyun Ye-rim, a reporter, attended one of those workcamps and is here to share her up-close experiences.

UPM (Universal Peace March) was held from 28th Jan. to 8th Feb. under the joint host of the IWO (International Workcamp Organization) and the YBS (Youth Buddhist Society). Based on Mahatma Gandhi’s ascetic meditation exercises, UPM lays its fundamental meaning on realizing the slightest Buddha’s doctrine and making harmonious friendship with each other.
A total 35 of participants from various countries, Australia, Korea, India, Italy, and Holland gathered together in Buddha Gaya and started a Peace March from there which continued to Kushnagara, a total distance of 436km, taking twelve days.

   
  Participants are having an orientation  
Day 1)
After completing three days of traveling, I headed toward the meeting point of our   workcamp. Participants should come to the meeting point individually, and everyone should be well informed before as well as carefully read the necessary information sheet provided by the from IWO before the workcamp begins. After a 17 hour long train journey I arrived at our meeting point, Buddha Gaya Mahabodhi Temple. I had a short meeting with 35 participants. We introduced each other, and had a brief game in order to raise each other’s intimacy.
   
  Participants have started the Peace March  
Day 2)
 We started our Peace March under the Bodhendrum, a linden tree where Buddha obtained realization. We would be marching 30km each day, while shouting and handing out messages of peace to rural villagers. At night we had a group meeting in order to judge and evaluated our overall activities and found what could be more improved to make our work more efficient. Same tasks and activities that we had done in the day time were said to be repeated every other day. This group meeting would be held every night from that time until the journey ended.
   
  They continued the Peace March  
Day 5)
We stayed a night in a high school in Daniya district Nalanda Bihar state. We all were divided and assigned into several groups and scheduled to do every necessary life sustaining chores such as cooking, packing and addressing. Food, clothing, sleeping and everything else was doing just fine except for the washing and sanitary problems. At that place, there were not any proper shower stalls or toilets. It meant we had to deal with this matter in a local way, the Indian way.
   
  They are marching with the banner held up high  
Day-9)
As time went by I became so familiar with my surroundings. We marched to Gopalgung city and stayed a night there. It was six a.m. and already the school lobby was teeming with students, villagers and sheep. We attended the morning class and learned yoga from the local people and taught them some simple motions of *Taekwondo*. In the evening we had a cultural interchange between Korea and India. Two of the Koreans had prepared a Gong and a *Janggu* and they preformed a fabulous *Poongmulnori*, during which we started to dance to the rhythm, while moving rapidly in a line one by one.
   
  We were reported on the local newspaper  
Day-12)
Unbelievably it was the last day of our UPM. We’ve already reached the destination of our march, Kushnagara. After having an arranging discussion on evaluating the whole program, we had an ending ceremony and received certification from the UPM workcamp. Participants from each country made their own traditional food and we shared it all together. We changed e-mail addresses in order to keep in touch and hugged each other. We danced throughout the night and had a great day.

 

"Once my mind gets peaceful, it also appears to my facial expression and action"

Jeon Bom, student, from Korea 

  "2 WEEKS NOTICE! Different way of living. It appealed me the most."

Gil Korman, student, from Austrailia

 

 

 

 

Here, all participants are to act with extreme spontaneous inner compulsion and responsibility. By interacting with rural villagers, participants became acquainted with new cultures and ways of life. It broadens your cultural horizons by undermining national stereotypes. This makes me to be ashamed of myself who used to think that people from the under developed countries would be vulgar. It was a mere distorted view, my deep- seated prejudice.
Also participating in a workcamp gives you an opportunity to be part of a mixed group, with people your own age, coming from all over the world. The unique environment in an international workcamp can reveal new aspects of your character, personality and position in making relationships with others. If you want to do something touching to your heart and have an opportunity to challenge yourself, now it is the right time to apply for a workcamp, while coming out of your accustomed self.

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