Aug 132013
Charlene and Seongmin

Charlene and Seongmin. More pictures at the end of the post.

Charlene Araujo is an American English teacher living in Sungnam, South Korea. She graduated from Yale University with a degree in Judaic Studies.

Earlier this year, KKOOM awarded Charlene 500,000 KRW (approx. $450 USD) to carry out a project to give kids at Dream Up Orphanage in Suwon an opportunity to travel to Seoul and visit an art museum. This is her project report.

On May 4, 2013, I traveled with six students: Eun-kyoung, Suwon, Min-ji, Seongmin, Heejun, and Sucheol from Dream Up Orphanage from Suwon, Gyeonggido to Yeouido, Seoul to partake in a time capsule project sponsored by KKOOM.

The purpose of this project was to have students take pictures with disposable cameras as they had fun in Seoul and went to a museum together. The students and I then cut photos together, wrote about our experiences, and put it in a box so the students can have a physical memory of our time together.

In light of the obsession with technology and smartphone addiction prevalence among youth, I wanted the students to value quality time with each other and with me.  I picked up the students at 7:30 a.m. and we bought bread from Paris Baguette. We traveled by bus and the students slept and chatted most of the way. The trip took nearly two hours and we met another volunteer, Arti Kane (patent attorney in Seoul), when we arrived in Yeouido.

Kids and Volunteers from Dream Up Orphanage in Suwon visit Seoul

Kids and Volunteers from Dream Up Orphanage in Suwon visit Seoul

Upon arrival, the students wanted to ride bikes and play outside. We rented bikes, and the students took pictures and chased each other outside. I bought them refreshments and waited for them as they enjoyed their time. Once they became hungry, we went to the famous 63 Building (tallest building in Korea), and half of the students ate hamburgers and the other half ate pizza. While in the 63 Building, we went to the top deck and to the art gallery. The students were not allowed to take pictures of the art, and that was unfortunate for us since we wanted to take pictures and compare which pieces we liked the best.

We still enjoyed the view and took a picture outside of the art gallery. Once outside, the students begged to ride bikes once more and enjoy their time outside while the weather is beautiful. We rented bikes once more and the kids enjoyed themselves. On the way home, the students ate ice cream and joked about their experiences since some of the students thought they were better athletes than others. Due to heavy weekend traffic, it was nearly a three-hour journey home and the students slept most of the way. When we returned, dinner had already been served so the students bought rice and noodles.

It was humbling to see how much the students enjoyed the simple pleasures in life: biking outside and ice cream. Even though the students appreciated going to the 63 Building since they had never traveled to Seoul before, they had the best time outside. The orphanage staff told me the kids bragged about the trip all week and were incredibly happy. The staff told me that they had never left Suwon before.

After the field trip, the students wrote thank you notes to KKOOM for giving us the opportunity to enjoy the trip and our time together. They also made photo collages and put them in time capsules to be opened later so they can look back and enjoy their memories from the trip at a later date.

Thank you very much to KKOOM’s board and donors for supporting in this project!

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