1. Can you introduce yourself?
Hello, My name is Son Ji-min. I am a college student, majoring in the Department of International Relations.
2. What motivated you to do overseas volunteer work in Cambodia?
I am very interested in the field of development cooperation, and I wanted to learn directly in the field beyond the theoretical contents of learning at school. In the meantime, I saw the KOICA-NGO volunteer recruitment announcement, and I thought I wanted to spend a year for others, not myself, and I applied because it would be an opportunity to get to know more about NGOs and international development cooperation.
3. What was the most memorable thing while volunteering?
The first is the "Member Project Support Project" sponsored by KOICA-NGO Volunteer Group! We conceived a project under the theme of "Cambodia Child Nutrition Promotion" to carry out the project. In particular, Cambodia has severe malnutrition such as consumption and low weight, so we decided that it is necessary to improve awareness in this regard. In order to explain to children's eyes, we made two fairy tale books about why we should eat evenly, what good snacks are and what bad snacks are, and visited elementary school to provide face-to-face nutrition education for students. I think the children's smiling brightly is still vividly remembered.
The second is volunteering at a nursery school! I was very interested in child welfare and education, so I went to a daycare center near Phnom Penh every Saturday with the members who were close to me. I don't think it's easy to open my heart to strangers, but from the moment I first met them, they approached me without hesitation and greeted me, and I was very grateful for my children. I thought I was going to share my love, but I think I've always been moved by the children's pure hearts.
4. What was the hardest thing while volunteering?
The hardest part was communication. Cambodia was a strange and difficult language for me, who was familiar with Korean and English using Khmer. After arriving in Cambodia, I received local language training for several months, but there were still difficulties in carrying out the work, so without the help of an interpreter or local staff, the work did not go smoothly. Still, with a lot of help from local employees, I'm living without any difficulties in my daily life.
The second one is a dog bite accident. Cambodia has so many large dogs roaming the streets without leashes and muzzles! In particular, as someone who is scared of small dogs, I was so scared to walk around on the street. It's dark at night and I can't see well, so I always walk worrying about when and where the dog will pop out.
5. What do you want to do the most after coming back to Korea?
I'm going back to Korea in about two months! I want to feel winter first I think I'll take out my padded jacket and go eat the fish-shaped bun that they sell near my house first I want red bean taste, after that, I think I will go on a family trip before my brother goes to the army! In February, I will go on a trip to Jeju Island with my friends, so I think I will spend a lot of time with my family and friends that I haven't seen before.
6. What do you want to say to students who want to go overseas volunteer?
If you apply with the idea that you simply want to live abroad and travel, you may have a hard time. In fact, there were quite a few of the members around me who came simply because they wanted to gain overseas experience, but I saw a lot of people who gave up halfway and died. It's not a grand mindset, but I think it would be good to think clearly about what you want to get or what you want to achieve through overseas volunteer work and apply. In addition, it would be better if you knew the characteristics and culture of the country you wish to dispatch and applied for the job you had to perform at the dispatch site. Lastly, if you are interested in international development cooperation or NGO field, I would like to recommend overseas service! If you return to Korea after maturity, you may receive additional points when entering KOICA, and there may be differences between NGOs, but I think it will be an opportunity to learn from each institution's business direction and manuals closely! I will cheer everyone who will be dispatched!