Ever since I was a high school student back in Malaysia, it has been my dream to work in a social service organization. I love meeting new people and making friends, but I always feel happy when I know I can help others. Finally, as a freshman at Korea University, I was given a volunteer experience that allowed me to live my dream for real!
The Korean University Social Service Organization (KUSSO) gives students like myself the opportunity to take part in a wide range of volunteering activities alongside their studies. Looking at the website, there appeared to be something to suit everyone’s preferences and I applied for 3 mentoring programs.
A few weeks following my application, I was lucky enough to have been selected for all 3 programs. However, this result was completely unexpected and I had to reject some of the offers so that I could dedicate my time and effort properly. I chose a program called Mentoring Gu-Milli, where my role would be to mentor/tutor elementary school children whose parents are serving in the army. During the first semester, volunteers were required to complete 6 service hours in total.
I had 2 students, both 5th graders from the same elementary school. I was given some guidelines from the organizers as to how I should carry out our mentoring sessions. Before the first video call meeting with the kids, I was required to call and greet their parents. This was my first time talking with Korean parents so I was quite nervous, but they were really friendly and together we set a date for the first mentoring session.
I started our first meetings with a self-introduction so we could get to know each other. However, I did this in a special way through games. Once we had gotten acquainted, we started planning our schedule and discussing which subjects the student wanted to study with me. Additionally, I showed them a useful study app that they could use both during our sessions and outside. I gave some small tasks to the student in order to examine their ability and so I could prepare suitable material for next class.
At our second class, we began to study the materials I had prepared. I had found some simple English exercise papers and gave the students a brief explanation on grammar and vocabulary in context. Moreover, it really warmed my heart when both students said that they enjoyed our session and felt that I had conducted the class well. Seeing them smile and gain valuable skill from our classes reaffirmed my passion for helping people.
The final class followed the same format at the previous one, but I reserved the last 15 minutes just for talking together. I gave both students some study advice and wished them luck in their futures. It was my first time conducting classes this way but it was very easy to do: simply send Zoom meeting links to the students’ parents in advance. Furthermore, be sure to fill out a class planner ahead of time so that you have a clear layout for the session. After the class has finished, fill out report forms and submit them to the service organization.
I thoroughly enjoyed my volunteer experience at Mentoring Gu-Milli, organized by KUSSO.
I received a golden opportunity to learn about Korean education, as well as helping some lovely students. Furthermore, if there are other chances like this next semester, I will be sure to apply. I hope you enjoyed this article and that you too will consider volunteering in Korea!
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