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Native English-speaking Teachers’ Visit to the ‘House of Sharing’
Native English-speaking Teachers’ Visit to the ‘House of Sharing’
  Date: 2014-07-11 13:34     View: 1568  

On June 14, 2014, seventeen native English-speakers teaching their mother tongue in South Korea visited former comfort women of the Japanese military who are residing at the ‘House of Sharing’ located at Gwangju city of the province Gyeonggi-do. The teachers are participants of the English Program in Korea (EPIK) offered by the National Institute for International Education. The field trip was planned as a follow-up to those who became interested after receiving a lesson on Korean history this past February, which was jointly provided by the EPIK and the Northeast Asian History Foundation. Teachers based all over South Korea, from Taebaek to Muju to Cheongju, set out early in the morning to gather and stop by the Gyeonggi Ceramic Museum before heading to the House of Sharing in the afternoon. Once at the House of Sharing, the volunteers stationed there for the purpose of international cooperation gave an introduction to issues surrounding the Japanese military comfort women and the circumstances the surviving victims are currently in. The introduction was followed by a tour of the museum within the premises and then finally an opportunity to meet and converse with the surviving victims themselves. Having met with the victims in solemnity, the field trip participants described their impressions as ‘moving’ and being ‘greatly inspired by meeting women of such strength.’ One defined the meeting as ‘an awakening from near ignorance into a new perspective on issues involving former comfort women’ after listening to stories of the victims’ experiences. The Northeast Asian History Foundation plans to continue offering various programs in the future that provide opportunities for native English-speaking teachers to learn more about the history and culture of Korea within the context of East Asia.
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