Week Two Highlights
Published: July 12, 2020
Dear SupHo families,
Time usually flies at camp, and the fact that we are online doesn’t seem to have changed that. Here are a few highlights from our second week:
- Pen-pals! The credit villagers have started exchanging emails with staff. This summer seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn the skill of communicating in Korean by email. We look forward to getting to know each other better through this activity.
- The staff released our second skit based on the myth of Tan’gun. Individual staff acted out their parts at home, and our magical editor Hyoseok put it all together. These edited films were born of necessity, but they have been tremendously fun to make and entertaining (we hope!) to watch. We will post them on our YouTube channel in early August.
- Our one-week villagers made us laugh—and made us hungry—through their cooking videos. They also drew pictures of what is going on in their heads; maps of their favorite walking routes; and they picked out their favorite items from South Korea’s national museum shop. All the instructions were made by our staff through content crafted with the groups’ learning goals in mind.
- Our villagers created fun apps, webtoon art, and cool coding projects. They also practiced Taekwondo, made special crafts, and did short workouts with their counselors.
- Morning Greeting’s special guest: megastar Choi Siwon! On July 10, our villagers were greeted in the morning with a video from Siwon, member of the long-running boy band Super Junior, award-winning actor, and UNICEF regional Ambassador for East Asia and the Pacific. Siwon had promised to visit our camp in person; since circumstances did not allow for that this summer, he sent a warm message of support. See the video below!
· Our second weekend program focused on North Korea. Rather than taking a more conventional approach to North Korea (the nuclear crisis, human rights), our program focused on how defectors tell their stories, and how events that we experience shape the way we think about the world. After a presentation by our dean, the credit villager filled out a form listing the significant people and events in their life. Then, in breakout groups, we discussed two questions: if you were to write your life story, which of these events would make it into your narrative, and which would you leave out? Is your interest in the Korean language directly related to your life story, or is it incidental? After this activity, we watched a 12-minute TED talk by Hyeonseo Lee about her escape from North Korea. Then, for the last hour, our villagers had a very special visit by a young North Korean defector. He shared his own story, and then took questions from our villagers. Here are the questions he was asked:
- When you first came to South Korea, did you feel like people focused too much on the bad parts of your life?
- Was it hard to adapt to the high level of diversity in America?
- Does everyone love Kim Jong Un?
- What did you find the most surprising about South Korean and American culture?
- What do they tell you about America and other countries they view as enemies?
- How extreme are the social class differences in North Korea?
- What do you think will happen when Kim Jong un dies?
- What do you think is happening in North Korea right now? Is Kim Jong Un dead? Has his sister taken over?
- Is any of your family here with you or is it just you?
- Do you think North Koreans are aware of the COVID-19 situation?
- Do you think Kim Jong Un believes his own propaganda?
- What do you miss most about North Korea?
Our guest was gracious, and he answered every question thoughtfully and with great sensitivity. He left the group with a few profound messages: he encouraged us to believe that our opinion counts; to find meaning and embrace the unique contributions that we bring to the world; and, as someone who had to learn Chinese and then English to survive, that we should constantly play around with our language learning routines. When it comes to learning languages, he said, it boils down to our own individual motivation and efforts, so be creative! These were some of the many inspiring messages he shared.
Onto week 3, and to new encounters and learning adventures!
Stay safe, everyone.