The world has become a big global family with diverse cultures, nationalities and families in one country. Korea too has become a country of diverse people. However, settling into a new culture and country can be challenging due to language and cultural differences.
To make the transition easier and smooth, Seo Jeong-hee thought of a clever project called “Talk Talk Cultural Harmony '' to bring together foreign nationals and native Koreans in a safe space to share conversations and culture. Seo Jeong’s project ran for three months and reached participants with origins from five countries (Korea, China, Cambodia, Thailand and Ukraine).
Since the 1990s, Korea has seen an increase in foreign residents as well as multicultural families. The Korean Immigration Foundation (Ministry of Justice) and Ministry of Gender Equality and Family runs programs to provide Korean language education and multicultural family support centres for smooth social integration. However, even after completing these programs, the participants still faced difficulty in understanding the language, history, geography, economy and culture.
As Seo Jeong Hee says, “it is difficult to find a connection point due to the dual operation of the Korean language education and experience program, and the participants are also not aware of the connection.”
Seo Jeong’s project thus, aimed to build this connection among the participants. The project brought together native Koreans, foreign workers and immigrant mothers to have conversations on culture, family and values. The project participants were involved in online mutual cultural exchange, cultural tours, national holiday food experience, visits to National Museum of Korea and stories of National Holidays.
With both online and offline gatherings, Seo Jeong and her team were able to gather stories from each participant’s country which inspired mutual understanding of culture, sense of community for peaceful society and sense of companionship together as members of a community. The participants shared their stories and the project built a healthy community for them to grow. While the indigeneous Koreans learnt about a foreign culture and its significance, the foreign workers and immigrant mothers learned about the Korean culture, traditional costumes, etiquettes and holidays.
With her project, “Talk Korea”, Seo Jeong enhanced multicultural understanding and helped participants in their social integration journey in Korea. Seo Jeong reflected, “Although it is a small activity, if they can help them enter a stable Korean society based on their experience of participation, it is expected that this will lead to stability and peace of the community living together”.
The “Talk Talk Cultural Harmony” project brought diverse people together as one family under god despite differences in culture, language and country. It helped foster important conversations on culture and build social harmony.
Seo Jeong-hee was accompanied by Lee Choong-kyung and Ko Mi-sook from the Yonginji Division to implement the project. GPW is proud to support Jeong-hee’s project through the Global Women Dream (GWD) grant, a joint effort of Global Peace Women and Service for Peace Korea. The GWD grant is awarded to service minded women across countries who want to develop their leadership and dream to initiate projects in their community to bring positive change and impact.