One of the unique programs offered by the International Students & Scholars at the University of Arkansas is the International Culture Team (ICT). ICT is a group of leader students who “bring the world to the community”! Let’s take a look at Young Hye’s story about ICT and Fest of All!
It was the sixth of September when I participated in the Fest of All at the Fayetteville square. For me, it was a very good experience and I can not forget this forever!
One very normal day, when I checked my emails as usual, I found an invitation message to the “ICT Training I” to be an official member of International Culture Team (ICT). I signed up for the training immediately and went to the training. The training was really impressive with full of information and ideas about how to present my culture to different audiences. I thought it would be really helpful for me to be part of ICT and make my study abroad experience more interesting. Then, during the training, I learned about the international cultural festival in the community, called: Fest of All.
The instructor told me that there would be many students from different cultures and they could share their own cultures at the festival. It sounded really exciting, but I did not bring any traditional or cultural items from Korea, so I was worried about how I could represent my culture. The great thing, however, was that ICT had lots of items from various countries around the world already, including stuff from Korea, and I could borrow traditional Korean attire, shoes, accessories, flag and so on for my presentation.
At the event, I shared those items with other people and explained to them what they were and its cultural significance. Everybody was really excited and I was really proud of what I could contribute to the community on that day.
Everything about Fest of All was great and very memorable. The most memorable thing was there were so many little children who were interested in learning about Korean culture. I thought I would be talking to mostly adults at the event, so it was a pleasant experience to interact with the children. Many girls were interested in the Korean traditional cultural attire, Hanbok. When I helped them to try on the dress, they had big smiles on their faces, which made me really happy.
Another great experience for me was learning about other cultures. There are a lot of ICT students from different countries, and it was exciting to learn more about their traditions and cultural items. I did not know much about their cultures, so it was a great time for me to learn more about where other ICT members were from and what their cultures would be like as well.
During this festival, I also thought about what volunteer work means in the U.S. There are probably not many differences between volunteer work here and in my home country, but one difference is people in my home country generally tend to think that only working on something big or donating money is helping community. Here, participating in events and sharing cultures at the events, like the Fest of All, could be considered as contributing to the community. I was so happy, then, to realize that I could help the Fayetteville community with my my knowledge about my country, Korea!
I believe that there will be a lot of chances where I can help the community if I eagerly participate in the International Culture Team programs while studying at the U of A as a visiting student. I want to show my culture more through ICT activities. There are many Korean students at the U of A, but it is rare to find people who are really knowledgeable about Korea. I really want to teach people about Korean culture and traditions through as many opportunities as possible while I am still in Fayetteville!