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Challenge Your Limits and Broaden Your Experience: Summer Programs of Sungkeum

As the semester starts again in September, the campus will be crowded with Kingos who have enjoyed fun vacations. Some Kingos over here have challenged their limits and enlarged their experience through the summer programs of Sungkeum, the 49th student council of SKKU. The Sungkyun Times (SKT) now introduces and examines the two summer programs that Sungkeum offered.

What was on offer?

2017 Global Pioneer Walkathon, Sungdaerang Haeparang

Sungkeum/Beginning of the Walkathon in Pohang

Sungdaerang Haeparang is a Global Pioneer Walkathon program in which this year’s participants walked about 270 kilometers along the Haeparang trail which included Pohang, Yeongdeok, Uljin, and Samcheok from July 17 to July 27. The Haeparang trail is a road designated by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to encourage trips on foot, and Haeparang means to walk in company with the rising sun and the blue of the East Sea. The walkathon program at SKKU marked the 10th anniversary this year since its start in 2008, with the Peking University and Shanghai Jiao Tong Universities joining since 2012 and 2016 respectively. Therefore, the program is beyond the mere chance for intense walking, providing a grounds for communication between both Korean and Chinese students. Although recruitment was based on a cover letter that had to be sent during the final examination period, there was keen competition among the applicants, and the program ended successfully with nearly 180 students participating.

2017 Global Pioneer, Asia-Vietnam

Sungkeum/Participants Before Departing to Vietnam

Global Pioneer, Asia-Vietnam is a program planned to provide a chance to reestablish the value of life and make dreams for students living in a society where the word N po-se-dae, which means giving up things such as marriage, home, or even dreams, is spoken pervasively. It was projected with the aid of the SKKU alumni association in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. There was no entry fee at all, thanks to the sponsorship of SKKU Leaders in Industry-university Cooperation (LINC) and Woori Bank, and SKKU office. Participants visited Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi in Vietnam and took part in various events from August 8 to August 14. In Ho Chi Minh City, the cultural center of Vietnam, they met SKKU alumni and communicated with students from the Department of Korean Language in Vietnam National University (VNU). In Hanoi, the economic center of Vietnam, they visited Korean companies which have succeeded in Vietnam as well as Vietnamese start-up companies.

How was it?

2017 Global Pioneer Walkathon, Sungdaerang Haeparang

SKT: Briefly introduce yourself and your motivation for participating in the Global Pioneer Walkathon program, please.

Park Yea-eun: My name is Park Yea-Eun, a freshman in the Department of Social Sciences. I participated to spend my 20th summer meaningfully, meeting new people and overcoming my limits.

Seo Jeong-min: My name is Seo Jeong-Min, a sophomore majoring in Global Business Administration. Actually this was my second walkathon, and I participated because the memory of the 2016 walkathon remained very nicely in my mind.

Choi Yeong-jin: My name is Choi Yeong-Jin and I am a Korean international student at Peking University, majoring in Chinese Language and Literature. I participated because I enjoy walking as a member of the hiking club and wanted to visit Korea which I left when I was young.

Xu Wenmiao: My name is Xu Wenmiao from Peking University, majoring in Law. I participated because I thought it would be a great challenge for me to experience intense walking and to visit a foreign country and to get along with foreign students.

SKT: Was there any memorable moment during the walkathon program?

Park Yea-eun: My birthday, which was in between the program, was the most unforgettable day. Although there was no cake or any presents, I could spend such a happy time thanks to my teammates who celebrated my birthday for the whole day.

Choi Yeong-jin: The first day was the most unforgettable day. All the moments including when I was full of confidence at the beginning, so exhausted that my legs trembled, and heard the touching music at the destination, are still vivid in my memory.

SKT: What did you learn or experience by participating in the walkathon program?

Seo Jeong-min: I learned a lesson that hard times eventually pass by. The only reason I could finish the program was because I just kept walking even in a hard situation such as having four blisters on each of my feet.

Xu Wenmiao: I witnessed the power of team work and the magic of persistence. Without our team, I could not have finished the long journey, and without persistence, I would have given up due to the pain in my knees.

2017 Global Pioneer, Asia-Vietnam

SKT: Briefly introduce yourself and your motivation for participating in the Global Pioneer Asia-Vietnam program, please.

Park Woong-su: My name is Park Woong-Su, a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering. Having the college graduation ahead, I was pondering over my future when I saw the recruitment for this program. I participated to receive a chance to rebuild the value of my life and find my dream.

Kim Jin-hong: My name is Kim Jin-Hong, a freshman majoring in Business Administration. Because I have had a huge interest in business abroad, especially in Vietnam, I participated to learn more about real business in Vietnam, gain new insights, and think about my future career more seriously.

SKT: Do you agree that the program was genuinely helpful in making or reestablishing your dream?

Park Woong-su: I could not agree more. Before I participated in this program, whenever someone asked me about my dream, I always answered “success as an engineer,” even though I had a doubt about whether I really wanted it from the bottom of my heart. In Vietnam, however, I felt true happiness while meeting and sharing thoughts with other people and realized that there is no such happiness in the success that I used to tell to others. Thanks to the program, now I can see what I really have to do to gain the happiness I am eager for.

Kim Jin-hong: Throughout the program, I could listen to the stories of the alumni who succeeded in Vietnam and make up my mind to never settle for the present through their stories of passion and tenacity. I could not only clean up all the thoughts wandering around my head, but also think of my dream more sincerely.

SKT: Are there any memorable activities from the program in Vietnam you would like to share?

Park Woong-su: The time when we met with students majoring in Korean Language at VNU was unforgettable. It was very surprising to meet friends who are fairly good at Korean and have a huge interest in Korea as well. We could become very close with each other within a short time by playing Vietnamese traditional games, making a play using some newly-coined Korean words, and dancing K-pop dances.

Kim Jin-hong: The field research was the most meaningful activity for not only could I learn a lot while planning for the field trip, but also learn a valuable lesson that I should never determine everything just by looking at a portion of the data while actually going out to the market. According to data from Korea, food trucks were rare and unprofitable in Vietnam, but in fact there were many profitable food trucks. I could learn that it is important to make a thorough plan based on abundant data when preparing for a business.

What can be said about it?

Although the two programs finished successfully, feedback on both the positive and negative parts are necessary for better programs in the future. The SKT conducted a survey of participants of each program and brought advice for next year from Sungkeum, the host, as well.

2017 Global Pioneer Walkathon, Sungdaerang Haeparang

▶ Recreational events such as the Night of Culture and Night of Harmony were efficient in boosting participants’ morale, and team-based activities were helpful in becoming close with team mates.
▶ The staff from the student council operated the program fairly well.
▶ The safety aspects such as ambulance services or traffic control were very good.
▶ It was extremely hard and exhausting to sleep in a tent on a rainy day or walk more than 30 kilometers even on days when the heat wave warnings were issued.
▶ There were few chances to become friends with people in other groups or to gain more understanding of the land where we walked.
▶ Sometimes it felt just as if we were in the military due to the excessive control and oppressive attitude and expressions of the staff.
Sungkeum’s Advice
Make sure to be fully aware of the extreme weather conditions, and prepare countermeasures.

2017 Global Pioneer, Asia-Vietnam

▶ The contents of the program such as meetings with the alumni and students from VNU were very meaningful, and the program itself was very high in quality.
▶ It was very nice that we could actually feel Vietnam through field trips, and the fixed time schedules gave an impression that the program was well-prepared.

▶ There was a feeling that the overall program from the announcement of selected applicants to the contact with the companies was slightly rushed.
▶ The schedule was a little bit too intensive to follow without any physical stress.

Sungkeum’s Advice
Make sure the schedule does not give any physical burden to the participants.

Youth is dazzling in that it enables people to try anything without fear. Although there are numerous ways of spending the summer as a student of SKKU, it might have been a good experience for Kingos to participate in Sungkeum’s challenging summer programs.

박민주  minju5142@naver.com

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