Melted! Volunteering at Local Orphanage
By Cassandra Carr – Cassie is a GlobaLinks Learning Abroad 2013 Summer Correspondent who is studying abroad at the Korea University International Summer Campus in Seoul, South Korea. Cassie is from Miami University – Oxford.
Today was the first of many that I will be working in various orphanages around the Seoul area!
Some people study abroad to learn the language, see the cities, get a taste of the culture, or to simply take classes. But, my primary motive in coming to South Korea was to volunteer in multiple orphanages. Having been adopted, I have always had the desire to work with children, to love them, brighten their day, and to give them hope.
Before coming to Seoul, I had coordinated a few different agencies to work in during my six weeks abroad. It didn’t take long for me to be in Korea for me to realize that it was much too good to be true. Through communication issues and timing conflicts, many of the planned agency visits fell through. So, I was left to coordinate alternatives on my own. Having minimal Korean language skills, this made it extremely difficult. Many agencies wanted a full year commitment or a group of ten or more before they would schedule me.
But, thankfully I was able to find an organization that goes to multiple agencies a month. I became a member and had my first orphanage visit this afternoon!
We went to the JungGye orphanage in Seoul. There are more than fifty children who reside there, with 40% of them able to be adopted. Over 50% of them are there through social workers or single parents. It’s a sad situation, but it was wonderful to be with them and to play with them for a few hours.
They have such a quiet spirit about them and you can definitely tell that they just want to be loved. Many of them were touchy and constantly wanted to be held. I wanted to take all of them home.
While at the orphanage, we spent time teaching them English, had snack time with them, and had plenty of time to just play. It was so much fun and one of the most fulfilling things I’ve done since being here.
We will go once a week to a different orphanage and I can’t wait until next week! If I could spend six weeks in an orphanage I would, but unfortunately, classes come first! Needless to say, it was a wonderful Sunday! It was an absolutely incredible experience and I’m so excited for next week!