Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) and Hannam University
The most striking aspect of community life in Korea you will meet on your arrival here will be the extreme hospitality. Koreans have a long historied culture of going to great lengths to care for guests. Life in Korea provides a humbling lesson in love for neighbor for all that YAVs receive during their time with us here. Beyond this, you will experience a land of plural religions where 24% identify as Buddhist, 31% identify as Christian (24%-Protestant 7%-Catholic), and 43% claim no affiliation. So too, you will find numerous ways in which the Korean church chooses to engage a pluralist society.
Rapid economic development has provided both striking wealth and immense poverty. YAV site partners help us to consider the cost to human rights and dignity of unbridled neo-liberal capitalism and help develop relationships with the minjung of Korea (downtrodden, marginalized, suffering, etc.). Minjung theologians remind us that God calls us to recognize how those less privileged than ourselves can be the face of Christ for us, a source of theology, and our salvation, rather than merely recipients of the charity of the more wealthy.
Recent Korean history has been dominated by several decades of Japanese Occupation, subsequent division at the hands of Soviet and US forces, the Korean War, and continued division and conflict between competing capitalist and communist systems. YAVs will meet Koreans following God’s call for reconciliation here, building bridges across the border, cultivating relationships with Christians in the North, and calling on the major governments to fulfill their responsibility in taking the steps necessary to end hostility and work toward peaceful reconciliation and possible reunification.
YAVs will take a beginner Korean language class at Hannam University during the fall in order to facilitate relationship building and communication with partners here. We do not expect you to have previous Korean language experience, but we do strongly advise you to learn some basics the summer before you arrive.
Hannam University will also provide students with some English capacity to serve as “Buddies” with the YAVs at their placement sites. They will help facilitate communication and translation between youth and staff of the Children’s Centers.
Hyeyoung Lee and Kurt Esslinger”