Stories from Korea: Building Relationships for a More ‘Glocal’ World

Hersheyth Aggarwal  traveled to South Korea to attended the URI Korea Youth Peace Camp alongside URI young leaders from around the world. Hersheyth invites us into his experience by sharing his reflects below.

The URI Youth Peace Camp in Korea was an amazing experience. The focus of the camp was to discuss the concept of global citizenship and learn about Korean culture. The first couple of days in the camp we went to the Sea of Japan and saw Naksana Temple, the border, and a Korean War Memorial museum. Then we returned to Seoul where we visited the Korean National Museum, a Won Buddhist Temple, a Mormon Temple, and a Cathedral. Almost every day we also broke up into discussion groups in the evening and each discussion group made a presentation to show on the final day.

The goal of the presentations was to describe how, as future leaders, we can promote peace and global citizenship. In my group, we created a movie to illustrate simple ways we can make our society more peaceful. In the first clip, two people are having an argument in a store but they cannot understand one another because they speak different languages. To resolve the conflict, someone who knows both languages clears up the misunderstanding. In another clip, at a party, one person is trying to force his Muslim friend to drink alcohol and does not understand the reason he refuses. So, a hero comes and explains that, in general, most Muslims consider alcohol as taboo. I wanted to highlight how knowledge of different languages, cultures, and customs are crucial to clear up misunderstandings and promote peace.

The Youth Camp, in general, did an excellent job at exposing me to Korean Culture. It was great to observe many important Korean historical sites. Also, I learned a lot about the different religious traditions in Korea by visiting many main sites of worship in Seoul. I was impressed at how the four main religions of Korea: Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, and Won Buddhism seem to coexist without much religious conflict.

My favorite part of the trip was meeting a lot of new people. I liked how there was some free time to engage with everyone in the camp outside of formal activities. I got to make many new contacts in Korea and with members of Cooperation Circles abroad. For example, I hope to establish a relationship with an Environmental Cooperation Circle based in India. The moto of the camp was to “Think globally but act locally. So think ‘glocally.'” This experience of learning about new cultures and making several new international friends will help me, and the URI, to be “glocal.”

I would like to sincerely thank Venerable Jinwol and his staff for making me feel comfortable, welcome, and organizing an amazing experience! I hope we can keep sending representatives from North America every year.

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