Korean and American exchange students explore Yongsan
July 29, 2009
- Good Neighbor Program strengthens alliance
<strong>YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea</strong> - More than 50 Korean and U.S. college students took a tour of Yongsan Garrison July 22. For most of them, it was their first visit to a military installation, and an eye-opening experience.
"I never thought a place like this would exist," said Min Sung-cho, a sophomore from Keimyung University. "It was amazing to find a little bit of America in the middle of Yongsan."
Students of both nations were participating in the second Korea-America Student Conference through which students discuss the relationship between the two countries and how to build a meaningful relationship. The trip to Yongsan was arranged to offer the students a first-hand look into the Republic of Korea-U.S. alliance.
Garrison Commander Col. Dave Hall welcomed the students and gave a short briefing on the role of U.S. Soldiers in Korea and what the garrison is doing to strengthen the alliance.
"The good neighbor program is a very important part of our operation here," Hall said. "We are always looking for ways to strengthen our bond with the Korean community and so far I think everyone has done a great job in achieving that goal."
After the welcome brief, the students took a tour around the garrison and were invited to a complimentary lunch reception at the Dragon Hill Lodge where they were seated with garrison employees to answer their questions about what living in Korea is like.
Afterwards, students were challenged to show their marksmanship skills while shooting M16-A2 rifles at the high-tech Engagement Skills Trainer 2000, a simulator which simulates live firing.
"Shooting the rifle was definitely the most interesting part of the tour," Kim Ji-eun, a junior from Sookmyung Women's University said. "But in terms of significance, the opportunity to better understand the nature of the U.S.-Korea alliance and to see in real life how that alliance has materialized, I think that was the most meaningful part of today's visit."
The students stopped at the William F. Dean Heritage Center for a final tour where they got a chance to see photographs taken during the Korean War.
"This is my first time in Korea," Courtney McLachlan, a freshman at Mount Holyoke College, said. "I wasn't expecting to see such a big military installation to be in place in the middle of a city. The trip here to Yongsan Garrison will definitely be something to remember."
The tour ended in the afternoon with students hopping onto a bus to return to their lodging at Korea University located in the northeastern part of Seoul.
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<div align="center"><a href="http://flickriver.com/photos/usag-yongsan/sets/72157621770255574/"><img src="http://flickriver.com/badge/user/set-72157621770255574/recent/shuffle/medium-horiz/ffffff/333333/25389429@N05.jpg" border="0" alt="usag.yongsan - View my 'Exchange students explore Yongsan' set on Flickriver" title="usag.yongsan - View my 'Exchange students explore Yongsan' set on Flickriver"/></a></div>