U.S. Soldiers Form New Friendships with Korean Students
By Ms. Do, Mi-riJuly 10, 2016
Soldiers from 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command and students from Kyungpook National University participated in the 5th iteration of 19th ESC's Korea Less Traveled Program, a cultural awareness pilot program, from April 1 to June 2.Team 19 Soldiers and KNU students met for the first time at the opening ceremony on April 1. On that day, teams were paired and given the 'KNU Challenge.' Challenge examples include taking a picture with the KNU flag and meeting an international exchange student. Soldiers and their partners communicated with each other and became closer after going around campus to complete their team's mission.On April 23, Soldiers and their partners met again for the 'Daegu Challenge.' A couple missions for this challenge included finding a Galaxy S7 and finding something "shocking." Wandering around every corner of Dongseongno Street, groups actively accomplished their team mission while sightseeing downtown and experiencing Korean food such as "tteok-bok-ki" and "ho-tteok".In addition to the previous missions, each team had to make a travel plan that would cover aspects of the Korean culture and Korean society."I traveled to Seoul with my partner. I talked with other Korean people, and my partner introduced me the Korean culture. I tried on the traditional clothing and tried traditional foods like raw crab and raw octopus. We also watched a Korean movie and did some shopping. Seoul was awesome," said Pvt. Kasandra M. Hodges, 19th ESC Headquarters and Headquarters Command, human resources specialist.The 5th iteration of the KLT program came to a close at KNU on June 2.
Reflecting on the experiences with her partner, Hodeges added "The KLT program was the best experience that I have had. I feel like I found a great friend. This program taught me to be more open minded when meeting foreigners. My partner is like a sister to me.""For me, one of the most memorable experiences was visiting the US Army base, Camp Henry. I realized that my partner is a real soldier, and I was in an army base. As a girl in Korea, I have never thought about military things. It was very special for me to experience something unusual through my partner's job," said So-hee Ha, a Kyungpook National University student and Hodges's KLT partner.