By Andrew Sharbel, Belvoir EagleApril 29, 2010
FORT BELVOIR, Va. - Relocating to a different country for the first time can be a difficult time for any Soldier and their family.
A new language, new customs, new culture and new home can be stressful for military families.
At Fort Belvoir, Army Community Service aims to ease that stressful transition by holding seminars for Soldiers who are undergoing a permanent change of station.
Tammye Braddy, program manager for relocation readiness, explained how the seminars help Soldiers going overseas.
"This seminar is designed for first-time Soldiers going overseas to give them the basic information like where to start, what is offered and to tell them a little about the culture," Braddy said. "From my experiences with my husband's PCS to Germany, it was a scary thought because nobody spoke English and my husband wasn't there yet and I couldn't use the phone, either.
"Our goal is to let these people know that it's a nice atmosphere, they are going to be fine and the Army has these things set up for them to make this an easy transition," Braddy said.
The program has regularly scheduled classes about traditions, culture and life for Soldiers and families moving to Korea or Germany. Classes for Hawaii and Japan are also available upon request.
Each session covers information ranging from how to get a driver's license to family housing and recreational opportunities.
Spc. Sungho Hong is a Soldier getting ready to PCS to Korea as a hometown recruiter, after recently completing his Advanced Individual Training.
Hong's family will follow him to Korea, and, even though he spent 30 years of his life there, he still had plenty of questions about U.S. military life in his native country.
"I have a lot of problems because I cannot speak English as well. It was difficult for me to ask questions while in the AIT briefing, because there was a large group of us," Hong said. "But, this seminar has allowed me to ask the necessary questions and get the right answers in a one-on-one session. It has better prepared me for life overseas."
For more information or to sign up for any of these classes, call 703-805-5058 or e-mail Relocation@conus. army.mil.
Welcome to Germany classes are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. May 20 and June 17. Welcome to Korea classes are at 1:30 p.m. May 27 and June 24.
Classes are at ACS, 9800 Belvoir Rd., Bldg. 200.
Information is available by calling ACS Relocation Readiness Team, 703-805-5058 or 3436.