DAEGU, South Korea -- Senior leaders and sponsors from the Korean American Friendship Circle and 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command held their first leadership seminar April 30 through May 1 at the Hyundai Hotel in Gyeongju city.
During the two-day seminar, 27 college students represented their perspective KAFC groups while participating in the event.
Spearheaded by the 19th ESC G-9 section and Lt. Col. Chadbourne, 19th ESC G-3 and U.S. representative to the KAFC, the seminar focused on students taking a more active role during the semester.
"Previously, most events were focused around cultural exchanges, so this leadership seminar was developed to address the desires of the Korean university students participating in the KAFC program," said Chadbourne.
The leadership weekend began with team-building tours to the Pyeonghwa Automotive headquarters and Osawa Screw Grinding facility in Daegu. The PHA event marked the first time they opened their facilities for foreigners to tour.
"I hope through today's tour that we can help the relationship between the Korean universities and the U.S. Army," said Lee, Myoung-hyun, CEO of PHA.
Following the team-building tours, which involved meals and social time for participants to get to know each other, the group traveled to the Hyundai Hotel in Gyeongju city for the main part of the leadership seminar.
Students, sponsors and leaders settled in their rooms and then returned to a banquet hall for dinner and follow-on activities.
The leadership presentations that followed dinner covered areas such as understanding the American education system, overcoming fears when interacting with foreigners and exhibiting the right attitude to succeed.
"I understand what it's like to be in an environment that is overwhelming from my time traveling in Canada," said Ju, Jin-gyeong, student at Yeungnam University. "By sharing what I learned from my experiences, others will find courage and take initiative when meeting foreigners."
After the main presentations, Americans and Koreans split into separate areas in order to receive more focused mentorship. Students took turns sharing life experiences and participating in exercises to overcome being shy, while the American sponsors focused on how to improve the KAFC program.
"We wanted to give the students a new way to interact with Americans and the U.S. Army. I hope they are able to take away something useful back to their groups," said Dr. Kim, Bum-dae, president of KAFC.
Once the main portion of the seminar ended, everyone spent time exchanging contact information and participating in karaoke.
The final group activity for students, sponsors and leaders to participate in was a hike around a local trail, ending with group photos to commemorate the experience.
Everyone on the trip then gathered their belongings and met for one last meeting before returning to Daegu. The meeting gave students and leaders a chance to express their opinions on ways to improve future KAFC leadership seminars.
"I would probably have more student presentations and provide some read ahead materiel on the companies we are visiting, so the students could formulate better questions during the discussion period," Chadbourne said.
The next leadership seminar will be planned for the fall iteration of the 2011 KAFC program.