Promoting Korea in the Philippines through volunteering

Living abroad is no excuse to not support Korea. In fact, the love Filipinos have for Korea is extremely evident through the number of K-pop concerts and related cultural events that take place across the Philippines. Small or large, the effort to continuously engage more Filipinos with Korean music, TV shows and art is a big help to boost collaborative learning and cultural exchanges.

As we sail through the long journey of learning what Korea has to offer, getting more people on board with us in connecting to the Land of the Morning Calm is a wonderful thought. Here are a few suggestions as to how you could personally step up your experience by means of not just attending events but helping in the promotion of Korean events in your own country. This way, you can also share your talent and passion for all things Korean! All these exciting experiences await you, so don’t hesitate to join in! Who knows? You might see yourself at the next volunteering event downtown!

Culture junkie

The Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines (KCC) offers its enthusiasts a program that takes their love for Korea one step higher by giving them a chance to help in the promotion of KCC events. "The Krew," the name for the official supporters team at the KCC, provides its members with a wide array of first-hand experiences by helping out at major and minor events. There are three major roles for the Krew: as event volunteers, as bloggers and with the media. The KCC gives the volunteers a task that perfectly fits their talents and interests.

Furthermore, since the center is run by the Korean government, there are times that they ask for help from the KCC for manpower, thus giving the volunteers more opportunities to experience and learn about Korea via immersion activities.

One of the KCC’s recent events was the 'Culture Caravan.' It's the KCC’s way of promoting Korea through small-scale events at schools and universities.

Social media kings and queens

I’ve never been to Korea, but I can tell you a lot about its rich history, traditions and popular sites. This is what we basically do as "Wow Korea Supporters" at the Korea Tourism Organization in Manila. Yearly, the organization selects active social media users to be part of their program, giving them the task of promoting what Korea has to offer for travelers. In return, active users are given the chance to attend prominent events, and maybe even win a trip to Korea! 

Aside from having the chance to promote Korea online, my friends and I get the chance to watch a concert by the K-pop sensation BTS in the Philippines as a Wow Korea Supporter!

Strengthening the popularity of Korean media

Fan clubs, whether big or small, undeniably contribute to the promotion of Korean music and TV shows, giving them a chance to toughen up their game in the Philippines. One little way to help a fan club is by supporting its projects. This is also a way of spreading news about Korea without people noticing it that much. Before you know it, you've influenced more people than you thought! Trust me on this! This system really work.

Rockin' an event with the biggest organization dedicated to K-pop! The chance to volunteer at the Philippine K-pop Convention Inc. is a great experience!

Breaking barriers

Learning Hangeul (한글) would definitely break barriers between your native tongue and Korean. It played a big role in helping non-Korean K-pop fans understand their favorite lyrics and shows. Who wouldn’t like to watch Korean TV without subtitles?

Since I'm studying Korean, too, the best way for me to practice the language is by translating for my favorite groups. Handling an online fan page is a good try. Also, as my way of helping with the promotion of the Korean language, I volunteer as a student teacher for some Korean classes. This is also where I improve my skills in the Korean language, as I get to talk a lot with the Korean teachers.

Just a quick snap of our regular Saturday class. Aside from language classes, students also have the chance to enjoy classes about taekwondo, singing Korean pop songs, and Korean cooking.

Bridging gaps

Your talent is a means of supporting Korea in the biggest or smallest way possible. Communication is one way to do this. However, if you aren’t confident enough with your grasp of Korean or if you're not too confident with your word play, why not use other means of volunteering? One good example is art, photography or media.

Aside from cheering for my friend, this is my shot as a volunteer photographer for the Global Taste of Korea event.

Moreover, the act of volunteering itself gives you a sense of fulfillment and widens your horizons and perspective. Activities differ from one country to another, so make sure to have an eye on your local organizations. As I've experienced most of them, I can guarantee that as you accomplish something, a different kind of joy at each activity, and the experience is truly priceless.

By Mari Mikhaela Javier Honorary Reporter