Songdo, located alongside Incheon International Airport, is an unprecedented global, futuristic center of South Korea’s globalization efforts through which South Korea haste its compensation of its belated beginnings. A spark from which Korea is hoping to start a fire that will spread across the country, it is fueling the burning the old ideologies and creating a bare, platform for reformation from which a global country will grow. Such effects of eradication of old ideologies and move towards globalization are manifest in various forms in Korea-whether it be through increasing English comments in youtube and foreign lyrics in Kpop or Samsung’s growing collaboration with foreign companies.
As Songdo continues its spree towards globalization, it is now faced with another barrier, from which every effort rebounded, rendered meaningless - the barrier of language, which forced us to a screeching halt as foreigners began to face various difficulties and inconveniences in communication as a resident of Songdo such as daily announcements for apartments made only in Korean. Thus, as one can see, bridging the language barrier in Songdo is critical to Korea’s pursuit of integration into the world, and its long-hoped growth into an active member of the global, intercontinental network of countries.
One active manifest of Songdo’s such efforts to bridge the language barrier within the city is the G-Tower: a sleek, silver skyscraper penetrating the sky, proudly flourishing its global flags. The G-Tower is home to many restaurants, international businesses, banks, post offices, and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and North-East. Most importantly, it is the main source of support for foreigners in Songdo providing services ranging from free Korean classes to the introduction to Korean culture to bonding events for foreigners and the local citizens.
|[ The G-Tower: Song-do, Korea ]|
To partake in Songdo’s global development, students at Chadwick International Middle School’s English Language Help club volunteered their Thursdays to translate the local city’s website. They updated general and ongoing information on events that could interest the foreigners in Songdo.
|[ Chadwick International Middle School’s English Language Help Club Students ]|
Not only did our experience in translating for the city hone our language acquisition skills, but it also helped us to empathize with foreigners. We developed our understanding of foreigners in Songdo. With the help of our international teachers, we went through the process of selecting events that could benefit the foreigners. We placed ourselves entirely in their shoes considering their background, their language, and their motives for coming to Korea. Our international teachers at school helped us to choose the events.
Hence, our effort to bridge the language barrier helped us develop a much better understanding of their cultures, an open mind, and gave us hope of a day when people of various backgrounds and mindset come together as one in the global city of Songdo.
Sooyeon (Jean) Chun
Sooyeon (Jean) Chun firstname.lastname@example.org
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