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My First Korea Heritage Guide Training Program
Written by Andrew Sung | Published. 2019.07.08 22:12 | Count : 348

I took part in a 6 month training program to ready myself for the final challenge that I have to face by the end of this month. It is to be a tour guide for the famous Gyeongbokgung Palace. If all my test scores and teacher assessments pass the given standard by the end of this month, I will be able to work as a student tour guide for foreign visitors at the palace. After applying for the program, the trainees have to take a test on English and knowledge on the palaces of Korea. After that, we go into a 6 month training program in which we thoroughly study and memorize every single building in Gyeongbokgung palace. Though I was intimidated at first by the sheer amount of things I had to learn, the thought that I will be able to use all this knowledge soon gave me the strength to keep going. During these 6 months, our group of trainees met with the teacher every other week at the palace to study these matters as well as to practice speaking in front of an audience. These meeting were very time consuming, which was very hard for me to balance this training with my other schedules. So rather than thinking of individual meetings as a burden, I considered them to be a great time to escape from the busy city life and a chance to further improve my speaking skills. As time passed, we all became skillful at the art of captivating the audience while also becoming familiar with all the sectors of the palace.

[photo of the area that I had to explain for the final evaluation, the Geunjungjeon hall.
Photo taken by me, Andrew Sung]

Now the dreaded time has fallen upon our group. The final teacher assessment is the last training course and this decides whether or not we are qualified to participate in this program. The trainees have to successfully explain a given area of the palace to a foreigner while the teacher evaluates every factor of the explanation process. The only safety net we get is the second chance in case you fail. If we fail once again, we have to go straight back to the start of the training program and do it all over again. This fact proved to be a very terrifying aspect of the final assessment. Surprisingly, although some people were nervous at first, we all explained our area calmly and everyone was satisfied with how their assessment went. What I realized during this last evaluation was rather striking for me. Even though there is no material reward or gain for being a tour guide, I found myself enjoying the job. If I do happen to get accepted into the program, I will be able to meet with new foreigners regularly. Also I will be able to attain a sense of achievement and fulfillment, thinking that I am doing my part to spread our proud culture. Through this experience I clearly decided that my future aspiration would be to work with people of all kinds of nationalities in whatever fields.  

[photos of me in the middle of my final evaluation in front of the teacher and a foreign listener.
Photo by lee mi young]



Andrew Sung 
9th grade
Yeoksam Middle School

Andrew Sung  student_reporter@dherald.com

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