- 여행 트렌드: 여행에 사회적 '가치'를 담다
|▲ Students smiling with Kenyan children while doing volunteer work at a local school in Kenya|
Tourism experts suggested that the Korean tourism trend in 2019 is a ‘non-guided tour’. This analysis indicates the people’s demand for seeking their own means of travel, rather than just following the standardized travel routine. Only a few years ago, people wanted to visit famous tourist attractions with landmarks. However, since people’s interest and travel needs are diverse and changing, different types of travel have emerged. This trend is also shown in the styles of student travel. Some students try to do volunteer work in their travel destinations and others include places where disasters and historical tragedies have occurred in their itinerary. These kinds of tourism can have a positive social influence and contribute to the local community where tourists enjoy their trips. The Chonnam Tribune met Chonnam National University (CNU) students who made unique trips and introduces two types of tourism based on their special travel stories.
Volunteering While Traveling
The best way to directly contribute to a local society as a tourist while traveling is to do voluntourism. It is a combination of volunteer work with tourism that means tourists include short-term volunteering in their travel schedule. Volunteer work can be anything that is helpful for the local community. It can be Rescuing endangered animals or improving the living environment in developing countries. Voluntourism attracts many students’ interest because of the great merit of being able to travel while doing distinctive volunteer activities. Therefore, domestic and foreign organizations are developing related programs to offer opportunities for students.
CNU also operates overseas volunteering programs so that students can volunteer whilst traveling abroad. Chae Jeong-hun (Senior, Dept. of History), who did voluntourism in Kenya for 24 days via a program cooperated by CNU and International Work Camp, said that her volunteer work was mainly focused on sharing culture with local people. “I did farm work with locals at the communal farm and taught English to children at school. Since the village I was staying in was near the equator, I helped people build a bank at the back of the village because of the scorching climate.” She added that spending time with local children in a rural village in Kenya was a valuable experience.
|▲ Student with Nepalese children after making a paper hanbok in a paper folding class|
Shin Su-min (Junior, Division of Food Technology, Biotechnology and Agrochemistry) went on voluntourism to Nepal through CNU’s student-led overseas volunteer program. She and her team did volunteer work at a private school located in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal. She said, “Our work was to spend time with six to eight-year-old children at a school. We worked with children on nail art, paper folding, and Korean language classes.” They spent half of their trip in Nepal volunteering at the school. Shin said that she learned more from the students when she was staying with them in Nepal.
Even though voluntourism can be an unforgettable experience, however, there are also some difficult things in this style of travel. While students mostly visit a developing country to volunteer, the living environment is not as good as in Korea. Chae said, “It was not very easy to adapt in Africa for the first time. I suffered from mosquitos and lots of bugs, which is usual for people in Kenya. Moreover, it was impossible to take a shower every day in that hot weather.” She advised that for those who like staying in a clean cozy hotel, volunteering in Kenya can be a hard journey. Shin also had some difficult moments while staying in Nepal. “Mineral water in Nepal is not clean enough to drink. We could not drink free water from restaurants or hotels as mineral water in Nepal is not clean enough. Besides this, we experienced an earthquake there which was very terrifying.” Volunteering in a foreign country that has poor surroundings should be considered carefully. Sometimes the environment of the country can be a threatening one for Korean tourists to stay in depending on the situation. But still, it is true that voluntourism is a good way of making a memorable, meaningful travel experience for students to try.
Looking Back Dark History from Traveling
There are dark histories that a country contains. The history is often overshadowed by huge noble landmarks and attractions. But still, a dark memory is an important part of a country which should be remembered by future generations. Dark tourism is about visiting a place where natural or historical disasters have occurred and learning lessons from that. This tourism has its meaning in making us not let the same thing happen again and remind us of important history.
|▲ An apartment which is a symbol of the modernization of Japan in Hashima Island, Japan|
There are famous places where people can try dark tourism. As Korea has a history of being colonized by Japan and the independence movement was carried out around Russia, some cities in Asian countries may be a good place to carry out dark tourism for Koreans. Choi Min-seon (Sophomore, Dept. of English Language and Literature) who joined a program traveling to Russia for nine days said ”I participated in a program to visit historical sites related to independence fighters such as the Choi Jae-hyung Museum, and Ahn Jung-geun’s Finger Cutting Union Memorial. It was a trip to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the March 1 Independence Movement.” She also uttered that her dark tourism in Russia was a good way to remember Korean history that sometimes is forgotten by people.
Going to places where many Koreans were actually sacrificed can be meaningful dark tourism. Lee Yun-joo (Senior, Dept. of Japanese Language and Literature) who went to Hashima Island which is also called “Battleship Island” remarked, “I was feeling bad to think of the pain of Koreans who were drafted to work while looking around Hashima Island. Furthermore, the most frustrating thing is that Japanese guides were not explaining about their cruel aspects and were busy boasting about the modern facilities of the island.” By visiting the historical spots, we can face how our history is being treated by foreign countries and become critical about it. Dark tourism will lead people to think of what we should remember.
Dark tourism is a useful form of travel for students to build up knowledge of history by visiting historical places. Tourism can also be expected to have a positive social impact by increasing the level of interest in the history. Lee said, “The Hashima Island reminded me of the “Citizen Forum for Grandmothers” in Gwangju which is a civic group for Korean Women’s Volunteer Labour Corps. That made me feel close to the victims and I decided to learn more about the dark history of our country.” In addition, Choi gave a good tip to enjoy dark tourism. “I took some lectures about Korean history before leaving Korea. The historical knowledge certainly helped me better understand the sites I saw in Russia” When you are planning dark tourism, searching for some information about the historical relics before starting the trip might be helpful to fully enjoy your journey.
|▲ Inside the Choi Jae-hyung Museum in Ussuriysk, Russia|
The Rise of Travel Seeking for Social Values
A common thing of voluntourism and dark tourism is that both are expecting some favorable influences of travel. Voluntourism helps residents and dark tourism helps to cultivate people’s historical knowledge. In this regard, these two types of tourism can be seen as trips that create social values. Kang Shin-kyum (Professor, Graduate School of Culture) commented about the characteristics of the latest travel trend. “Recently, there is increasing interest in diverse tourisms so that we can experience various types of life and culture while at the same time interacting with local people. Unpopular places which were not considered as valuable tourism sites are getting their own meaning as new tourist attractions. Along with this trend, local communities are trying to develop specialized tour items that tourists can only experience in that specific region using the local resources.”
It is not difficult to do this kind of tourism; you can just include it as part of your schedule in your travel plan. A Tribune reporter visited the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris as a part of dark tourism this summer. Watching the cathedral, where a third of the ceilings were destroyed in the fire, the reporter mourned the damage to one of the world’s most valuable historical relics. It was also possible to sympathize with those Parisians who loved the Gothic cathedral. But that whole journey took less than an hour. By doing something like this, such small efforts will create a socially meaningful trip.
By Lee So-hyun, Student Editor
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