A Community Haven: The Itaewon Global Village Center
The Itaewon Global Village Center (IGVC) is a community center full of surprises in the heart of Seoul. Ready to take you away from the hustle and bustle of the vibrant shopping and energetic entertainment district below, this fifth floor cove offers a hideaway of activities, social opportunities and volunteering projects.
Having opened its door in 2008, the IGVC is one of seven centers around Seoul offering a primary program of activities aimed at the expat community. For those requiring legal advice, free service is available covering potential issues ranging from housing disputes to divorce proceedings. Katherine Corteza, the center manager, asks if those needing advice could send an initial email outlining the problem by the preceding Friday, then a drop-in appointment or electronic response can be arranged.
Additionally, the popularity of the center’s Korean Language program has prompted demand for language exchange sessions. The service caters for all nationalities, inviting Spanish, Chinese and Russian exchanges, alongside the more common English and Korean collaborations. Katherine explains the program’s simplicity as language exchange partners make requests to the center who then match up potential candidates to meet at the IGVC which can often result in long-term friendships as well.
Away from Itaewon, the center also coordinates monthly volunteering sessions, at the Yongsan Center for the Disabled, the Yongsan Senior Welfare Center and the Young Nak Aenea’s Home for Children. Each month, the center leads a 6-10 strong volunteering group for one hour sessions in each location, to aid the residents in completing projects, day-to-day tasks or simply chat. Katherine explains how these long running volunteering projects are integral to the center’s community ethos and is always looking to welcome new members. In addition, IGVC are also interested to hear from potential Volunteer leaders who would liaise and coordinate with other members on the monthly meets to help serve the local organisations.
The Itaewon center also offers a varied cultural program, changing activities each month. May brings a full Friday program of classes including Korean cooking, Art classes, Jewelry Box making, Flower Arrangement and Hanji Craft sessions. As most classes take place at the center’s 20-person seminar room, Katherine stresses that pre-registration for most classes is highly recommended.
The IGVC is a multicultural and thriving center waiting to serve. Whether it’s to meet new friends, practice a language or volunteer in the community, the Itaewon Global Village is ready to make Seoul your home from home.
Class at a Glance…(all taking place at the Itaewon Global Village Center)
More Info: Events are mainly free. However fees for some classes range between 5,000-20,000 won. Check the website or Facebook page for more details.
Times: 9am-6pm (lunch break 12pm-1pm). Open Monday to Friday, except Public Holidays.
Address: 5f Hannam Building, 737-37 Hannam-dong, Yongsan-Gu, Seoul 140-893
Contact Info: 02 2199 8883-5/ 02 796 2460
Subway: Itaewon Station (Line 6, Exit 2)