Community centers there for USFK families
The Pyeongtaek International Exchange Foundation is a newly created organization designed to accommodate the increasing number of foreigners in the Songtan and Pyeongtaek areas.
“PIEF centers are meant to serve (U.S. Forces Korea) and their families, and to promote exchange and cooperation activities between them and Pyeongtaek citizens,” said Jee Yeon Han, PIEF Center manager. “USFK and families are always welcome here.”
The foundation’s objective is to offer support to foreigners and to strengthen intercultural relations through its international community centers. The Paengseong Community Center in Pyeongtaek serves Camp Humphreys and the Songtan International Community Center focuses on Osan Air Base.
“We’re not an individual community center; rather, in 2014, Pyeongtaek city established a foundation, Pyeongtaek International Exchange Foundation,” to serve the whole region, stated Jee Yeon Han, PIEF general manager.
PIEF has divided its programs into three categories: Supporting Foreigners and U.S. Forces Korea personnel, Exchange and Cooperation, and Globalizing Citizens of Pyeongtaek, according to Han.
All of the programs support the foundation’s commitment to strengthening intercultural relations. A Korean language class is offered every week at the centers for $10 a month. They also offer Pyeongtaek city and culture tours. The culture tours may include topics such as learning Korean etiquette or how to create Korean handcrafts.
PIEF also hosts cooking classes, a culture exchange and a homestay program where people can have a international experience in their own homes. There is also a Korean-American kids’ summer school and a Korean-American English camp for youths.
There is so much that the PIEF offers, Han said, that there is likely something of interest for every foreigner. Whether single, married, or with children, the Songtan and Paengseong International Community Centers aim to cater to everyone.
“There are several international community centers in Korea, and usually, they are for supporting multicultural families,” Han said. “We are the only one whose main focus is in USFK and their families.”
The international community centers also have cooking rooms, ballrooms, concert venues and conference rooms available for rent.
The PIEF centers also welcome foreigners to volunteer their time to teach English.
Anyone can come, join in the activities, and learn more about Korean culture and tradition as a means to enrich their time in Songtan and Pyeongtaek, Han said.
The Paengseong Center can be reached at 031-692-4302 and the Songtan Center at 031-667-2353.
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