“Knowing foreign languages opens new doors and creates incredible opportunities”
• • • Interview with Lea Moreau, a French and Korean civil servant in Sunchang • • •
Q: Please introduce yourself briefly.
A: My name is Lea Moreau. I’m originally from Lyon, France and I’ve been living in South Korea for the past five and a half years. I’m currently a civil servant in charge of tourism promotion for Sunchang.
Q: Please tell us what you do in Korea?
A: I worked for 3 years in different places, in Gwangju as an assistant manager in a guesthouse and travel café, in Geoje-do as an assistant manager in the Okpo International Culture Center, and then, I moved here 2 years ago to work in the tourism promotion sector. I work as a tour guide for our City Bus Tour, promoting Sunchang’s main attractions in Korean, English, and French, whilst creating partnerships with our counterparts abroad.
Q: What brought you to Korea?
A: A long time ago when I visited my grandfather’s house, I discovered books about North and South Korea. From then, I became passionate about Korean history, cultural heritage. Through the years, little by little, I started to watch Korean movies, eating Korean food, and making Korean friends. At the end of my bachelor degree, I got a great opportunity to do a 6 month internship in a guesthouse and travel café in Gwangju (Jeollanam-do). Thanks to Pedro Kim (my boss at the time) I have fallen in love with Jeolla province! This is the reason I decided to stay in Korea, to promote Jeolla province and attract more foreigners to visit this part of Korean!
Q: Are you happy with your life in Korea? What is your favorite Korean food and Korean culture?
A: Yes, I am. I have a stable job, my own apartment, and I also live a peaceful and stress-free life most of the time. The food is great most of the time. My favorite food is samgyetang and gochujang bulgogi, because I find them both healthy and really delicious. My favorite part of Korean culture is the beautiful architecture of Korean temples and obang or five colors, associating the five elements in Korean society.
Q: Please tell us about Sunchang.
A: Sunchang is a beautiful city located in Jeollabuk-do province. It’s surrounded by beautiful mountains and has some of the purest water in the country. Thanks to the Seomjingang River, Sunchang has delicious fruits and vegetables and it is also one of the reasons why Sunchang gochujang is so delicious! Our city bus tour allows tourists to visit the main attractions including Gangcheonsan County Park, Sunchang Fermented Sauce Museum, Traditional Gochujang Village, and the 270m-long Chaegyesan suspended bridge.
Q: What do you think about education for the multicultural family in Sunchang and in Korea in general?
A: I know that the Korean government offers special programs for multicultural families to acquire basic knowledge of Korean language and culture. With the help of these programs, they can integrate easily into Korean society. In the multicultural family support centers across the country, they can get direct help and information and attend the training programs for adapting themselves to Korean society and getting jobs. As of 2019, 218 multicultural family centers are available.
Q: How did you get such a wonderful command of Korean?
A: Honestly, I couldn’t speak Korean at all when I first came here. So I just began to learn the basics of the Korean language. After arriving here, I was immersed in Korean language and culture, and I started to learn more and more expressions. Before I moved to Korea, I already had a lot of Korean friends whom I had met during my travels. They all kindly introduced me to Korean culture and taught me important aspects of Korean society. I think the best way to learn any foreign language is to meet locals and surround ourselves with native speakers. Other very helpful strategies were watching lots of Korean movies, reading books and listening to music. These things will dramatically improve your language skills.
Q: What do you think about the controversies over distortion of our traditional culture such as kimchi and hanbok?
A: I don’t want to take any political side, but Korea has been doing great so far to promote its national culture. I think more and more people are beginning to learn about Korean culture by watching TV programs and movies. I think you should keep promoting Korean culture by creating promotional videos or movies, fashion shows featuring Korean clothing such as hanbok, and inviting guests or famous chefs from around the world to visit. These will be the best way to promote Korean food and culture.
Q: Are there any similar cases of historical distortion in France?
A: Yes, I think there are some cases of distortion in the historical facts between France and some African countries because we invaded and colonized many countries in the era of the French colonial empires. Some historical facts were modified for the sake of France. I know France apologized about some of its actions, but I’m not really qualified to talk about it. I left my country almost 10 years ago.
Q: Is there any culture of ours you’d like to tell us to keep in particular?
A: Yes. If possible, I would love to learn Korean traditional temple food and enjoy a healthy diet and seasonal food. Also, I think Korean hanok architecture is a beautiful heritage we should preserve and keep its legacy alive. I would love to build a traditional hanok house in France or in another country.
Q: Lastly, what message would you like to leave for our young readers?
A: I think it’s very important to learn English and other languages. Knowing foreign languages opens new doors and creates incredible opportunities. I think it’s also a beautiful way to meet new friends, connect with others, and understand other cultures. We are living in the open world of global society. With the increasing use of communication technologies and greater opportunities for international travel and exchange, having a good command of foreign languages is essential for you. It creates a new vision for your lives and at work. It will really open-up your horizon.
67th Edition of Monday Times (September 27, 2021)
<저작권자 ⓒ 먼데이타임스 무단전재 및 재배포 금지>
많이 본 기사