All the staff at Gwangju International Center (GIC) have felt blessed by the enthusiastic support from the community, both local and international, during its preparations to move. Monetary contributions alone reached 10 million won (approximately US$10,000) in May. The “Save GIC Day” event raised another 10 million won on May 4, with more than 1,000 people taking part. The GIC will use the funds to cover the expenses to take care of the drawing and inspection of the process of renovation, which will be funded by the Gwangju City Government.
At the end of last year, the GIC was informed to leave its current location of 11 years in the Jeon-il Building, the fate of which is still in discussion. It may be torn down or undergo a complete renovation. After a lot of research and numerous visits, the GIC has finally decided to make Samho Center its new home. The building is located just 380 meters away or 6 minutes by walking on foot from its current location. It is conveniently close to multiple banks, bus stops and a subway station. The GIC’s space will increase by 30 percent. Moreover, the new office will occupy the first and second floors, which will give it a more strategic location for first-time visitors as well as its regulars.
The building’s first floor will be a community space, where programs, such as the GIC Talk, the GIC Counseling Service and the GIC Library, in the form of book-café, will be provided. The administrative offices will be located on the second floor, surrounded by seminar rooms and classrooms to be utilized for meetings and Korean language classes. With this layout, the GIC hopes to create a better working and sharing atmosphere with the community.
While looking for the place to move in, we painfully found that the rent is extremely high and that it is extremely difficult to meet the requirements of the Korean property market. And due to the uncertainty of funding, the plan to move was postponed until recently, when the City Hall decided to help us. The new building also will require two months for renovation before it is ready to house the GIC, its newest occupant. The earliest moving date is thus predicted to take place at the end of August.
The GIC will still need the help from the community for the move, including further fund-raising, interior-design expertise, vehicles to transfer items and even physical labor on the moving day. We are also planning to have “a Move GIC performance” from the current location to the new location. Please let the GIC know via e-mail at [email protected] about any areas you might be interested in! Thank you for your support again, and we are excited for what the future holds for the GIC, and what it will do next!!