Yeongam Wangin Culture Festival

Written and photographed by Muhammadolim Alimov

What do you think: where do people usually make their best friends? Children and the younger generation may say it’s while playing together or studying in class. However, people can make new friends anywhere. And if you ask me, I say people become best friends when they work together. By working together as one team, you can get to know your partner better – you can get to know his or her character, habits, and so on. People who work as a team and in the same place can attest that their colleagues become their best friends.

GFN (Gwangju Foreign Network) radio cares about connecting people, not only Koreans but also international students and other visitors to Korea. Every year, GFN arranges interesting social activities and competitions that motivate people to make new friends. In these competitions, people are required to form groups in order to take part in these fantastic events. One of these events is the “Amazing Race,” which is held annually by GFN’s hardworking staff.

On April 9 of this year, a Sunday, GFN staged an event at Yeongam Wangin, to add another attractive element to the cherry blossom festival. This event was GFN’s “The Amazing Race 2017,” part of the “Yeongam Wangin Culture Festival” this year. Personally, it was my second time to participate in this amazing festival. People who have never heard of this event may be confused, for how can a race be amazing? Let me explain this interesting event in detail.

Firstly, there are no age limitations. I personally became friends with participants who are around 40 years old. They also enjoyed the race as children do. Secondly, no one asks your nationality or where you are from. This is one point of how the organizers are tolerant and hospitable. So, everyone can make groups with many different people from various backgrounds and name their team as they want.

Thirty teams took part in this festival. Team members consisted of many different nationalities, including Korean, Chinese, Malaysian, Pakistani, Uzbek, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Russian, American, Dutch, Czech, French, Indian, and other students from all over the world. Our team consisted of four people of four different nationalities: Arjun Pillay from Malaysia, Kim Ederveen from the Netherlands, Kim Seungha from Korea, and myself from Uzbekistan. We called our team “Not Fast, Just Furious.”

What do the teams usually do during the festival? They have to do different, interesting tasks that they weren’t told about in advance. This is also one of the tricks of the race that makes the event so amazing. They didn’t even give us the details of the tasks that we had to do. They only gave us a map of the territory of the festival. The first task was to find a list of the tasks. And then they gave us only one hour to complete all the tasks listed. Therefore, to be successful in the competition, participants had to run. Otherwise, they would not have enough time to finish all of the tasks. Participants could not only enjoy the race itself, but could earn some money as well. First prize was 300,000 won. There were prizes for second, third, and fourth places, too. If the number of participants in the Amazing Race exceeded 150 people, the number of visitors and guests at the event was approximately 20 times greater. Moreover, there was a street theater performance that depicted the history of the Baekje Kingdom. The performers sang traditional Korean songs that inspired everyone.

In the competition, when we found the list of tasks, we realized that there were 20 tasks that we were supposed to finish in one hour! These tasks were to take a team picture, to count from 1 to 10 in one breathe as a group, to climb a hill that was 20 meters high and to sing the ABC song as a team at the top, to do several traditional games, to catch a fish, to jump 10 times, to make sugar candy, and other different amazing games. The most significant and amazing part of the festival was that we did all of these tasks as a team, all together. Participants were provided with single-color T-shirts, different colors to differentiate the teams. While the team members were running around, the different colors made the scene more attractive and livelier. Guests also enjoyed watching us and how we were playing, working, and enjoying, all at the same time.

At the end of the festival, there was a parade for all of the participants in the festival, including the dancers and singers. Near the lake, the winners were given prizes, and a photo of all of the participants was taken. The Uzbek students of Chonnam National University took first prize. Prizes were only for motivation. Even those who didn’t place in the race really enjoyed the festival; it was amazing. We made so many new friends thanks to the festival and thanks to GFN.

By the way, GFN is planning to arrange another festival next month, a photography event. New adventures await us again. Living in Korea is indeed amazing!

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