Taegu families open their homes to culture-seeking servicemembers
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — U.S. soldiers in Taegu, South Korea, will get a close-up look at South Korean home life Saturday as dinner guests of local families who’ve volunteered to show their culture to Americans.
Taegu city officials sponsor the event, in which 15 South Korean families will host dinners with two soldiers each.
“You actually get to go into somebody’s home, get to know the host nation a little better, get to know the culture better,” said Maj. Thomas Shrader, public affairs chief for the 19th Theater Support Command, the peninsula’s major Army logistics unit. “The soldiers will … have fun and get to know something about the Korean culture and the Korean people.”
This is the first such event Taegu’s city government has organized, said No Won- hyon, the support command’s community relations officer.
The families and soldiers are to gather at Taegu city hall at 2 p.m. Saturday for remarks from Mayor Cho Hae-nyoung, No said. Some families will take the soldiers for a tour of cultural and other points of interest around the city. All are to spend the evening over dinner.
“After dinner,” No said, “they enjoy just talking … so many different conversations” focused on Korean history, culture and customs. “They don’t talk about politics or about sensitive issues.”
Staff Sgt. William Dorofy was quick to volunteer for a visit.
“I figure the Army’s sending me to different countries. … While I’m there I’d like to make the most of it,” said Dorofy, 31, a movement supervisor with the 665th Movement Control Team, 25th Transportation Battalion, at Camp Henry. “I’m here and I want to learn what everyone here is like.”
Dorofy said he’ll also likely compare parenting notes with his hosts. “I’m sure they’re as much interested in the way we live and the way we have our families, as I’d be interested in them and the way they raise their children,” he said.
“They really don’t get to see us, and this is a very good opportunity for both soldiers and the people here.”