Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Seoul Info Fair Takes Root

05-10-2009 17:58 Seoul Info Fair Takes Root

Performers from various countries take part in a parade as a part of the Seoul Friendship Fair 2009 at Seoul Plaza, Sunday. Participants from more than 50 countries put on performances, food and traditional folk arts.
/ Korea Times Photo by Wang Tae-seok

Foreigners Glean Information; Locals Have Fun

By Kwon Mee-yoo
Staff Reporter

Seoul City hosted its 2009 Information Fair Sunday, providing foreigners with all kinds of valuable information needed for living here. First started in 2004, the latest annual event drew as many as 15,000 visitors.

``We hope the fair will help foreigners settle in the city smoothly and improve the overall foreigner-friendly environment,'' said Jason Kim, a Seoul Global Center official.

This year, a total of 62 booths were set up in front of the center in downtown Seoul, with participants ranging from public firms and non-profit organizations. Among the participants were the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea (EUCCK), Seoul International Women's Association (SIWA), the Overseas Chinese Women's Club in Korea, Amnesty G48, Asan Medical Center, Global Village Centers, Lotte World, Woori Bank and Arirang Taekwondo Club.

``In screening participants, foreign communities here and non-government organizations like Amnesty were given priority,'' Kim said.

The British Association of Seoul (BASS) joined the fair to promote its social activities and fundraising initiatives. ``It's difficult for us to get information here due to the language barrier, but this expo gave us a chance to exchange information,'' said association Vice President Regina Dixon, 44.

Emma Goulty, 26, an English teacher from England said she picked up useful information at the fair about chiropractic clinics and international moving services. ``I arrived here three months ago, but it was hard to find out about things,'' she said. ``I found what events are going on and the information I need here.''

Locals who attended said they enjoyed the event. Park Young-mi, 39, came to the fair with her children. ``My children tried on traditional Chinese costumes at the Yeonnam Global Village Center booth and they had a great fun,'' Park said.

Separately, the ``Seoul Friendship Fair 2009,'' a multicultural festival with performances, food and traditional folk arts, took place at Seoul Plaza.

Performance troupes from 15 cities, some 60 foreign embassies, tourist authorities, cultural centers and 11 international schools joined the festival to present various cultural experiences from around the world. The World Food Court offered visitors opportunities to taste traditional cuisine from more than 50 countries.

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