April 27, 2014
By Pfc. Song Gun-woo (2d ID)
DONGDUCHEON, South Korea -- Soldiers from 2nd Infantry Division joined community members from Kyungmin University in the opening ceremony of the Head Start Program in Uijeongbu, South Korea March 19, 2014.
"Shinhan University in Dongducheon also held its opening ceremony for the program March 11, welcoming new Soldiers to the program.
The Head Start Program is designed to help U.S. Soldiers understand and learn the Korean culture. The three-day course includes the history of the ROK-U.S. Alliance, basic Korean language and history, and cultural topics such as Taekwondo and calligraphy.
"It's a great introduction to Korea," said Maj. Grant Brayley, from Toronto, Ohio, the information operations officer for 210th Field Artillery Brigade, 2nd Inf. Div. "It can help incoming Soldiers understand the Korean culture."
The ceremonies highlighted the enduring partnership between the 2nd Inf. Div. and its Korean allies.
"Shinhan University successfully performed the Head Start program last year with over 400 U.S. Soldiers in cooperation with Gyeonggi-do," said Dr. Kim Byung-ok, the president of Shinhan University. "By the same token, the scale of the training is further expanded this year and participants will increase over 1,700."
Yoon Chun-mo, Kyungmin University Dean of the Institute of International Education, highlighted the program's role in introducing the importance of the ROK-U.S. alliance.
"Through this program, you will know the significance of the alliance between the two countries and how important your service is in Korea," he said.
For Pvt. Xavier Jenkins, from Tampa Bay, Fla., the program helps him understand the culture of Korea.
"I'm learning how to conduct myself within the modern society of Korea and how to get along with the civilians," said Jenkins, a signal support system specialist assigned to 579th Forward Signal Company, 70th Brigade Support Battalion, 210th FA Bde. "I strongly believe if Soldiers continue to participate in this program it will continue to build a stronger relationship with the two countries."
The program is held weekly beginning in March and continues through December. Professors and faculty members from the universities, as well as instructors from the local community, teach the classes.