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Airmen, Soldiers embrace Korean culture

A performer showcases acrobatics on a tightrope at the Korean Folk Village, Yongin, Republic of Korea, Nov. 13, 2018. The Korean Folk Village was the last stop of the Head Start Program, which included two days of informational classes and hands-on experiences around the Gyeonggi Province of South Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

A performer showcases acrobatics on a tightrope at the Korean Folk Village, Yongin, Republic of Korea, Nov. 13, 2018. The Korean Folk Village was the last stop of the Head Start Program, which included two days of informational classes and hands-on experiences around the Gyeonggi Province of South Korea. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

Members of the U.S. armed forces and their dependents listen as a speaker gives the history of the Head Start Program at Pyeongtaek University, Pyeongtaek, Republic of Korea, Nov. 12, 2018. The Head Start Program gives ROK newcomers an introduction to Korean history, culture, customs and language. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

Members of the U.S. armed forces and their dependents listen as a speaker gives the history of the Head Start Program at Pyeongtaek University, Pyeongtaek, Republic of Korea, Nov. 12, 2018. The Head Start Program gives ROK newcomers an introduction to Korean history, culture, customs and language. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

A local guide teaches children from U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, Republic of Korea how to play yut, a traditional Korean board game, at the Korean Folk Village, Yongin, ROK, Nov. 13, 2018. In addition to visiting the Korean Folk Village, participants in the two-day Head Start Program attended classes about the history, culture and language of South Korea and received a hands-on demonstration of the public transportation system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

A local guide teaches children from U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys, Republic of Korea how to play yut, a traditional Korean board game, at the Korean Folk Village, Yongin, ROK, Nov. 13, 2018. In addition to visiting the Korean Folk Village, participants in the two-day Head Start Program attended classes about the history, culture and language of South Korea and received a hands-on demonstration of the public transportation system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

Children from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea learn how to make kimbap during the Head Start Program at Pyeongtaek University, Pyeongtaek, ROK, Nov. 13, 2018. The program aims to improve the quality of life for service members, their dependents and civilians stationed in the ROK by teaching them about Korean society, culture and the history of the U.S.-ROK alliance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

Children from Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea learn how to make kimbap during the Head Start Program at Pyeongtaek University, Pyeongtaek, ROK, Nov. 13, 2018. The program aims to improve the quality of life for service members, their dependents and civilians stationed in the ROK by teaching them about Korean society, culture and the history of the U.S.-ROK alliance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

Members of Team Osan, along with local guides, enjoy a Korean lunch during the Head Start Program in Pyeongtaek, Republic of Korea, Nov. 11, 2018. The two-day program is designed to give ROK newcomers a first-hand look at Korean customs and culture, as well as imparting helpful information such as local laws. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

Members of Team Osan, along with local guides, enjoy a Korean lunch during the Head Start Program in Pyeongtaek, Republic of Korea, Nov. 11, 2018. The two-day program is designed to give ROK newcomers a first-hand look at Korean customs and culture, as well as imparting helpful information such as local laws. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kelsey Tucker)

PYEONGTAEK, Republic of Korea -- U.S. service members and families assigned to Osan Air Base and U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys met at Pyeongtaek University, Pyeongtaek, Republic of Korea to participate in the Korean Immersion Program, also known as the Head Start Program, Nov. 12 and 13, 2018.

The free program was created in 2006 to welcome newly stationed service members and their families to the ROK and provide information to guide them through their time in the country.

“This is better than any briefing I've been to as far as Korea and getting yourself situated,” said Christi Cline, a U.S. Army spouse from Camp Humphreys. “The first week we were here nobody really explained the bus system. We just got on one and tried to make our way, and it didn't really come out very well.

“During the program we had the experience of someone actually walking with you and showing you how you do it.”

The program takes place over two days, with classes on subjects such as Korean culture, customs and language, followed by hands-on demonstrations of the public transportation system and making kimbap. At the end of the second day, participants are taken to the Korean Folk Village in Yongin, ROK, to experience the history in the form of displays, performances and architecture.

“The way they showed it to us was very beneficial,” said Airman 1st Class Zachary Baker, a weapons maintenance apprentice with the 51st Munitions Squadron. “It opened up more things I didn't know the country had to offer. I would highly recommend it, it was a great experience and I think everyone should do it.”

The next iteration of the program will be held November 29-30 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and is considered an alternate duty location for participating service members. For more information and to sign up for the program, contact Chet Garretson at DSN (315) 784-9892 at Osan Air Base, or Army Community Service at DSN (315) 757-2363/2372 at Camp Humphreys.