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First lady meets Vietnamese students

(Source: Cheong Wa Dae)

Seoul l March 8, 2018

First lady Kim Jung-sook invited a group of Vietnamese students studying in Korea to Cheong Wa Dae to talk with them over lunch and to share with them some words of encouragement.

The lunch meeting was arranged in line with President Moon Jae-in and the first lady’s upcoming state visit to Hanoi from March 22 to 24.

Sixteen students attended the luncheon on March 8 in the main Inwangsil building on the Cheong Wa Dae compound. They`re majoring in a variety of academic fields, spanning tourism, construction, pharmacy, environmental policies and business, through to literature, energy engineering, language engineering, and the information and electronics industries.

First lady Kim Jung-sook gives a tour of the presidential mansion to a group of 16 Vietnamese students, at Cheong Wa Dae on March 8. (Cheong Wa Dae)

“The reasons and purposes for your decision to come and study in Korea all vary, but I really hope that each of you will have great experiences and memories here, and also learn more,” said the first lady during the lunch. “I know you must have things that have disappointed you during your stay here, but as first lady of the country, I will keep working to make Korea a better nation where you can find more memorable experiences.”

The first lady went on to say that, “Just as there is the Korean Wave, or Hallyu, in your country, there’s great hunger for all things Vietnamese here in Korea, too, as many people here quite like Vietnam and want to learn more about your country. I mean, even my daughter and I often go for Vietnamese rice noodles and bun cha.”

First lady Kim Jung-sook speaks during a luncheon with Vietnamese students in Korea, at Cheong Wa Dae on March 8. (Cheong Wa Dae)

Mentioning Park Hang-seo, the head coach of Vietnam’s national football team who helped to make Vietnamese football so successful, the first lady said, “Soccer has brought our two countries closer than ever before. Just as Park serves as a bridge between our two countries, I hope you will all become a bridge, too, connecting the traditions, history and academic institutions in our two countries,” she added.

Vietnamese students studying in Korea pose for a commemorative photo in front of the Sangchunjae Hall at Cheong Wa Dae before a lunch with first lady Kim Jung-sook on March 8. (Jeon Han)

Ta Le Huyen, a 27-year-old student getting her master’s in tourism at Kyung Hee University, introduced herself as the first lady’s much younger junior, pointing out that Kim attended the same university. “Being here today will be one of the moments that we’ll never forget no matter how long we live. Hopefully, the Korea-Vietnam friendship will continue to grow as it has over the past many years,” she said.

Le Nguyen Minh Phuong, 32, in a language engineering Ph.D. course at Yonsei University, said, “I told the first lady about what needs to be done to improve the lives of Vietnamese residents in Korea, including multi-cultural families. She listened carefully to me and shared her insight on the problems that we face. I take this opportunity to ask the Korean government to make more efforts to better the lives of Vietnamese residents here,” she added.

First lady Kim Jung-sook shows Vietnamese students around her offices, at Cheong Wa Dae on March 8. (Cheong Wa Dae)

“I felt really nervous, as she`s the first lady, but I soon found her very friendly and easygoing. She’s like a next-door neighbor. I felt comfortable and very close to the first lady,” said Nguyen Thi Thanh Mai, a 29-year-old graduate student majoring in international trade at Kangwon National University.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s three major news channels -- Vietnam Television (VTV), Hanoi TV (HN) and the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) -- were also at Cheong Wa Dae covering the lunch meeting between the first lady and the students. Their news coverage will be broadcast on March 20.(Cheong Wa Dae)

Kim Sua  edt@koreapost.com

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