This school year, three motivated UCLA students decided to study in South Korea through the UCLA Education Abroad Program in order to further their perspective on global education and world issues. Throughout their program at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, Ty Hopp, Joshua St. Clair, and David Ramirez have not only been pursuing education, but also taking to heart the True Bruin Value of Service.
Volunteering is not new to these students, as they have been actively involved in service organizations while studying on the UCLA campus.
Yonsei University Yonsei University
Ty Hopp has led UCLA Volunteer Center projects as a part of the Volunteer Leadership Program, taught English through the UCLA Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars’ American Culture and Conversation Program, and volunteered as a referee and mentor with the American Youth Soccer Organization. Ty is a member of the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society, and he is currently interning with the Department of State’s Virtual Student Foreign Service program to help bring American volunteers to teach English in eastern Borneo, Indonesia. Ty’s view on service is that everyone deserves to be loved and that volunteering is his way of giving back. After his time at UCLA, Ty would like to join the U.S. Air Force as an Intelligence Officer or continue doing service within the Peace Corps.
Joshua St. Clair is a third year Computer Science major involved with Liberty in North Korea (LINK) at UCLA, an organization that is dedicated to bringing awareness of the North Korean crisis to the UCLA community and fundraising in order to rescue refugees. Josh loves to serve others, and after graduating from UCLA, he plans on working in the Computer Science field.
Joshua St. Clair and student
The third student is David Ramirez, a fourth year double majoring in Political Science and Chinese. Locally, David volunteers with buildOn at UCLA, a nonprofit that raises funds to build primary schools in developing countries. David traveled to Nicaragua with buildOn this past summer in order to participate in the construction of a school’s foundation for which he had fundraised. David also serves as a camp counselor with UCLA UniCamp, a program that brings underserved students youth from low-income families to summer camp.
Ty Hopp, Joshua St. Clair, and David Ramirez are interested in making a difference not only on a local level, but also internationally. The UCLA trio is currently volunteering at Yonsei University with People for Successful COrean REunification (PSCORE), an organization located in South Korea that advocates for the rights of North Koreans. PSCORE’s mission is completed with the help of mentoring programs, human rights and democracy programs, as well as tutoring programs. PSCORE also provides aid to North Korean refugees and believes in helping these individuals become empowered and self-sufficient. Ty, Joshua, and David participate in the English tutoring programs, where they meet with young student refugees on a weekly basis and help tutor them in English pronunciation, reading comprehension, and grammar. David says of his experience with PSCORE: “Seeing someone smile because you made a difference in their life is priceless.”
David Ramirez, Ty Hopp, and student David Ramirez and student
These students hope that from their experience, they can help bring awareness to others about the struggles of North Korea and show that volunteering only requires a willingness to serve. Their hope is that reading about their experience might inspire other Bruins to take their service global. The ethos of service at UCLA is incredible, and inspiration can happen daily just by walking around campus; there are many programs that students can participate in to serve abroad. Ty, Joshua, and David want to inspire others to take that next step in their service journey. As Joshua states, “I hope others realize that they are never under-qualified to serve; as long as they have the heart for it, they can help out and make an impact on someone’s life. Going forward, I’m going to see service not just as a way to help people, but also a way to unite people and increase mutual understanding.”