November 05, 2010 07:16
Maria Angeline Martin Lopez came to Korea from the Philippines to pursue her graduate studies, but when she tells people that she is from Southeast Asia, they often think of her as a migrant worker. On Oct. 11 Lopez (23) along with Slovakian Kristina Sobolciakova (19) and Korean Ha Soo-jeong (20) has won the first Miss Multicultural Society Pageant.
Organized by the International Conference of Foreigners Welfare, a cooperative body of 32 embassies in Korea, the event was held in hopes of selecting women who can help bridge the gap between Koreans and migrants. The two foreign winners were selected from women aged between 18 and 28 recommended by 17 embassies in Korea, and the Korean winner was chosen among those recommended online.
Lopez said she will do her best to promote the Philippines and its culture in Korea. Sobolciakova, a fresher who majors in political science at Ewha Womans University, said, "I'd like to help foreigners in Korea to adapt to Korean culture." Ha, who is in her second year in aircraft cabin service management at Far East University, said, "When I first met my Thai aunt, who married my mom's brother, it was awkward at first and we couldn't communicate. But now we're close. We just look different and have different ways of life, but when you open up your mind you can understand each other."
The winners will visit multicultural families through local welfare centers and give lectures to elementary schools to help enhance children's understanding of multicultural society.
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