Plymouth University of the Third Age

South Korea students visit Plymouth U3A

Plymouth U3A had a visit from two South Korean students at the January 2017 meeting which was reported in the local newspaper:-

Plymouth group teaches South Korea how to keep minds active in mature life

Korean Students A-Young and Jujin with John DobsonMature people in a group for the retired have been teaching South Korean students how to keep minds active later in life.

Students A-Young and Jujin travelled nine hours from Duksung University in Seoul, Korea, to visit Plymouth's University of the Third Age (U3A) this week, with the aim to take the skills they learnt back to their own country.

"They can go back and address elderly groups and tell them about us by saying here's a real example," said Vice Chairman of the group John Dobson.

The students read about the Plymouth group which offers those who no longer work full-time access to a variety of educational, creative and leisure opportunities online and were so impressed by what they read that Duksung University funded the students to travel to the city.

Students of the university felt that the group was the "Best in the UK" of its kind.

The pair embarked on a project in Korea, surrounding the idea of retired members of society keeping their minds active and decided to venture across the globe to meet the group who had put this concept into motion.

The two day visit aimed to enlighten the pair, who have been at university for four years, to the ways in which retired members of their own society, could lead more active lives for longer.

The pair, both 22, met with the majority of the group, who in total have almost one thousand members, on Monday, January 9, at The Holiday Inn in on Plymouth's Hoe.

Korean Students A-Young and JujinJujin said: "We have some form of activity for seniors in Korea but it is not well organised."

She added: "I believe it is remarkable that about 1000 U3As exist in the UK and that all the activities are organised by the members themselves."

Vice Chairman of the group, John Dobson, commented on the experience: "We were astonished to get the email, to be frank we weren't sure whether it was almost too good to be true.

"But upon speaking with their professor over the phone he reassured me that they felt they could learn the most from us which was very complimentary and lovely to hear."

He added: "I think they were most impressed by our bottom-up approach, as we are a separate charity, we're autonomous, so everything we do, we do and fund ourselves.

"They can go back and address elderly groups and tell them about us by saying here's a real example."

Mr Dobson told The Herald that it was a "terrific day" for the members, mostly due to the fact that "older people love to be in the company of the young".

"Everyone felt very flattered," he added.

U3A is comprised of people local to Plymouth who have left full time work but wish to keep their minds stimulated by learning new skills or rediscovering old hobbies.

The group currently have around 70 clubs running, covering everything from medieval history, to wine-tasting and Latin classes.

Some members still enjoy a challenge, as one retired teacher does, having set himself the challenge of taking a GCSE at the age of 80.

Story text by courtesy of the Plymouth Herald online & photographs by Plymouth U3A.