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Sponsorship Program Helps New Military Spouses Adjust to Korea

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YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea -- Living or working abroad is a great opportunity to meet new people, try something totally new, and learn about a different language and culture. Despite the advantages of working and living abroad, there are also disadvantages.

The language barrier is one of the major problems that newcomers face. Social customs of the people, the weather, and food are also big things to adapt to. It takes a long time to fully assimilate into a new culture and lessen feelings of loneliness. For these reasons, life in abroad countries can be very stressful and upsetting.

Spouses of active duty members go through the problems mentioned when they leave their countries due to deployment. Not only do they have troubles assimilating to the culture, they usually don't have much of an idea what to do to make the best out of the opportunities they have.

In order to help solve these hardships and to provide information, Army Community Service kicked off the Spouse Sponsorship Program at the ACS building on Mar. 2nd.

"We didn't have a really good sponsor when we came to Korea and I had no idea what to expect," stated Kimberly Dobbs, a spouse on Yongsan Garrison. "So, I want to be able to help new incomers, not only the Airforce, but anybody who comes to this unit."

25 spouses volunteered to the program to share their feelings and learn their role as sponsors. Helping the spouse of an active duty member is actually helping them through all aspects of it, with their children, themselves, and may be even things that can help their husbands or wives get better acclimated to Korea and USAG Yongsan.

Marilyn Roseborough, relocation manager at ACS, instructed the class. As she was leading the class, she introduced the program to the volunteers and taught them what their roles will be and emphasized the importance of the program.

"It is very important because they are disconnected sometimes when they come to foreign countries especially," said Roseborough. "Sponsors will be able to bring you in, tell you what resources are available out there to help you that can help you transition, help you make new friends."

After the class, representatives from several offices visited to let the spouses know that they are there to provide information and referral assistance and update community resources and services. They then had a short Q&A section.

The class will be held quarterly and every spouse who want to help the community are welcomed.

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