KAYAC was founded in 2000 with the aim of serving the growing number of Korean-American youth in the United States. While second generation Korean-Americans have steadily assimilated into American society, many have lost touch with their roots due to limited engagement with their ancestral history, language, and culture.
Our mission is to increase awareness in these students by having them directly experience Korea’s cultural heritage and its compelling status as an advanced, high-tech democracy. This first-hand engagement will reinforce the participants’ identity as Korean-Americans by allowing them to better understand, appreciate, and proud of their cultural heritage.
Ultimately, we believe that this program fosters tomorrow’s culturally aware and passionate leaders in the Korean-American community—ones who can powerfully represent the often overlooked aspirations and needs of our community. We want Korean-American youth to never lose sight of their roots, even as they claim their rightful place as Americans.
Although a number of organizations in America offer similar educational trips to Korea, few have lasted as long as KAYAC. For eighteen years, KAYAC has organized and executed the Motherland Excursion Program with consistency and dedication. Each year, we continue to improve on the program while receiving positive feedback and increasing post-trip engagement from both students and parents.
Our vision is to continue delivering the specialized educational program to strengthen the identity of our participants and ultimately to become a model for other Korean-American or overseas Korean communities.
As minorities seeking to establish ourselves and accomplish our dreams in a nation of diverse ethnicities and cultures, we believe that cultural education is the key to success and recognition within a rapidly changing world. Korean culture has an increasingly high profile, and if we can prepare the young generation with a deep awareness of, and affinity for their culture, they can serve as ambassadors for the history, arts, and commerce of Korea. Likewise, if we can engage and educate tomorrow’s voters and advisors, then issues such as peace on the Korean peninsula will be informed by people who have a greater grasp of, and stake in real solutions.
KAYAC has been recognized by Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as well as numerous Korean-Americans foundations and organizations in America. With such recognition and achievement, we plan to expand the programs for KAYAC alumni so that they can continue to increase their engagement and build a network that magnifies the benefits of this program.
FUTURE ALUMNI NETWORK PLATFORM
KAYAC believes that there is immense value in harnessing the passion and energy of their growing alumni group. In years past, we have not focused on post-trip engagement, but we believe that a well-structured alumni program can help create a strong network for past participants. A better connected alumni group will provide future professional, political and volunteer support, enriching the broader Korean-American community and creating a legacy for future cohorts and generations.