Leader Staff Writer
Amanda Marie Wilcox, 21, the daughter of Eugene and Shelley Wilcox of Tremonton recently went on an 11-day trip to South and North Korea. While there she learned about the country, saw many wonderful sights and made lasting friendships with people from all over the world.
The trip was part of a youth peace camp and was sponsored by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs of Korea (MPVA). The trip is used as a thank you for those who served in the Korean War and gives their grandchildren the opportunity to tour the country.
Amanda heard about the peace camp through her grandfather, Clifford Wilcox, who served in that war. He took the trip last summer. Amanda applied and was accepted, as were two cousins, Cara Wilcox, 19, and Alicia Wilcox, 20.
The group left for South Korea July 1, and returned home July 11. Except for half of their plane tickets, the entire trip was paid for by MPVA.
During the 13-hour flight, these youth watched movies on their own personal TV, enjoyed meals and viewed Hawaii and Japan from above as they flew past.
According to Amanda, “The whole [trip] was the most amazing thing I have ever done. It was so cool, especially to be there with my cousins.”
As part of the youth camp, they had a lot of lectures about places they would be visiting. They also saw many different museums. They traveled by bus but had the opportunity to ride the bullet train into Busan. Amanda said, “It was really cool [the train] goes like 330 kilometers an hour, it was really fast.”
While in South Korea they stayed in Seoul. They went to Busan and visited the United Nations Memorial Cemetery and the Korean National Cemetery. They also went to Hyundai Beach where Amanda was able to enjoy one of her passions, soccer. She said it was cool to play soccer on the beach with a bunch of people from Korea.
Later they visited Seoul Tower (nicknamed the Tower of Love), which she said is pretty famous and cool. They saw and wandered many of the small back streets of South Korean and visited many little markets.
It is difficult for individuals to get into North Korea. However, this youth group had the opportunity. Even though they only crossed the border by about four feet and spent two minutes there, it was still an intimidating experience. Amanda said, “Going to North Korea was really scary. We had to have American soldiers right next to us and the FBI had to screen us before we went in. It was intimidating to look into the faces of people who openly hate you, it was terrifying.” However, she was excited to have this opportunity and it was a good experience.
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