KBS (the South Korea public broadcasting organisation) visited London last week to find out how U3A in London (the Hampstead based branch of the University of the Third Age) works with local groups and individuals to provide opportunities for retired people – enabling them to come together, to develop their skills and to enrich their lives.
Gina McDonald, KBS’s UK Development Producer, explained that, as in many parts of the world, South Korea has an aging population and that many Koreans find retirement extremely difficult.
“Work can become an obsession with some of our people and all too often they simply don’t know what to do or how to fill their lives when they retire. So we need to learn from organisations such as the U3A who have already developed programmes to tackle this vital issue”.
“What has really impressed us is the fact that the U3A is entirely run by volunteers – with retired people working for and with each other to meet local needs. We have also been very surprised by the fact that activities range from weekly walks in the countryside to a course on the history of philosophy.”
Gina McDonald also explained that KBS would be visiting Japan and the USA as well – to learn from their experiences – and that it will be broadcasting a major documentary on the subject later in the year.