A flea market opened in downtown Seoul on Sunday with foreign residents as vendors, as part of the city government's efforts to provide them opportunities to integrate with citizens here.
About a hundred foreigners from some 40 teams selected by the Seoul Global Center gathered at Gwanghwamun Plaza early in the morning and sold various goods, ranging from used items to traditional handcrafts.
For graduate student Alex Gubo from Slovakia, the flea market was a platform to introduce his country's culture to people living here. This was the second time for him to take part in the flea market event hosted by the Seoul Global Center.
"It has been five years since I settled here, but there is no big change in the level of knowledge South Koreans have on my country," he told Yonhap News Agency. "Many people even find it hard to tell where it is located."
His Slovakian friend Zoltan Szoke, who also studies in Seoul, said traditional pottery and handcrafts laid in front of them naturally leads them to talk about their culture with people who are stopping by.
Lee Mi-yeon, who was on a day trip from Osan, just south of Seoul, said the market provided a chance for her seven-year-old son to learn various cultures from around the world.
"It is a great opportunity for my son to meet people from different countries and get to learn about their culture," Lee said.
Sunday's event was the latest among similar ones that took place in April, May and June. The last flea market this year is slated for Oct. 23.
Any foreign residents can apply to take part in the event, free of charge, the center said, adding the application process is provided on its website on the first day of each scheduled month.
"This event enables foreigners and natives to come together as one by sharing diverse cultures," said Shin Dong-hoon, an official at the center.
The regular foreigners' flea market is part of a broader weekly market event run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government from April to October on every Sunday. The theme of the market varies every week.
Launched in 2008, the global center under the city government is an institution for foreigners to help them better settle in the capital city with various services, it said. (Yonhap)