The Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James) is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes in Spain. The Catholic University of Korea offered scholarships to go on the pilgrimage during the university’s 167th Founding Anniversary Mass on May 26. One hundred four students received one million won per person (approximately 870 dollars at the time) to go on the pilgrimage. Since the pandemic, like many other countries, traveling has been significantly curtailed in South Korea, not to mention overseas. Now the strict regulations for travel have been lifted, CUK wanted to encourage students to experience other cultures around the world during the vacation and develop global competency. The scholarship recipients formed a group of three or more and submitted a proposal for the traveling itineraries, including at least 100 km of the trail with a particular theme. While on the pilgrimage, students posted articles, photos, and videos of their pilgrimage experiences in real-time on the university’s website to share their vivid experiences with university members. In addition, a joint chat room was operated to share various problems and experiences that may occur during the pilgrimage.
Fr. Ji Yong-sik, a professor at the Graduate School of Cannon Law who had already made the pilgrimage, was appointed as the advisor for the program. Park Chae-eun, a senior at the Department of International Studies and the representative of the “Touring City Women” team chosen for their traveling proposal, said, “We chose a pilgrimage route along the Atlantic coast from Lisbon, Portugal, and after the pilgrimage, we are heading to Barcelona. Then, during the 23 hours of layover in Dubai, we plan to go on a desert tour at Dubai Airport.”
President Fr. Luke Won Jongchul said, “We hope this pilgrimage opportunity will provide ample time for peripatetic self-reflections and ruminate on the true ‘I’-ness within, as a food for thought in line with the university’s apothegm.” He continued, “While en route to Santiago pilgrimage, students will broaden and illuminate their horizon by encountering and interacting with young people from around the world and discover the ‘I’-ness in others.” Fr. Won plans to support the Santiago pilgrimage scholarship every year in the future. The funding for the pilgrimage scholarship was given through “Chung Heun Joon Joseph Scholarship Fund,” at the benefactor’s request.