Big Issue Korea’s staff and vendors have travelled more than 5,500 miles to be at this year’s Homeless World Cup so they relished the opportunity to visit The Big Issue’s Cardiff office while at the tournament.
Our sister paper is representing South Korea at the tournament in Bute Park and three of their team – Jong Yun Park, Yong Suk Choi and Ahn Byunghun – took the opportunity of a tour of the office.
The trio even came bearing gifts for their Big Issue UK tour guides Tom Watts and Lotty Talbutt, offering up badges and a South Korean flag while the Welsh pair gave Big Issue stationery in return.
Lotty said: “We learned that it is very different how they do things over there. They seem to have around 20 staff for about 60 vendors and it seems to work a bit more like a bank for them.
“But they were very impressed with what they saw of our office – it is quite similar to theirs apparently in that it is open plan. They took lots of photos! It was great to meet them.”
The South Korean flag acted as an incentive for Tom to go to the tournament to support his new friends in their clash with Italy.
He said: “I took the flag down with me but unfortunately they lost, which is a shame.
“I was surprised just how many Korean fans were there – I don’t know if it was people they had brought with them or if it was local Korean people getting behind their team – but there was lots of fans there supporting them. It was just like being at a big game!”
Meanwhile, Big Issue vendor Dean Williams also got the chance to speak to a vendor from South Korea while selling the magazine at the Homeless World Cup.
He said: “He was 51 years old so he was a little bit older than me but it was good to hear about some of the differences and some of the things that were the same, although it was quite limited as I was speaking to him through an interpreter.
“It was a great opportunity for them to see how we do things in Wales.”