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Gregory Taylor represents foreigners, their needs

△ Gregory Taylor, left, does everything he can to ensure the security of Busan's foreign residents.

Q. Please introduce yourself to our readers!

A. Hello Busan! My name is Gregory Taylor, and I am the Busan Foreign Council human rights and culture committee head.

Q. How did you come to Korea and to Busan? What do you like about the city?

A. I came to Busan seven years ago to teach English and fell in love with it and with my Korean wife. I love Busan's beaches, mountains and bike paths. Also, the weather is great compared to Canada. There's no winter here! Finally, there are almost unlimited unique neighborhoods to explore in Busan.

Q. What work are you involved in, and how did you get into it? 

A. I have always loved politics and public policy, so while taking a Korean course at the Busan Foundation for International Cooperation (BFIC), I applied to become a member of the Busan Foreign Residents Council (BFRC). It has been an awesome opportunity to get involved in the community and to get better at Korean. Our council is comprised of residents from many different walks of life, and we come up with policies, vote on them and submit them to the city and its districts. We also monitor discrimination toward foreign residents and meet with government officials and explain to them our policies to help improve the lives of foreigners and naturalized citizens of Korea. We also make videos that educate people on how to become better global citizens. Other YouTube videos we make involve cheering the city as it works hard to contain the virus and keep its residents safe.

Q. How do you think Busan is handling COVID-19?

A. Busan and Korea are doing a fantastic job in the fight against it. Right from the beginning, there were enough test kits, and the processing capability was excellent. Contact tracing and wearing masks have also contributed to Korea's success. Right now, in Canada, they are having a second wave and it is very worrying. In Toronto, they do not have the resources to do contact tracing, and the test kit backlog is piling up, so people have to wait a few days for the results of their tests. Also, some people refuse to wear masks in Canada or deny that Coronavirus is a serious problem. The BFIC is also helping the foreign community in Busan with any problems related to Coronavirus. They help foreigners with whatever problems they have.

Q. What do committee members want Busan to improve for our foreign residents?

A. We want to be treated equally as Korean residents and be recognized as part of Korean society and culture. We want equal access to education, government programs and welfare.

Q. What are your future plans?

A. I will continue working with the Busan Foreign Council and on various other local government projects. I plan to eventually become a Korean citizen.