Friday, March 20, 2015

Learning Culture Firsthand

One of the things we did on our visit to Korea was go to three museums with a guide from a grad student as Korea University named Eunkyo or Jennifer. She led us through the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History, Museum of Military History/War Memorial, and the National Museum of Korea.

Although I enjoyed going through and learning about the history and culture, I like our discussions we had with Jennifer in each museum. I loved learning how she thinks of the world and how she views Korea’s relations with other countries. It was eye opening because often I tend to think that other people our age in other places think the same way we do, but in fact cultures determine how we see the world and it is often very different. For example, when I was learning about the Dokdo Islands I assumed the younger generation was not very involved in the argument: whether the islands are Korea’s or Japan’s. When talking to Jennifer I found that my assumption was very wrong. Jennifer is just as passionate about the islands as I thought only the adults were.  Jennifer believes that the islands are Korea’s and hopes that when she has children that they will feel as connected with the islands and that they belong to them now and forever. Her passion was incredible and not what I was expecting when someone asked about her view on the islands. Her perspective made me think more about other controversial topics, that I thought other people might hold the same view,  and to examine the issues from both perspectives. I think I definitely learned the most about Korean beliefs and culture from having discussions with Jennifer.

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