Friday, March 20, 2015

Site Visit-Korea University

When I read the itinerary, I truly did not expect the visit to Korea University to be one of the highlights of the trip!  After a 15 minute spiel/video montage promoting Korea University, we were given a 15 minute powerpoint history lesson on Korea University from a decidedly Canadian International Admissions Coordinator.   We were then treated to a lecture by Professor Jai Kwan Jung, who teaches political science at Korea University, about the June 1987 uprising from the perspective of a Korean.  The topic of my term paper just so happens to be East Asian democratization so Professor Jung's speech was of particular interest to me!  Afterwards we met with students at Korea University; there were three of us at every table and each table met with one student.  We must have drawn the short straw or something because in walked an American exchange student from Texas, named Eddie, who had only been in the country for a little over 2 weeks...here I was expecting to have an in depth, illuminating discussion about Korean culture with a Korean who is around my age and instead I am getting an unexpected, albeit interesting, look at how it is to be an exchange student at Korea University.  The conversation took the natural progression of young adults: gradually degenerating from important nuances of Korean culture to where the best bars in town are.  After meeting with the students we were split into two groups and taken on a tour(guided by a Korean University Graduate Student Ambassador) of the Korea University Campus, and....just wow, such a beautiful open and welcoming place where even though it was 20 degrees out everyone just seemed to be enjoying themselves.  You hear stereotypical horror stories about the stress involved in East Asian education systems but here it seemed like everyone was having a great time.  On top of that, this place was basically the size of 50 Marymount campuses, all the buildings were relatively new, everything was on another level than any American university I had ever visited.  I honestly was seeing myself in Graduate school there by the time we left; as I finish writing this post I realize that me wanting to go there was exactly what they were going for.  Well played Korea University, well played.

James Decker

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