I was very fortunate to be part of the group. It was until the announcement of the summer school in the elevator in GraSPP caught my attention, I had never imagined that I will have a chance to study in South Korea (for the first time) in this summer. However I am very happy to say that, Campus Asia Summer School in South Korea was a very a valuable and memorable experience for me who is graduating GraSPP this fall.
Two-week was not long enough to learn everything about the Korean Peninsula or East Asian studies, however I greatly enjoyed my stay in Seoul, as if I were an exchange student or Seoul National University (SNU) student, with classes taught by professors from SNU, Peking University and Tokyo University; Seoul City Tour; school trip to Demilitarized Zone between north and South Korea; weekend excursion around Seoul city and gatherings with local students. It was one pleasant experience from every perspective.
SNU, located in the urbanized capital city, has an extremely large campus surrounded by rich scenario such as mountainous nature and modernized facilities. The on-campus accommodation where we stayed offered well-organized service and the facility which assured that our stay was memorable and comfortable. Studying, eating and housing together with other students was an exciting experience which we are not accustomed to in GraSPP. SNU has stylish cafeterias on campus, we were able to enjoy delicious Korean food at cheap prices everyday. Further, lovely cafes in and around the university serve delicious cakes and coffee.
Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS), where we had classes, is truly international institution. Many students speak more than three languages. GSIS has a large group of international students that come from all over the world. More than 70 students had attended the summer school. Even though classes were conducted in a spacious lecture hall, we had active discussion and Q&A sessions.
Professors in charge of the classes were different every day. In a short period of time, we learned a wide range of content including politics, economy, and society of East Asia. It was first time and fresh experience for an individual like me to learn exclusively about East Asia. In particular, classes focused “Hallyu” (export of Korean cultural products, such as K-Pop, movies and games) , Korean Peninsula studies and China’s public opinion toward Japan were very interesting because those topics dealt with ongoing issues and events that the East Asian region face today. In addition, on the very last day of summer school, we had trip to Demilitarized Zone and briefings from South Korean military and U.S. military personals. We acquired better understanding of what we learn during the summer school, by witnessing the “scene”of the major problem in East Asia. listening to the story directly from the people involved in the scene helped us better understand the overall situation.
I truly appreciate the two-week summer school experience. Through the program, I got deeper and wider knowledge of the East Asian region and experience of living in Seoul and mingle with the lives of Korean people. The summer school made me aware to the importance of seeing things with my own eyes and having conversation with people instead of heavily relying to the handy information given by the Internet or the media on TV. I recommend this program to all students including those who have not majored in East Asian Studies. The program offers not only a chance to learn about the region but also an international academic experience in a totally new environment, which will widen your interest and opportunity in future.