Student Perspectives: Day 9
In our second day in Incheon we were able to visit University of Utah –Asia Campus and SUNY Korea, which consists of a partnership with Stonybrook University and the Fashion Institute of Technology. These campuses are within the Incheon Global Campus, a campus recently built by the Korean government to invite internationally competitive universities to provide a unique and attractive educational opportunity for folks in Korea and also from abroad. It was fascinating to gain insight into how student affairs and student life appear at universities that function as international branch campuses of institutions in the United States.
We started the day at University of Utah – Asia Campus with Dr. Randy McCrillis, the Dean of Students and SAHE Alum, engaging in dialogue about how decisions are made on a global campus shared by a handful of universities and needing to navigate multiple interests. A few examples of these decisions included instituting a campus-wide English-only policy in official and academic communications, lifting a curfew policy, and balancing stakeholders, values, and cultures involved with a strictly enforced separation of genders in the residence halls.
After University of Utah – Asia Campus, we visited SUNY Korea and spoke with professionals who work to support students on their campus. We learned about the multitude of experiences that these professionals bring to their work and how their approach and practice differs from many of ours as none of these folks had a student affairs background and were curious about why we chose to pursue the SAHE program and what value was added by our continued education.
To finish our day, and the officially scheduled portion of our experience in Korea, our group was led in a reflective discussion about our insights gained by Dr. D-L Stewart. We shared what we have learned about ourselves, Korea, and student affairs, and discussed our responsibility to continue the experiences and development we have gained even as we return to the United States. Overall, for me, today was full of learning and honest engagement about the tensions that exist between the values of individuality and social justice in the U.S. context and the complexities of Korean culture and tradition as we have experienced it.
Student Perspectives: Day 11
Today was our final full day in South Korea. It is a bittersweet occasion as our time wraps up in this incredible country. All of us had the day free to do any final exploring, shopping and resting before heading back to the United States. There were various things that folks wanted to do for our last day, so everyone’s day looked a little different but I will give you a look into what I spent my day doing. A small group of us decided to start the day with brunch! We found an American gastropub and it was incredibly delicious!
After brunch, we ventured further into Incheon to explore Chinatown. It was a walkable size with lots of restaurants, clothing and accessory shops and a great place to buy souvenirs. We stumbled upon a unique gift shop in “Fairytale village” that allowed us to text in our favorite pictures to be printed on wooden block frames. It was one of the best finds of the day and my favorite souvenir from the entire experience. We braved the cold weather with coffee and hot chocolate as long as we could before taking the subway back to campus to relax, pack and recoup before dinner.
In the evening, most of us met at an Indian restaurant for our final group dinner. The food was incredible and the company was even better! Afterwards, a small group of us explored the Incheon nightlife and met a lot of Americans who are now living in Korea.
As our field experience wraps up, I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to visit this beautiful country and cannot wait until South Korea and I meet again!