College of Education

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Pyeongchang 2018

July 18th, 2014

Many of you know that the 2018 winter Olympics will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The effort a host city must take in preparing to host the games is endless. Our group had the opportunity to tour the facilities. Not all are completed, but seeing the work in progress is amazing. We spent most of our time at the ski jump tower. We toured the biathlon stadium and rode the gondola over the ski hills. The skating arena will start construction soon, and we stayed in the village. Josh Tyler and Kimber Behrends have a lot to say about this experience. Please enjoy their stories.

Josh Tyler

Today marks the 3rd week we have been in Korea. I could not express the pure amazement and awesomeness of this trip. I have been seeing so much and experience things in Korea that are unlike the United States and it gives me a whole new perspective on the Korean culture and day-to-day life. This trip has also given me a newfound respect for the way countries value sports outside the United States. In the US people think it’s the best place in the world for sports, which is arguable. But I’ve come to realize the sport is more than just the game on the field. It’s the people behind the scenes, the fans, and the front office that truly make sports. The opportunity this trip has given me has shown me so much that you can’t learn in a classroom. I continue to learn day in and day out and will continue to until our journey ends.

Some of the most substantial experiences we have had of late are getting to travel to the PyeongChang site for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Holy cow, that place was just incredible. We saw so much of what the park is going to look like. Although it’s under construction, we could see the plan, the vision, of what would be the pedestal of sports in the coming years. I was blown away by the structures and it just gave me a feel of joy to see how substantial the Olympics are. Something really cool was, we were able to travel to the top of ski jump that will be used for the Olympics, and it was so high. We took a ride up to the top and then a 6-story elevator ride to the small jump that was just so high off the ground. I do not to heights so it took a lot for me to go to the top. But I am so glad I did because I got to see something that not a lot of people get to see. The top of an Olympic jump and it was just incredible. I will be able to have that experience for the rest of my life. It was truly incredible.

 

Another experience was we got to see the park’s plan and what it will look like when the construction is completely done. The vision of the project is incredible. To see what the facility was going to look like in 2018 is awesome. Korea is going to be an incredible host for the Olympics and I cannot wait to watch in 2018. While we toured the facilities, we were able to stay at a resort. The resort was awesome. It had a mountain coaster ride, ATV course, horse riding, and there was a water park not to far from where we stayed. We had a chance to experience the water park and had so much fun. We rode 4 different slides, went through the lazy river, and relaxed in the hot tubs and saunas. I even had fish eat all the dead skin off my feet! It was weird and tickled so bad but cool to have done. We all had a good time and it was something nice to relax too after long days of touring at the Olympic parks.
This trip continues to amazing me day in and day out and I continue to make new memories and experience things everyday that I would never had been able to do if I didn’t come to Korea for this study abroad. We travel to the JSA tomorrow (7/18) and I cant wait to see what it is like. Not that many people have experienced the JSA and I cannot wait to tell the story when I get back! We also leave for Busan on Sunday where we are going to experience a whole different part of Korea. I am very excited to see what its like and to add to the experience of this trip! Until next time!

Josh2-3 Josh2-2 Josh2-1

Kimber Behrends

Winter Olympic Park

 

At the beginning of our third week here in Korea, we took a trip up to the 2018 Winter Olympic site in Pyeongchang. We spent just about three days up at this location, one of which we actually got a tour of the facilities that have already been built for the Olympics. The facility that we were able to get a tour of was called the Alpensia Ski Jumping Stadium. The first place at the stadium that we went to was the bottom of the ski jump. Looking up from the bottom amazed me because of the size of the jumps that the skiers fly off of and some how land. Other than the sheer size of the jumps, I noticed a tower at the top of the jumps that very closely resembles the Space Needle in Seattle, but was just a little bit smaller. During our tour around the facility, I learned that the tower actually has a restaurant at the top as a part of the sustainability of the facility, just like the Space Needle. After spending a few minutes at the base of the jumps, we had a guide take us to the second floor where we were allowed to actually walk to the edge of the smaller ski jump.

To get to the edge of the ski jump we had to take a gondola up to the top of the hill. Then, once we were at the top, we had to take an elevator up to the second floor of the tower, which lead to the jump. Once on the second floor, we had to walk across a bridge to the start of the jump. Walking over this bridge was not an easy task for many of us because if you looked down at your feet you could see the ground about thirty yards below you. This especially scared our Korean friend, BK, who we basically had to carry over the bridge to the start of the jump. As I looked over the edge of the jump, I knew this was a once in a lifetime occurrence and I had to absorb as much of the experience as I could. The feeling was incredible, especially knowing that in less than four years there will be Olympic skiers standing in the exact same spot as I was standing at that moment. The view from this ski jump was also breath taking because I could see for miles. Even though it was a slightly foggy day in Pyeongchang, I was amazed at how beautiful the area was. If only I could come back in four years to witness the Winter Olympic games in person.

After our tour of the actual ski jumps, we went back down to the bottom and walked over to where the Korean Winter Olympic athletes train. There were three practice jumps, each a different size, that were made of a turf-like material. This was where the athletes actually practice without snow, but while wearing real skis. I thought that sounded like it would not work until a ninth grade girl who was training for the Olympics climbed to the top of the highest jump and showed us how she does it. It was amazing to see someone actually ski down on the turf jump and land like it wasn’t hard at all. I really hope the girl we watched that day makes it into the next Winter Olympics so that I can watch her compete for the gold metal. Touring this facility made me feel like I was a part of history and now I am excited to watch the 2018 Winter Olympics in four years.

 

The Great Korea Adventure

July 18th, 2014

Derick Margerum and Courtney Gold have a lot to express and some photos to share regarding our stay in Chuncheon, enjoy.

Derick Margerum

Hello all, we have completed our stay in the beautiful city of Seoul, and will take our talents to Chuncheon, Kangwon National University and the Olympic resort in PyeongChang. It was going to be a busy two weeks as there was a lot of activities planned for the week.

We went to a lake with our Korean friends and participated in watersport activities like wakeboarding, water skiing, inner tubing etc. I had never wake boarded before so it was a struggle for me to actually get up on the board and ride the waves. After about five attempts I finally made it up and had a blast cruising on the lake. Next we went tubing, and there were a variety of tubes we could choose from, like the two person spinning 8 tubes all the way to the fly fish. I was fortunate to do both of them, but the fly fish was my favorite because the tube gets air, then glides over the water like a real fly fish. I personally appreciated the watersports experience because we got to do it with our friends, and that made it so much more fun.

Another day that was really fun was our Thursday mountaineering day when climbed and hiked Mt Sam ak. It was a daunting task and tough climb as told to us by Dr. Rhee, but Cougs are always up for a challenge. I brought my iPhone to listen to music to set a pace and get me going. As the journey began Josh and me and me set out as the leaders and I frankly did not think it was that hard. Along the way we saw some amazing streams and waterfalls that captured what this mountainous hike would be like. We were hiking for about an hour when we came across a temple in the middle of the mountains! The temple was absolutely beautiful and it glowed underneath the overcast day. So we decided to rest for a bit and grab some pure mountain spring water. After our short break, we continued the climb, and this is where it got really tough. We came up on a rock avalanche as a couple of us described it, essentially a scattered pile of rocks that had to be navigated to get around, and it consisted of using two hands. However, it was really the only incredibly tough obstacle preventing us from getting to the top, and it now felt like a reasonable destination. A couple of more hills were no match and we finally reached the top of the mountain standing at 654 kilometers. All of us were drenched in sweat, but the view of Chuncheon and the surrounding areas was breathtaking and made the trip worth it. We brought WSU Cougars flag and knew we had to get a picture at the top to cap off a great day of climbing. The way down seemed easier to me and when we reached the bottom there was a sense of relief that we had accomplished a challenging task. Great job Cougs!

Courtney Gold

We have now entered the third week in are amazing travels and experiences around South Korea. I cannot begin to express what I have received in not only the lessons learned, but also the amazing culture of Korea. Between my first blog post and this one I have already seen and experienced a lot of Korean history. One of the biggest changes that has occurred is our location, which is now Chun Cheon. Being in a different city gives the others and myself a chance to see what Korea has to offer. At this location thus far we have seen the ChungPyungsa temple, which is over a 1,000 years old, had a Korean water sport experience and went mountaineering on Mt. Samak.

Going up to the ChungPyungsa temple was an incredibly eye opening moment to have just due to the immense amount of history behind it. Being over 1,000 years old I could only dream of what it was like to see the group of Buddhist living there over the years. Just seeing the architecture and artwork was amazing because all the pictures had some story line to them. With Buddhist currently staying in the area we could have seen them conduct their daily prayer. We did miss out on this opportunity, but we still saw other women who were staying there doing daily Buddhist activities. Not only was this a once in a lifetime opportunity I was able to imagine the daily life currently and thousands of years ago. The temple itself was so incredibly peaceful; it was the perfect place to let your mind go blank. Seeing Buddhist temples like this one is not something I could just normally see back home. In that case, I documented everything I saw and will never forget the amazing sight I saw that day.

Our next adventure was the Korean water sport experience with the Korean students and faculty we have met. This was a day I could not be more excited for because I love the water and the freedom it brings. One of the most interesting facts we found was that the water we were in is one of the cleanest, even having the ability to drink it. Upon arrival we could all tell that the clouds looked less than pleasing. Before we knew it the rain came off and on through out the day. You may think that this may ruin the experience, but it actually made it even more memorable. I got to spend a day relaxing and just simply enjoying the day with a great group of people.

The next moment I was able to experience was probably the most rewarding feeling I have had on this trip! We had the challenge of climbing Mt. Samak that was 5.5 miles up and 5.5 miles down. Even when we first started the hike we had to climb these stairs that were more like a ladder, with you looking straight up. Seeing how this hike began I was only imagining what the rest of it was going to bring. Once getting halfway, there was no thought in my mind to turn back. In that moment in being halfway I tried to imagine what it would be like when we reached the top. I imagined seeing an amazing view and being so incredibly proud of the group that came up with me. If you thought the stairs in the beginning seemed tough there was even more to come. We reached these stairs that were all rock, but very uneven. I personally almost fell myself and had to recover to catch my balance. Once getting over the hurdle of the rock steps we all knew that we were close to reaching the top; which gave us even more motivation to push forward. Before we knew it, we all had made it. Once I saw the view I was blown away; simply because I have never seen anything like it before. I stood there for a second and realized that the fatigue I felt coming up vanished. I was able to soak in the beauty of Korea and the city of Chun Cheon below. For our final victory as a group we held up the Coug flag to show that we conquered this mountain and never gave up! Stay tuned for even more exciting news and the adventures Korea will give us! GO COUGS!

 

Updates from South Korea

July 18th, 2014

The adventures we have been on so far are endless, but we still have the beach town to come. Indigo Williams will share her water sport adventures and talk a bit about Samaksan (translated, Mt. Sam Ak). This was a pretty intense hike that we went on to the top of a mountain here in Korea.

Indigo Williams

On July ninth, 2014, the group and I got to experience Korean water sports. The facility to me seemed to have three main water sports, which included wake boarding, water skiing, and tubing. The day started out a little hesitant based on the fact that we were not sure if a big storm was going to hit us, or pass over us. We made an executive decision and went any ways. The entire time we were there, the weather was actually really nice and hot, until about the last hour and a half when it started to sprinkle.

Although the weather could not make up its mind, we were sure able to make up ours when it came to which water sport activity we wanted to do. At first we started out with learning the basic concept of how to either wake board or ski. It was difficult to actually grasp the concept when not in the water, especially for me because I am a hands on learner. Once we all picked either ski or wake board, we got on our boots and got into the water for a few test runs. For me personally the test run was a lot easier to stand up and actually wake board. I feel that the test run was easier because there was a bar that stuck out about two feet away from the boat and was stable. Once I was able to get up on the test bar a few times, the driver pulled in the bar and tossed me the rope. My first time trying with the rope, I was able to get up and wake board for about two seconds until I face planted into the water. I was able to keep trying for about ten or so more minutes but I was only successful about three more times.

After we all got a chance to either wake board or ski, we all asked the boat driver if we would be able to go on to the tube called a “fly fish”. The “fly fish” is a two person ride that when the boat goes fast enough the entire back side flies up and the passengers who are sitting back wards are almost horizontal to the water. This was such an adrenaline rush, which is why I think I loved it this ride more than just a round inner tube.

On July tenth, 2014, the group and I had a great opportunity to hike a mountain called Sam Ak. At first I was not exactly sure what to expect when arriving to the mountain but I was willing to try something new, especially since I have never been hiking before. Before actually going on the hike, Dr. Rhee told us that the hike would take a total hike time of four hours which in my mind didn’t sound too bad. But of course once we go to the start of the hike everyone was so eager to get started it felt like we were almost running up the mountain. Until we hit the first set of very steep stairs. The stairs only being about five or so minutes into the hike I quickly thought to myself, maybe I should just find a nearby restaurant and grab lunch. It seemed as though with in that quick second I looked up and the rest of the group was already about half way up the stairs, which left me no choice but to keep climbing. Throughout the hike, I was in the back just walking at my own pace which was only frustrating because I was getting eaten alive my mosquitos. I actually enjoyed the hike because the scenery was great, the only bad part was I was not expecting the vertical incline towards the top. But after about two and a half miles up to the top of the mountain, the view and the feeling of accomplishment made the entire hike worth it. The best part about the day was that the high temperature of today was 90 degrees with a 90 percent humidity level.

So I encourage you to get out and try something new. Once you get to where ever or whatever it maybe, just find that one bit of strength or will to keep pushing through the bad part. Even though you have 100 steep steps to climb, you may end up at the top of a five and half mile mountain and see an incredible view. What will your adventure be today readers? Until next time readers, go out and try something that excites you!

 

In addition to the fun in Chuncheon, Tipton Hayes reflects on the stadium operations at the professional soccer match we attended.

Tipton Hayes

Before we left Seoul, we had the pleasure of visiting World Cup Stadium in Suwon. We received a personal tour from the Suwon Samsung Blue Wings FC. I loved their stadium. As we entered we parked next to the stadium, in one of the few 2000 parking spots. We entered what seemd as the club level. Then we took an elevator up to the teams suit, where team family and team staff stay for the game. We were greeted with this fabulous view of the venue, see pic one. We walked through the arena and as we did Mr. Lee was able to answer a few questions from myself. See pics two and three. This is a picture of the locker room at Suwon Stadium, and you can see the locker it self is not defined but the next picture is a picture inside the locker room for CentruryLink Field, you can clearly see the number and professional athlete whose game day wear is in the locker. Teams can only rent the stadium for an event, there for unlike in the states where Vulcan Inc has leased the stadium from the state of Washington, for 30 years, teams can not own venues. Interestingly the venue only has from the memorabilia of world cup events but none from the current team, due impart because of their lease agreements.

In My opinion it is not really to the benefit to either party to have this kind of agreement for the stadium. The Suwon stadium was built for the 2002 world cup and it has had limited use so the stadium currently still looks nice. The aging facility infrastructure could be a disadvantage to the team in the future since they can not change the LCD boards or add more concessions inside of the stadium. The stadium holds roughly 46,000 attendees. Unlike Seattle Sounders FC the stadium was no were near filling the stadium at capacity when we were in attendance. The lower bowl still needed to the filed, and the team can work on building their fan base. Since they have such a low number of parking spots available to the public, most people have to travel in by metro, subway, train or taxi. I was told that it was very difficult for Blue Wings to complete a transportation model with the current government, but they are working on it. Additionally the players bussed in from the practice site were they spend time with each other before a match up to three days prior. Many stadiums have their own player parking and only a few may be bussed in, besides the visiting team. This spot had a small area outside the stadium where people could gather and kids could play and families could buy team gear and play games.

During the game they have about 150 event staff to handle their fans. They also have three event managers. I saw that very few of them had a uniform. Most of the event staff were wearing orange vest with jeans and shirts of their own choice. I am very used to seeing event staff wearing a uniform from a private security company like CSC or Staff Pro. In a few cases like the Mariners and Seahawks/Sounders FC, DBA First and Goal Inc. Having a uniform for their staff. I did see a few security staff dressed up near the players entrance. I saw that there were very limited number of staff on the pitch. Even ball kids were few on the field. They did not have to worry about turf jumpers, the stadium has a good gap around the field to avert the potential jumpers from taking the field during the game. I would say the amount of staff is on point with the number of paying attendees.

This game was interesting because the supporters were in high intensity and as you can only imagine there were about 11 supporters for the visiting team, in a very empty section of the stadium. Tickets are not expensive at about $8 a game, or $100 a season. I would say that would be on par with most UCL teams.

I would that over all it was a great experience, I really enjoyed being there. The game was a tie but it was was fun to go to the pitch and take photos before the game and be with my other sport management friends. It was an experience that I would not trade. I had a great time with the team by my side, to answer any questions I had about the facility during the game.

tip2-3 Tip2-2 Tip2-1

More to come.

Chuncheon, South Korea is Beautiful

July 18th, 2014

It has been a while since our last post, but here are a few updates on our time in Chuncheon. It is hard to believe we are leaving here in two days. We have climbed a mountain, water skied, visited a temple on a mountain, and explored the 2018 olympic village as it is being constructed. We also visited the DMZ today. There will be blogs soon regarding that emotional, yet amazing experience.

To start this, Nick Frisk will discuss his impressions of Korea, having been here for two and a half weeks.

Nick Frisk

Since arriving in Korea about two and a half weeks ago many things have caught the eyes of the members of this trip. Some things more than others but one thing that has stuck in my mind since the moment we arrived was the vast amounts of FREE recreational activities that are available to the general public. Much of this trip is focused on past, present and future Olympic, World Cup, and professional sport venues. But what about the ‘Average Joe (or Joan) Korean’ walking around town after a hard day at work? What is there for he or she to do to stay healthy in a culture where the food is so gosh darn good (see post from 7/1)?

The students at Washington State are lucky enough to pay a small fee within our overall University fees to have a recreation center available to us almost all day every day. However much like here in Korea once students leave school the only option left it to pay for a gym or create a workout based on home equipment or the surroundings. As someone who enjoys working out and staying active I know how hard this can be during WSU’s vacations when I do not have the luxury of a student recreation center or the money to buy a gym membership. The Korean government, who oversees the park system, in Korea has devised a great plan to offer fitness equipment to the general public at each park.

To the very moment of writing this paper, seeing these workout machines has been the most unexpected discovery for me on this trip (see picture 1). We first discovered these ingenious devices exploring a park just behind our dorm in Seoul (we have since moved on to Chuncheon). They are not much to look at if you do not understand them. They basically look like playground equipment for adults complete with swinging platforms, boat like steering wheels and strength testers. But they each serve a purpose. There are a couple of different swinging platforms for cardio based workouts, a platform for swinging oblique workouts and a platform for gut busting abdomen workouts. The strength machines are actually an arm press workout that uses your own body weight against you and finally the steering wheels are there just for fun! Now I did not personally use these machines for a workout while in Seoul, but every time I passed a park on the bus or while walking I would see parents just hanging out while their kids played on the actual jungle gyms.

Much like America, Korea also offers many bike and walking trails for residents to use along with the regular parks that have kid’s play grounds. Also very similar to America, Korea has many outdoor sport courts which are open 24 hours a day (based on lighting) peppered throughout the parks. In Chuncheon specifically, I have not had to time to explore the parks surrounding the university’s campus but while passing by I continued to see the trails and many more free recreational activities, like croquet.

I am looking at the parks here in Korea and I cannot help but think ‘what is your problem America?’ There have been many headlines in the past 10 to 15 years about how America is becoming over weight and people back home are not exercising enough. Well one thing we can do is upgrade our parks system. These little workout machines are brilliant not to mention a huge step towards promoting physical activity starting with the parents. Gym memberships can be very expensive in the United States so I understand why someone would be averted from purchasing one. If these workout contraptions were placed next to play grounds or youth sport fields it will literally start killing two physically active birds with one stone. I can also see how it can possibly be hard for parents to ‘find time for activities’ but if America were to take a page out of Korea’s handbook we would be taking a nice big step in the right direction.

Picture 1 – Photo credit to Mike Dempsey and his blog post on August 17, 2010. http://mjdempsey09.blogspot.kr/

Nick2-1

Picture 2 – This is a scaled down model of the Olympic park in Seoul, South Korea (please excuse our tired traveler, it was along day). The thing that caught my eye about this park is just the overall size of it. Everything above the stadiums in picture is a huge park complete with jungle gyms, workout spots, trails fountains and the arch commemorating the games (halfway up on the left in the photo). Trust me it is much larger in person!

Nick2-2

 

Thank you Nick.

Now to hear from Josh Tyler about watching professional Soccer, visiting a temple, and water sports.

Josh Tyler

Today marks two and a half weeks since we have been in Korea and it has been an amazing experience. Everything that we have done has been such a different experience that you just learn so much from a different perspective. Korean culture is just incredible, the generosity, the humblism, the generosity of the people here is mind blowing. People here treat you with so much respect without even knowing you. They greet you properly, they thank you for everything, and they just want the best for you regardless of the situation. It truly is something incredible, these two and half weeks have shown me what I can do better just on a day to day life to make people around me better. The culture here is just like nothing else.

 

My experiences since the last time I have posted my blog have been amazing. We went to a soccer game, saw an incredible museum about the World Cup in 2002, we went to a temple that was built over a 1000 years ago, and today (7/9) we got to meet the President of Kangwon National University and we experienced Korean water sports. The only way I can explain the experience is once in a lifetime. The students that decided to come to this country made the best decision possible. I can speak from myself saying I was on the fence about the idea of coming to Korea, but I am so glad I decided to come. Dr. Rhee and Dr. Lebens make this experience just incredible, everything they have organized has been awesome.

 

Something that I really enjoyed since I last posted was the incredible temple we had the opportunity to visit. It started by going to Koreas largest dam (Soyang dam) and then taking a boat to a base of a mountain and hiking to the temple halfway up the mountain. The temple, Chung Pyungsa, was absolutely beautiful and well maintained. It was built over 1000 years ago, and legend has it, if Korean temples last longer than 1000 years they become very spiritual and a Korean National Treasure. The upkeep of the temple was incredible. The temple itself was from the Buddhist religion, and one of the few temples that survived the overwhelming attempts to get the religion out of the country. The temple had a great story to it that just explained the way of the Buddha. The temple was incredible. The entire process of getting to the temple was awesome.

Today (7/9) we got to experience Korean water sports. We were able to wakeboard, ski, and tube on a lake. This was just like home on a hot summer day with your friends. It was a nice connection to home because some of us (including me) miss our family and friends. We also were able to take some of the Korean students that we meet initially at WSU in February. We all had a blast experiencing the water sports. I really enjoyed wakeboarding because its something I usually do every summer and I was glad I was able to do it in South Korea. Also, to be able to say I did it here is awesome! I am taking every day in full stride and experiencing what South Korea has to offer and I am really enjoying my time here. I cannot wait for what’s in store next on this amazing journey!

Video link here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EOmwyYxvMkY

More to come from the “Cougs in Korea”.

 

 

Cougs in Korea Moving.

July 7th, 2014

We have moved from Seoul Tech to the Kangwon province of South Korea we are now at Kangwon National University. The air is clear and the city is more like Pullman. We are surrounded bu tree covered mountains and as Dr. Hwang from KNU describes, “ the leisure sport capital of Korea. While here we will visit the future home of the 2018 Winter Olympics and many other sport related activities. These will include mountaineering, water sports and leisure activities (what we call recreation). We will be on water, in mountains, and possibly in the air, even though our insurance does not cover it. If the choice is made to participate I will draft a waver and have it approved by WSU before any such activity happens.

Needless to say, the experience of traveling from one part of the country to another is priceless. J.T. Cook of Cougs Guys and Gals and a Sport Management Senior decided to write on this experience for you all to “hopefully” understand. I miss you so much Pullman, and WSU! Here are some very entertaining words from J.T.

 

“Bali bali,” has been the theme of the last two weeks in Seoul; a phrase that can be translated to “hurry, hurry” in English. We would meet in the morning to run around a city occupied by millions upon millions of busy people and get back to the dorms in evening, sticky from dried sweat and exhausted from the day’s activities. Always running and always busy, something that is good for me because it means that I’m being active and learning new things. Seoul was incredible with so many new cultural experiences, food, and sporting facilities to learn about, but Sunday we bid farewell to a place that pushed our cultural limits and hopped on a train to a new and exciting place.

The morning started with a pretty laid back attitude, as Dr. Rhee made a pretty smart decision to leave a good 4 hours early to reach Yungson Station in plenty of time to catch the two o’clock train to Chuncheon. If you haven’t already heard, we hadn’t been the most punctual of groups over the last two weeks so leaving at ten in the morning for a trip we’ve made multiple times was definitely a smart call. We gathered at the CU Market to grab our coffees, and embarked with suitcases that weighed more than Courtney and backpacks that made us look like a group of bipedal turtles.

The first leg of the trip was the walk from the dorm to the bus. Now this may not sound like a very exciting part of the trip, but it is the part that made us realize just how long of a day we were in for. As we all arrived at the N13 bus, we realized one person was a little slower than the rest of us. I looked over and noticed that Professor Lebens was simultaneously lifting and rolling his suitcase. An awkward movement that can only be explained by a broken wheel. The score stands: suitcase – 1 and Professor Lebens – 0. Eventually he got to the bus and we struggled lifting the suitcases up the steps inside, but we prevailed and proudly took up more than half of the space on the bus.

When we arrived at the subway station entrance, we were pleased to find a plethora of escalators and elevators that would assist us in reaching the depths of the station and then back above ground in order to get on the number 6 line. One of the perks of leaving so early was that the “bali bali” attitude that had plagued us for most of our stay was beginning to fade. We were able to take the time to have Korean breakfast sandwiches and coffee at our terminal and even though we missed the first train, it didn’t matter because we still had three and a half hours to complete a 16 stop train ride.

As the train pulled up, the game started because, along with our always late reputation, we had also lost a few people to pre-mature subway door closing. A feeling that can only be described as mixed reactions of hysterical laughing by those looking out of the subway doors and seeing the facial expression of the person left behind. Do not worry, we always reconvened at the next stop and joined the lost soul on the next train. Anyways, this was a time that we definitely did not want to lose someone so we strategically split ourselves into teams of two order to efficiently load not only ourselves but also our shadows on wheels onto the train. Good news, we succeeded. WSU Students – 1, Seoul Public Transportation – 0.

The train ride was smooth as most of us has a place to sit and we had enough space to place our suitcases nicely between our legs so that inertia would take our luggage to the other end of the train, as Picture A so nicely illustrates. Apparently Dr. Rhee didn’t get the memo because every time the bus stopped and started, he would just seem to follow his freely rolling suitcase back and forth between the students and Professor Lebens on opposite ends of the train.

When we arrived to Yongsun Station, we still had a couple of hours to kill so we decided to leave our luggage in a corner where one of us would stand guard and make sure everything was safe while everyone else went and got some food (big thanks to Indigo, Professor Lebens, and Tipton for their service). As we walked around the mall, we came across a little puppy adoption center where you could fawn over the cutest and littlest puppies. I have to say it took every inch of my being to not walk out of that building with the little guy in Picture B. Seeing him was one of the highlights of my day so I had to share.

We made it with plenty of time to spare so we got yet another chance to hang out in a corner with our luggage to wait for another train as you can see in Picture C. When we got on the train we had our own seats that we could spin around 180 degrees so we could face one another. That lasted a good 30 seconds because knees were touching other knees and it was just uncomfortable. We settled in for what we thought was going to be two hour train ride. About an hour into the trip, me and me and my fellow classmates were writing essays or beginning to doze off as we pulled up to the Nomchuncheon station. I faintly heard Dr. Rhee mutter something in Korean on his phone as he stood up and commanded, “Get off the train!” The next 30 seconds became the epitome of “bali bali” as that’s all it took for the sleeping to wake, the studious to pack up, and for bags to be on the ground ready to get off the train. You would think that would be an ample amount of time for us to be able to exit, but as we started heading for doors, they slowly began to close as we heard Dr. Rhee mutter, “we didn’t make it, we have to get off at the next stop.”

Luckily the next stop was about three minutes down the track and we were officially in Chuncheon. The first thing you hear Courtney and Nick say as they exited the train was, “I like it here,” because the air is clear and the scenery is beautiful. We have heard Chuncheon is a lot slower than Seoul, which is good because now we hoped that “bali bali” won’t be as frequently spoken as it was in Seoul. I think I speak for everyone when I say we are extremely excited to see what this beautiful city has to offer and I look forward to being able to write about more great things in eight short days. Let another new adventure begin!

More to come as we explore this side of the country. #JT

-Chris Lebens

#cougsinkorea

Kimber Behrends (Sport Management Major) Talks About an Experience in Korea

July 7th, 2014

We toured 2 of the 2002 World Cup stadiums in Korea. We had the opportunity to watch the Suwon Blue Wings in their home opener while welcoming back a World Cup player. Kimber chose to share her story with you.

Suwon World Cup Stadium

Kimber Kimber 2

So far during our time here in Korea we have toured multiple facilities, but in my opinion the best tour so far has been the 2002 World Cup Stadium in Suwon. From the outside it may look like just another stadium, but on the inside it is breath taking. This stadium was built specifically for the 2002 FIFA World Cup matches and is filled with vibrant colors that amaze the visitors. The seating within the stadium swirls from blue to green, then yellow to orange. The pitch is filled with perfect, deep green, striped grass that is highlighted by the multi-colored seating. Each tunnel within the stadium is filled with pictures or memorabilia from the 2002 World Cup games in order to forever remember Korea’s accomplishments from that year. Not only did Korea make it to the semifinals that year, but it also united as a country that had been striving and fighting for success. Although they did not win the World Cup, they did succeed as a country.

Upon arriving at the Suwon World Cup Stadium, I thought it would be just like the previous stadium we visited, which to me did not stand out very much. But, once I stepped foot in the doors of this stadium I quickly realized that this was nothing like the last World Cup Stadium we visited in Seoul. Maybe it was the gameday atmosphere or just the enthusiasm from the people who worked at the stadium, but either way, this stadium made me feel excited. Not everyone is able to get private tours of historical stadiums, but I, along with my fellow Cougs, were lucky enough to be some of the people who were lucky enough. Being able to walk around the halls of the stadium, through the museum, and into the players’ locker room was more than I could have wished for. I will admit that just over one year ago I did not care about soccer at all, but since then I have developed a passion for the sport. So, having the opportunity to kick the same soccer ball that the players practice with, along with being able walk onto the grass of the pitch, made me feel like a kid in a candy store. It was hard for me to contain my excitement. Not only did we get a tour of the whole facility, but we were also invited to watch a match between Suwon and Gangnam later that evening.

During the soccer match we were able to sit wherever we wanted. Right behind the Gangnam players’ bench, four rows up, we had the best view in the stadium. Not only did we get a front row view of the game, but we were also able to observe the fan section. Watching the Suwon fan section was like watching the Seattle Sounders fan section, but better. Each fan was wearing the team color (blue), and the fans in the front rows were waiving giant flags throughout the whole game. The greatest difference that I noticed was that the Suwon fans did not stop chanting or waiving the flag throughout the entirety of the game, no matter what. Although I had great front row seats behind the players, I wanted to experience what it was like to be in the fan section at this game. As I approached the fan section, I could feel the electricity coming from the crowd. No one was sitting; everyone was standing, jumping, and chanting for their team. Each time Suwon was about to score a goal the crowd would go wild. The passion emitting from each fan was intoxicating and made me love and appreciate this sport even more. I could only imagine what the atmosphere must have been like twelve years ago during one of the actual World Cup matches. This was the best day so far this summer, no contest. Getting a private tour of the stadium along with joining in on the excitement of the fan section was more than I could have asked for. Whether I was a soccer fan or not before this day, it was an experience of a lifetime that I will never be able to forget.

Our visit to the Korean 1988 Olympic Grounds

July 6th, 2014

I cannot say that I have seen a stadium more majestic or amazing than what we saw last week. The experience we had at the 1988 Olympic facilities, was nothing short of amazing. I am excited to share thoughts from Courtney Gold, a Sport Management major. Her story is touching and I hope you are moved by it and that she conveys to you how powerful of an experience this was for us. Following Courtney is a piece from Derick Margerum regarding the same venue. He mentions how we were even allowed to run on the olympic track! Enjoy this post from Courtney and Derick.

-Chris Lebens

 

After being in Korea for almost two weeks now I am slowly beginning to adjust to the culture, food and weather. Being a picky eater, I am proud to say that I have tried foods I would not have tried in the states. Besides trying new food I have had the privilege to visit places that I would have never had imagined. I have been able to see places such as the 1988 Olympic Stadium, Olympic Park, Olympic Memorial Museum, and the Korean Olympic Training Center.

On Tuesday July 1, 2014 the group made the trip out to the 1988 Olympic Stadium. Now this was something I was excited to see due to the history of Korea and their efforts to inspire their country after years of economic tragedy. After South Korea was annexed from Japan in 1910, they were left in economic ruins. The Korean people were hungry and looked upon as a hopeless country. When they were granted the 1988 Olympics in 1980, there was a sense of hope. Walking up to the stadium I tried to picture what it would be like when the stadium was being built. I then tried to feel the emotion of those who were able to actually experience the moment of the opening ceremonies. The excitement and joy of the Korean people must have gone beyond leaps and bonds. Beyond the actual emotions of the people it must have been an amazing sight to see what the country of Korea could do when given the opportunity to host the 1988 Olympics. Seeing the outside of the stadium I was impressed to see how advanced South Korea was in their architecture. It was also interesting to see the effort that was made and the money spent to make this event a success. In the states we see more focus on professional sport athletes, rather than amateur athletes. Once we were able to enter the Olympic Stadium I could not believe how big it was on the inside. Just imagining the opening ceremony and the screaming fans in the seats of the stadium is an unreal experience. Below I was able to take a step back and capture the inside of the Olympic Stadium and get the chance to go onto the track and field. Having this opportunity is one of many that I will receive on this trip that I will never be able to forget about it.

StadiumStadium1

Now moving on, July 2, 2014 was the day the group made the trip out to the Korean Olympic Training Facility. This was a moment to remember because this training facility is not open to the public. Knowing this I did my best to soak in all the amazing things I was about to see. One of the first places we went into was the athlete’s training room. I have been in gyms before, which many of us have, but nothing like the one we were about to see. It was huge, offering the best equipment to all the Korean athletes who had the opportunity to train in this facility. A few of us then saw some climbing ropes and thought we would give it a shot and see how high we could climb up.

ropesNeedless to say I personally did not do that well. It was definitely a funny experience because I realized that it was more difficult than I imagined. It gave the others and myself in the group a good laugh and something we can remember upon our return home. Most of the buildings we went into were empty because the majority of the athletes were on their break, but we than walked in on a women’s handball practice.

handballBefore walking in we were told to be quiet because there was a practice going on. I did not think we were going to see any athletes training, so seeing this was a great treat. As mentioned prior I noticed that there were some differences in the way the United States conducted sport from Korea. Korea definitely took more time, money and effort in making their amateur athletes a success in not only the Olympics, but the Asian games as well. This particular day I felt extremely special because many people will never be able to experience what I had that day. I saw actual amateur athletes in training and the facilities that made them a success. I will never forget what I was offered and could never express enough gratitude to those who made this trip to the Olympic Training Facility possible.

Just in the short week and a half that I have been in South Korea I have had the opportunity to see and do things that many could never dream of. As the days and weeks progress I will further report on the many new experiences. I am beyond grateful that I was able to go on this trip to see and experience things with the group of people that are here with me! Without them, this trip would not be the same and I would not have gained the memories I have received thus far. Go Cougs!

Now from Derick Margerum, Sport Management major.

Happy 4th of July from Seoul, South Korea! We have been in Seoul for almost ten days now and this experience has been a blast so far. What I like about Seoul is that there are always things to do whether its visiting historical sites, stadiums, and markets you name it and this city probably has it.

During the first couple weeks of the trip I got really got to see what Seoul is all about. I am somewhat of a picky eater, but coming into this trip I knew I was going to have to expand my horizons and try new food. For example, on one of the first few days eating in the cafeteria we had squid for breakfast! This shocked me because I don’t like seafood and I was sure they wouldn’t have it for breakfast, but it actually was not that bad. Squid for breakfast was just another unique food that was offered here in this culture, so I had to be prepared on what food came at me next. Many of the adventures led to us exploring the vast array of street markets that sold a variety of things from food to jewelry, and we even enjoyed some fun at Lotte world amusement park.

The main reason why I wanted to come over here was to experience the sports culture, and explore the many stadiums and facilities that Seoul has. On Tuesday we visited the Olympic Stadium site as well as the park. The Olympic Stadium was a majestic beauty right in the heart of the city. It was a little run down but it was very similar in look to the Los Angeles Coliseum, and spewed great Olympic history. Carl Lewis raced at the Olympic Stadium where he won gold in the 100 meters and long jump in 1988 (Sports Reference, 2014). We were fortunate enough to enter the stadium, and just the thought of being inside a stadium where the greatest athletes in the participated was a surreal experience. The group decided it would be awesome to run a lap around the track, and I did my best Carl Lewis imprecation when I finished. Inside the Olympic Park there is a museum adjacent to the stadium that contains historical artifacts from all the Olympics and that was really interesting. It was really awesome to go to an Olympic site for the first time to learn and experience what it was like back in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

I have learned a lot about South Korea in the week and half we have been here. I hope to gain better insight about sport and culture in Korea, and I am excited for the upcoming opportunities in the next few weeks.

More to come!

More from Korea.

July 3rd, 2014

By criminal justice major Tipton Hayes

Visiting Korea, has been a great experience. I have always been a transit- and walking-to-your-destination type of person. As we started are experience it was a one and half hour drive from the airport to our new place on the other side of Seoul. It was nice to take a cab from the airport but, given the copious amount of transportation options that Seoul, has. I was looking forward to taking the rail into the university.

I love being able to walk down to the subway system and hop on a rail car and be there quickly. It has been a great experience to be on the subway and meet with Koreans. I also love that you can use the internet on a rail car. I think that is fantastic. Korean phones also have TV on them. Accessible transportation to sport venues is essential in order to provide quick entry and fast egress once the event is completed. My photos were taken at Doota mall, overlooking Dondgaemun History and Culture park. Dongdaemun subway stop is a few blocks away from these to fabulous places located in Euljiro. There are many shops in this area of town you can get anything very cheaply and even bargain the price down. This is also a site of a baseball stadium it has now been repurposed after artifacts were found. A museum is also there to show case many of the old equipment from the stadium and player memorabilia. The space was very tiny but, seemed full of items from the 1920, 30, 40 and etcetera.

Hopping from metro to train, bus, or cab has been extremely simple. One can even use their bus card for a cab fare. This to me shows to me that the systems are very intelligently integrated. I have yet to take a cab that had a fare more then $7.

Everyday our professors have planned out an event, even if we do not visit a sport facility there are many event management areas in play. We have been lucky to receive personal tours from the palaces that we visit. It takes a while to learn about the venues and I really appreciate how knowledgeable the staff are when listening to them tell us about the venue or when I ask questions.

A track athlete’s perspective of Korean olympic stadium

July 3rd, 2014

By WSU track athlete Indigo Williams

Today, the sport management group and I got to travel to the 1988 World Olympic Stadium. When we arrived to the stadium we were able to walk around and look at what an Olympic stadium really entailed both inside and outside. This athletics facility grabbed my attention in so many different ways that at first I was over whelmed with joy but then with a little bit of disappointment.

I personally was amazed at how big the venue was, but actually very shocked by how run down the outside looked. When looking at the pictures and statues of some of the best athletes in the world, I found myself asking one question, “why does this place look like no one cares for it?” After talking with the group we were then told that this facility does not get money from the government to help with the upkeep. One would think that this facility and the people who run it would want to show pride in the athletes who brought their country fame. I think that it is sad that these athletes’ pictures are in such bad shape and some even vandalized. I guess maybe I was just thinking that these athletes should be portrayed in more of a way that shows respect and lets younger generations know who they are and what they did. As for the inside of the stadium, now that was a little bit different, the grass was well kept and even the seating looked new. I mean I even ran a lap around the track and admired what it felt like to be running on the same track as an Olympian.

After hanging around on the track and taking some photos, the group and I went over to “The Hope Factory” which is the 1988 interactive exhibition about the Olympic values. Here we were able to go through about forty different exercises that taught us about the Olympics. This was a great experience, and I really did learn more about the prejudices and simple stereotypes that are associated with the Olympics. Some of the questions that we were asked I never really thought about before, like when they asked if “by being in a wheel chair made one of the Olympians disabled?” To me I see that person not as being a disable athlete but a contestant in the Olympics. In this factory there are many different hands on activities that linked all back to one common thing, the Olympics. Our group got the privilege to ride in a 4D simulator while watching Kim Yu-Na, who is an Olympic medalist. From there we went down the museum that held all of the different artifacts and statues made of the different all time athletes in 1988. This room was filled with a piece of something from each event in Olympics it felt like. Though the main focus was on the 1988 Olympics, this building was only a small part of the Olympic history.

From The Hope Factory, we went to an amusement park called Lotte world. I feel like I have to tell you about our adventure here because I was able to go on one of the tallest free falling drops ever, well I mean it was only seventy meters high but it felt like the tallest and longest drop ever. This ride was awesome, you get on and as you are rising to the top you are doing a complete 360 degree rotation, getting what feels like a full view of Seoul. You are up there for about five seconds and then drop going about one hundred kilometers an hour. The best part about this ride was I got to gopro the entire thing. It was awesome.
All in all I got to experience being in an Olympic facility first hand and I only have one other goal, and that would be to go to a facility when there is actually a real life Olympics going on. But I am really happy that I got this opportunity and I cannot wait to share my next activity with you guys.

More From Korea

July 2nd, 2014
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Gyeongbokgung Palace

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Middle School Soccer Pitch

By Josh Tyler, sport management student who graduated in May

Today marks the first full week that I have been in South Korea, and holy cow this country is awesome. I have seen so many different things and experienced things unlike any other place in the world. I truly am lucky to be here, this country has shown me so many different perspectives of how people live their lives. Everything from food, leisure, transportation, sport, everything has a different way it can be done and I have only experienced a week of it and I am very excited for the 5 more weeks to come.

Throughout the first week I have experienced a lot of Korean culture. Dating back from historical times to modern day events. Something that really stuck out to me was the historic presence this country has within itself. For example, when we toured the Gyeongbokgung
Palace you could feel the history coming out of the place. From the palace itself, to the museum of all the historical clothing, food, weapons, everything was just incredible to see. I really appreciated how the country keeps the traditions alive in some parts of the country. For example, today we were able to experience a traditional martial arts show performed on a stage for people to enjoy what Taekwondo was and how it impacted the culture for Koreans. Another event was a traditional dinner where we sat down criss­cross and ate a traditional meal. That was quite the experience itself seeing how people really used to eat every meal. The food is a whole another part of Korea that has been an experience within itself. Although I was never a fan of fish or spicy foods, Korea (from what I have had thus far) has given me so much variety in picking something that can suit my liking! Oh ya don’t forget to master chopsticks, you might die if you don’t. I have grown to like the food and its different tastes, its quite good actually, also the portions are huge so you’ll never leave hungry. The culture is so much different than back home and that’s why I am really enjoying myself.

Something I loved seeing being a Sport Management student was how the sporting complexes varied from the US. The university we are staying at (Seoul National University of Science and Technology) is currently constructing a field to host soccer games and has a track around it assuming for the colleges soccer and track teams. It was completely different in my eyes from a US stadium because there was not much seating and a lot of like training rooms, locker rooms for the school. It was just different where in US the goal is to get people in seats, where as it felt they were just building the best facility for the athletes. It was just really cool to see. Also, there are parks everywhere in Seoul. Basketball courts, soccer pitches (some on rooftops of malls), kid parks, even some have work out equipment in the parks themselves. That was the first time I had ever seen work out equipment in a park, really cool because its different. People also ride bikes everywhere, the city of Seoul kind of reminded me of Portland in the sense everyone rides bikes. Seoul on the other hand has 10.4 million people in the city itself (World Population, 2014), where as Oregon barely has 3 million total people (Census Burrow, 2014). The city offers so many different things and it just really is incredible how much you can do. Another thing that is really close by is a driving range for golfers. It is across the entrance to our dorm buildings. It’s cool to see how close things are for the students to be able to access and use. As I continue to experience Korea I am going to be excited to see a lot of the differences that this country has to offer in sport.

For the first week here in Korea I think I have experienced so much I am shocked with all that I have experienced and the sheer amount of things that this country has to offer. I am really excited and eager to see what else I can learn about sport and how Korean culture is around it while I am here for five more weeks. I think it is going to be very different from the United States and I can’t wait to be able to share it. This first week has been a blast and I cannot wait for more to come. #GoCougs

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