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Washington State University

Equity Brown Bag

PRESENTATION: The Problem with Colorblindness

In this workshop, WSU Vancouver faculty member Shameem Rakha will define colorblind ideology, examine the history behind its use, and why holding this ideology is problematic in education and elsewhere. We will also discuss ways to talk about and frame race within our scholarship. Systemic racism will be discussed as a part of this topic.

Diversity in the classrooms

By Paula Groves Price, Associate Dean for Diversity and International Programs

This fall has been an exciting semester for elementary education. It included our WSU students visiting classrooms in Pullman Schools, grades 1-4, and teaching lessons on tribal sovereignty, and integrated critical social justice issues in language arts and mathematics lessons. This helped realize part of my dream of giving our pre-service teachers more practical experience in multicultural lesson planning and culturally-responsive teaching.

Here’s a video we put together about our students working at Jefferson Elementary School in Pullman:

While many teacher education programs across the country require a course on diversity or multiculturalism, most do not provide opportunities for teacher candidates to put theory into practice and engage with children on many of the tough equity issues that we face as a society. The reality is that children in America’s schools need and want to have these dialogues, and they deserve to have teachers that are equipped with the knowledge and skills to facilitate lessons and conversations about difference and equity.

When novice teachers can take risks and gain experience facilitating dialogue with children on issues of race, class, gender, and justice, they are more likely enter into the teaching profession with the confidence to teach multi-culturally and from culturally-responsive frameworks. For the youth in our schools, these lessons provide opportunities to think critically, engage in conversations around difference, and recognize their power to make their school and society more equitable and just.

As a parent with a young African American child in the Pullman Schools, it excites me to see her enthusiasm for having WSU students and multi-cultural books and lesson brought into her classroom. Perhaps the greatest outcome, however, is the significant lessening of the micro-aggressions that she and many students of color experience in school. As young children learn more explicitly about diversity, they also become more committed to ensuring that their school and class are inclusive.

Schools across the country, and in the State of Washington are becoming increasingly diverse, both culturally and linguistically, but the teaching profession is not diversifying at the same rate. Part of my mission is to ensure that teachers who graduate from WSU have a strong sense of understanding of what it means to be a culturally-responsive educator, and put those ideas and lessons into practice. When teachers understand multiculturalism as simply “good teaching,” it can then be implemented with all of the state and national standards that are required of them, and not as an “add on” to be done when time permits. Their approach to teaching, developing lessons, and creating community in their classrooms is one that facilitates greater justice. Their experiences in the program with the Pullman Schools are just the beginning. I know that my child, and many children across the state, are counting on them to continue to teach multiculturally.

First Dominican-born PhD student in WSU history set to graduate

By: Trevor Havard – College of Education Intern

Abraham Barouch-Gilbert, a PhD student in the Educational Psychology program, is believed to become the first Dominican-born PhD graduate in WSU history.Gilbert

“Being the first known Dominican PhD graduate is a great accomplishment and the beginning of a new journey,” he said.

Barouch-Gilbert is not only excited about his current accomplishment, but also what it will allow him to do for the Dominican moving forward.

“It means I have the privilege of contributing directly to Dominican higher education and society at large,” he said. More specifically, Barouch-Gilbert will continue to research student experiences when on academic probation in the Dominican, along with teaching and mentoring processes in higher education.

At WSU, along with being a PhD student Barouch-Gilbert worked as a research assistant for University Recreation performing research and assessments. He received two research grants from his university back home in the Dominican Republic, the Technological Institute of Santo Domingo, with which he produced multiple poster presentations for the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and WSU’s academic showcase, as well as a manuscript that is slated for publication this November, along with two research papers currently under review.

“Upon graduation I will contribute in full to higher education in the Dominican Republic.”

Cougs with strong showing in Malaysia

The 13th annual EARCOS Teachers’ Conference was held in Malaysia on March 26-28. Officially, the theme was “Language for Life.”

Unofficially, it was “Cougs Take Over Malaysia.”

Led by our International School Leadership Program (ISLP) leads Forrest Parkay and Walt Gmelch, as well as other educational leadership folks like Glenys Hill and Teena McDonald, the college hosted a successful Cougar Gold and Washington Wines Reception.

Here are a few photos of the reception:

For more info on the ISLP, visit:

Pyeongchang 2018

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. – Chris Lebens

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

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

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

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. – Chris Lebens

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!

 Chris Lebens: 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

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.

– Chris Lebens

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.


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!


Chris Lebens: 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:

More to come from the “Cougs in Korea”.

Cougs in Korea Moving.

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.

– Chris Lebens

“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

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

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.