“Anyoung haseyo, Korea!”
Sport management students will say “Hello” in person this summer as the College of Education debuts a six-week faculty-led study abroad program in South Korea.
“Korea is a perfect fit because it does global sports on a global scale. Having our students experience that is invaluable,” said Chris Lebens trip co-leader and clinical assistant professor at Washington State University.
“It’s important for our students who will be working in sports to see what the possibilities are outside the United States,” said Yong Chae Rhee, assistant professor and co-leader.
Gisela Ernst-Slavit, the college’s associate dean for diversity and international programs, said travel abroad offers students opportunities for transformative experiences.
“This is a fabulous way for students to gain insights and experiences first-hand, with the guided experience of trusted faculty members,” added Laurie Quiring, associate director of the WSU Office of International Programs.
South Korea is a hotbed for global competition. It recently was awarded the 2018 Winter Olympics. It also hosted the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, the 2002 (soccer) World Cup and the 1988 Summer Olympics.
The only other countries to have hosted all four of these large events are France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
But, “Korea is a great place to visit even without any sports,” Lebens said.
It is one of the few high-income developed countries in Asia and also one of the world’s oldest civilizations, with a history of nearly 5,000 years.
“Traveling to South Korea is a wonderful experience,” said Quiring. “The culture is unique, technology is rampant, the food is delicious and the people are welcoming and kind.”
Students will visit three universities in South Korea: Chungang University in Seoul, Pusan National University in Pusan and Kangwon National University in Chuncheon.
“Students will be able to see much of the country, plus visit multiple sports venues and sporting events,” Rhee said.
“Because programs like these are providing academic content that would normally be delivered over a 15-week semester, the courses are rigorous and involve a detailed itinerary of both academic and experiential learning opportunities,” Quiring said.
To help students adjust to Korean culture, host universities will offer buddy programs and weekend excursions for sport activities such as mountain biking, orienteering and taekwondo.
The opportunity aligns well with the college’s core values of diversity and globalization, said Ernst-Slavit: “The College of Education hopes to continuously expand international education opportunities that can benefit students, faculty and staff.”
The college just celebrated the 25th anniversary of its partnership with the school system of Nishinomiya, Japan. Through that program, the school district works with the college to hire a teacher of English as a second language.
And since 2002, the college has provided technical support for the educational administration doctoral program at Khon Kaen University in Thailand.