[Focus] Course Reflection: An Introductory Course on Korean Culture2017-12-19Hit:810
KGSF is offering “Introduction to Korean Culture and Finance” for new foreign students. Created by Professor Abraham Shragge, this course provides incoming FMBA students with an introduction to life and culture in Korea, the city of Seoul and the KAIST College of Business. While not specifically academic in content, the course offers significant intellectual elements intended to help students enjoy and benefit from their time in Korea.
The course consists of classroom sessions and the Saturday outings. Classroom meetings include lectures, discussions and media presentations, while the Saturday classes feature field trips incorporating outdoor experiences, museum visits and cultural immersion activities.
The students pointed out that the traditional activities that were the focus of the course were fundamental for understanding and comprehending the unique aspects of Korean culture. We now introduce a course review from one of the new students who joined this class in the fall semester.
MARTHA NABIRYE (FMBA 2017)
COURSE REFLECTION ESSAY
Looking back over this course, I feel that I learned a great deal of new, interesting and practical materials about the Korean Culture. For the majority of the class, we physically visited learning centers like museums, and participated in many activities that emulate the typical Korean culture like cycling, hiking, cooking, arts and crafts. We also had face to face classroom lectures in line with the Korean culture in comparison with other cultures (Asian cultures) by Professor Abraham, discussions and presentations about what we learned from our visits, for example, “Cultural Shock”. I believe it is because of this class that I have become a better critical thinker, historian, patriotic, and my presentation skills have greatly improved because this course required me to do PowerPoint presentations about the activities we had carried out or places we had visited. After taking this course for about one month, I realized that it had made a significant change in my life. I value the qualities that this course gifts to the students because it has improved me as a student, learner and as an active member in society.
One of the activities that I remember, and consequently that stuck with me through the course’s entirety was the Korean culture of cycling (riding bicycles). In my country, cycling is not embraced and it is attributed to the lower class as means of transport and it’s no wonder the government has not constructed any roads in consideration of cyclists, not even a park. I came to KAIST when I didn’t know how to ride a bicycle and I never tried or even picked interest in learning this activity because I wondered what people enjoyed in cycling. I strongly believed I could never do it (balancing on two wheels) but my turning point was in this class. It is in this class that I took my first steps and my whole perception about cycling was changed, that is after going for a bicycle ride along Han River (Oksu) and realized that it is a family activity, for leisure and embraced by many Koreans (south Koreans) irrespective of age and status. I now consider cycling one of my hobbies, a physical activity good for my health and YES I can ride a bicycle; courtesy of this class. As a government official, I can and will advocate for construction of roads I consideration of cyclists and promote this activity as a fun and family activity by setting up a park like the one in Oksu. In addition to this activity, other memorable classes are, the Korean box making class, hiking and Kimchi preparation class that left every student with practical memorable skills; I insist, never judge a book by its cover.
This course made me appreciate the history of South Korea, that is the rise from grass to grace. I was humbled when we visited the War Memorial museum in Yongsan; it made me believe that, life is really what we make it, and good life comes with hard work and commitment. Many Koreans and non-Koreans lost their lives in the struggle to get their country to where it is now (they left a legacy), the preservation of the equipment, the display and the literature in this museum is timeless and will make you pay tribute, respect and appreciate all the people who participated in the wars that led to the present Korea and the country South Korea as a whole, not forgetting the hardworking character in South Koreans. The walking tour around Seoul, visit to the Seoul museum of History, National museum and the Seooreung tombs can clearly confirm this transition; it is evident and to me, this is a MIRACLE. These tours can help me in sell ideas in my country when it comes to economic development. In a nutshell, the course is practical and relevant for any future leader or government official participating in decision making giving them visionary ideas that will lead to stable economic growth.
As a foreign student, this class made me adapt easily to the South Korean lifestyle plus culture and I believe I am much different from the first day in South Korea, Asia. Not only have my skills academically improved but also as a person I am changed for example, I can now ride a bicycle, I enjoy hiking, I can make my own jewellery box and I can prepare kimchi in 30minutes (additional salad to my African food menu.). Over the course of my learning, I believe that these activities shaped a new learning process and showed me a great amount of progress. Being in this class has allowed me to experience not only new stories, theories and facts, but I was exposed to a wide variety of diversity (Cultures) in the classroom.