While he’s been getting a taste of American culture as a visiting professor in the School of Business, Dr. Kyung Joe is excited that the campus will learn about his country during the Korea Semester in the fall.
“There is no exposure to Korea in this area, so I would like them to experience Korean culture; the Korea Semester is a casual way of introducing that,” says Joe. Food, Korean Thanksgiving, traditional plays and karaoke are among some of the cultural highlights he hopes the campus will enjoy.
Other members of the campus community who call Korea home expressed their excitement for the Korea Semester and shared some of the cultural differences they’ve noticed during their time at Missouri Southern.
“There is more diversity here,” says Dr. Hyunjung Kim, an assistant professor in the Communications Department. “The students in my Intercultural Communication class are the most culturally diverse class.”
Exchange student Diana Kang says she came to Missouri Southern through a connection with the university she previously attended in Korea.
“People are very kind here and take really good care of me,” she says. “Everyone says hi! In Korea, that does not happen. People here make eye contact.”
Korean Thanksgiving is something Kang hopes Americans can learn more about during the Korea semester. It is known as ‘Hangawi,’ which means the 15th day of August according to the lunar calendar. Families gather at the home of their parents or grandparents and prepare a traditional meal, including rice cakes. Tradition holds that whoever makes the best rice cakes will have a pretty baby.
Joe, Kim and Kang each expressed hope that events such as the Korea Semester can help bridge the gap between cultures, and that people can come to understand that they have more in common than they do differences.