Celebration of Korean Culture Planned for Fall 2017

Missouri Southern will celebrate the 20th anniversary of our nationally recognized themed semester program in Fall 2017 with the Korea Semester.

A faculty and student committee has been planning the events throughout the spring semester. The committee includes two Korean faculty members, Dr. Hyunjung Kim (communication) and Dr. Kyung Joe (management), and a student, Lauren Lant, who spent a semester at Sangmyung University in Seoul.

While the semester’s focus will be on South Korea (the Republic of Korea), we do not want to overlook the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). It’s hardly a Democratic nation; its totalitarian dictatorship and human rights abuses make it one of the most repressive nations that ever existed. Still, we cannot ignore the slightly larger, northern half of the Korean Peninsula and its impact on the Asia-Pacific Region and the U.S.-Chinese relationship.

We will celebrate the visual and music culture of South Korea, its innovative technology, the Korean martial art of taekwondo, Korea’s unique alphabet (Hangul), and certainly the wonderful culture of Korean cuisine. The chef from Jin’s Korean Grill in Springfield, Mo., will provide a cooking demonstration and share samples of his specialties. We’ll also show some of the most popular Korean films throughout the semester.

We’ll tackle some serious issues, too, such as the prospects of reunification with North Korea (One Korea), life near the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), defectors from North Korea and the religions and spirituality of the Korean Peninsula.

The English Department is in the process of selecting a “common reader,” a book that will be read by students enrolled in composition classes. If it can be arranged, the author will be brought to campus in November to give presentations and to sign copies.

The Southern Symphony Orchestra’s contribution to the Korea Semester will be to provide an original arrangement, for string orchestra and piano, of “Arirang” – the Korean folk melody (recognized in both Koreas) as roughly the equivalent of “America, the Beautiful.” Dr. Jeffrey Macomber, orchestra director, is completing the arrangement.

The Southern Jazz Combo, under the direction of Dr. Phillip Wise, will perform an original composition for jazz ensemble based on traditional Korean folk music. The work will be premiered during the fall concert.

Spring 2017 Study Abroad

Students Travel to Ukraine, Germany

Eighteen undergrad and graduate students will travel to Ukraine and Germany in May, getting a firsthand glimpse at aspects of international businesses beyond their classroom textbooks.

“They’ll be able to look at and compare countries within the European Union,” says Dr. Chris Moos, Interim Dean of the School of Business, who will lead the trip. Germany is a member state of the EU, while Ukraine has taken steps toward membership. “Our graduate students – who are working on their master of science in management degree – will be able to view their management styles, techniques and laws.”

Rebecca Ross, a junior international business major, says she’s already brushing up on her language skills in preparation.

“Right now I’m learning German and I’ll be taking Russian before we go on the trip,” she says. “I want to connect with other people and learn more about business there.”

Spring 2017 Study Abroad The Robert W. Plaster School of Business

A Taste of Home Korean Constituents Look Forward to Themed Semester

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.

Spring 2017 Study Abroad

From the Editor

Dear alumni and friends,

Ralph Waldo Emerson referred to enthusiasm as “one of the most powerful engines of success.”

“When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it,” he said. “Stamp it with your own personality … Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

In this Spring 2017 edition of Crossroads, you’ll discover the boundless enthusiasm found all across our great campus and beyond. You’ll meet Dr. David Penning, a biology professor whose passion for reptiles has been showcased by PBS and the Discovery Channel. You’ll catch up with Dr. Conrad Gubera, whose enthusiasm for teaching is unwavering after 50 years at Missouri Southern. You’ll also read about students who have dedicated themselves to music and community service, as well as alumni whose passions range from the stage to national and international competitions.

As always, we want to hear from you. If you’d like to share a story idea, photo, favorite memory or simply comment on something from this magazine, email us at crossroads@mssu.edu.

Have a great summer, Lions! We’ll see you again this fall!


Crossroads Magazine
Missouri Southern State University

Spring 2017 Study Abroad